My Lightbulb Moment
I had a lightbulb moment recently, when I was at Primal Fit gym working out in a small group strength training class. As much as I like running and working out by myself, these small group classes, led by Coach Billy Casimir, have enhanced my relationship with physical fitness. Billy, the women in the photo above, and the men who take the classes, are my physical fitness accountability partners.
They help motivate me and keep me on course. I enjoy working out. Yet sometimes, when the alarm goes off and I could choose my bed over working out, my bed might win. The Primal Fit classes inspire me to choose to get up, have my cup of coffee, put on my workout clothes, and go to the gym.
When I get there, a hello from Billy, the beat of the music, and my classmates energize me to make the most of the next hour. I never leave Primal Fit saying, “Oh, I wish I stayed in bed and did not work out.” I leave Primal Fit in a great mood and ready to start the rest of my day in a state of mind that serves me.
Do You Have A Financial Accountability Partner?
So, I ask you, do you have a Financial Accountability Partner? Much in the same way it works at the gym, it can work with money. Money and fitness can be handled solo but does that serve you?
Why do we often keep money in the dark? It could be you do not really understand how to make money work in your life. You may have shame feelings around money.
Are you in debt and do not want anyone to know? Do you have a fear of being judged regarding your money situation? Did someone teach you it is rude to talk about money? The reasons may differ but the result is the same. You are not utilizing money as a tool to help you live the life you choose.
Feeling Safe and Heard
So, this is where a Financial Accountability Partner or, as one of my clients calls me, “Financial Thought Partner” comes into play. Do you have someone in your life where you can talk about money and feel safe and heard? Even in marriages, it is not always the case that spouses are Financial Accountability Partners or Thought Partners to one another. Sometimes, maybe unwittingly, spouses actually use money as a means of division in their relationship.
In marriages, there could be one spouse who spends impulsively and the other spouse who is a saver/investor. The spouses do not talk about the money issue at hand but instead build resentment towards each other until there is an argument. Then the anger, instead of addressing the issue at hand- money, further erodes the marriage. Money, the underlying issue, is left unspoken or brought up in an accusatory way. Then neither partner wants to talk about money. And the cycle continues.
Financial disagreements are one of the top reasons of divorce https://www.marriage.com/advice/divorce/10-most-common-reasons-for-divorce/. This is serious business. When we allow money issues to fester, it can erode marriages and other relationships. We can resolve financial issues but first we must be able to communicate effectively about money.
Communicate Effectively About Money
Four of my tips to communicate effectively about money are:
- 💵 Be wholehearted with one another.
- 💵 Do not have an ulterior motive.
- 💵 Actively listen to one another.
- 💵 Do not try to be right.
Putting These Tips Into Use
Often, we want to convert a person to our point of view. For example, you may not think you spend too much but your spouse does think you are overspending.
- 💵 Come to the table wholeheartedly. Be sincere and committed to each other and the process.
- 💵 Have no other reason for being in the conversation than to resolve the issue and better your relationship. Be transparent with one another.
- 💵 Listen fully. Do no interrupt or dismiss each other. Give each person time to speak and listen while the other speaks. Do not formulate your response before you fully listen to what the other person is saying.
- 💵 Choose to value your relationship over the need to be “right.” When has being “right” ever really furthered a relationship for the better?
Money affects all the relationships in our lives, not just spouse and partner relationships. So, talk about money, do not make it a taboo subject. When we treat money as taboo, we give money a power over us that it should not have. Take the power back. Bring money into the light.
So, back to the gym, Billy said something the other day that made me smile. Billy said I had put in the “sweat equity” and it was showing- as I am gaining muscle and definition. When you put in the sweat equity, whether in the gym or in your relationship with money, it pays off.
Susan Howell, The MoneyMaestra