I started this blog with a clear idea about what I wanted it to look like. In my mind I saw a forum for interesting topics, advice, and my own spin on how to approach daily life. This dream come to fruition has been exciting, but what I did not think about what the spacing of my topics, and how I would generate ideas on a weekly basis. The topic today is one that I wish I wasn’t writing, because talking about money is hard. That is my truth. I don’t like it, and because of that, I make the assumption that others don’t like talking about it either.
The reason I am forcing myself to write about it today is because it is no longer acceptable for me, as I grow a business, to avoid the subject of money. I have to talk about it everyday, and I have to get ok with it. So as I put this out to you, know that I am also challenging myself.
Personal finances are acceptable to talk about at certain times in certain places. In the workplace it is acceptable to discuss when you are being evaluated and asking for a promotion, but not usually appropriate to discuss over the proverbial water cooler. However, we know that this is not always the case, and certain environment facilitate the discussion of pay as a motivational tool (think commission based careers). Being in business for yourself and creating contracts with employees, customers, and individuals, it is crucial to be able to discuss pay and negotiations in a healthy way. I wonder how often personal opinion comes into play when offering discounts or incentives? As a therapist there is an added layer of challenge for most of us. We go into the business because we want to help people, but because of that we don’t always put ourselves first. It has definitely been a lesson for me to consider what my time is worth as I take on new clients.
In the home, money is a different story. I have witnessed several different dynamics when it comes to couples, and handling money in marriage. This is not to leave out those who are not in relationships, but in my experience, the individual finds his or her own path, and does not have to factor in another person’s needs, expenses, incomes, etc. That added layer presents the necessity for discussion. It is impossible to label all of the different dynamics, as each relationship factors in values, observations, and background in order to negotiate an agreed upon system. But in general, what I have viewed to most often be a successful approach is balance. Whether one or both partners work, the balance is struck in the division of labor, how the bills are distributed, and where the allotted savings come from. In these instances, both partners are made aware of where the money comes from and where it is going. There is shared discussion about major expenses, and there is generally a long-term goal as to what the couple would like to save for in the future. It is my belief that a shared goal is crucial in keeping both partners on track. Whether it is a first home, a vacation, a child, or retirement, that goal keeps them accountable to one another, and creates an alliance.
But, balance in personal finance is not always easy, and money is one of the leading factors in divorce. At the risk of talking in circles, I think this comes down to the difficulty in having discussions about finances, and it makes me wonder what feelings come up for others when discussing money. Whether it is guilt about overspending, worry about the future, fear based on childhood experiences with money, we all have emotions that get triggered surrounding this topic. My own goal is to fight through those emotions and to get to a place where in the right setting, money is not a taboo subject. I hope this is a challenge to others who might feel triggered by this subject as well, to look at where that feeling is coming from, and confronting it. Being avoidant about the subject is a disservice to a relationship, and leads to secretive behaviors, which are detrimental to a cohesive unit.
For those of you who do not have any negative feelings when it comes to discussing money, or feel you have found a healthy way of balancing finances in your relationship, leave us a lesson in the comments section.