Relationship Status with Money; Complicated?

Remember those days when updating your social media relationship status was an ‘event’ in itself?  I sure do.  See, I met my husband on MySpace.  Well, kind of.  We knew each other a bit from high school.  I had moved to the Portland Metro, found myself single and not necessarily wanting to mingle…when my long time friend told me that I NEEDED to join MySpace, after all Jimmy VanHoose was on there – and he lived in the area.

Well, I did sign up for a MySpace account.  I put my sisters and a few friends in my top 8, some hip hop song that had a great beat as my song selection and uploaded a picture of a photo from my the prior Christmas as my profile pic.

Skip ahead a few weeks and I send a message to James VanHoose to say “Hey, how have you been?”  The rest is history my friends.  My relationship status went from Single to In a Relationship quickly; we got together for a lunch date that weekend and…were engaged a short 6 months later.  For a minute there we were going to invite Tom to the wedding.

Let’s continue this chat about relationships, but turn the corner and discuss one that we all have – a relationship with money.

First we will talk about your relationship with money in general and your history.  Then, I want to dive into your personal relationship with your money currently.  It’s about to get intimate up in here.

Looking back at your childhood, what did you learn or know about money?

Was it something that your family discussed openly?  For most of us, this wasn’t true.  No open relationship with money in our youth.

Did you ever feel stress or anxiety from the adult(s) in your home that was caused by money – whether they shared it or not?  Parents often attempt to do a bang up job of keeping this stuff from their kids, but I don’t know that it ever really works. Kids are intuitive.  They know what it looks like to see stress within a family member, they can put two and two together when a parent is working an extra job or long hours.

How did you learn about proper credit card use or debt?  Did a new car just mean exciting new ride, or did you understand the dollar amount that would still have to be paid?

Did you grow up wanting for nothing?  Perhaps you had everything you needed – a Sugar Daddy sort of relationship with money growing up, not necessarily putting two and two together that you’d have to be your own sugar substitute in the future.

As teens our relationships naturally get more complicated, but this is typically when our own money relationship begins to bud.  We get our first jobs. We pay for some things.  Gas.  Going out with friends.  Clothes.  

Very quickly our relationship goes from fun and flirty as teens with very part time after school jobs, to serious as we enter college.  We went from covering a tank of gas and a new purse to the commitment of student loans, and soon after overall housing expenses – even if shared.

Were you ready to go from flirty to serious at 19 or 20?  Me neither. It often gets more complicated at this point too.  We’re accumulating debt…and a commitment to stick with this relationship that we don’t necessarily like anymore.  Let’s call that an unhealthy relationship.

These examples may not describe your relationship feelings about money, but I’ve had a lot of money relationship conversations and it does describe elements of it for many.

So, what do you do with a complicated love/hate relationship status with money?

If your goal is to get to a healthy and committed relationship with your money – here are some next steps.

Make peace with your past.

Yeah, you kissed some frogs. You made some mistakes, but you’re moving on.  Let go of any blame, shame, or regret.  Those choices made you who you are today – some more painful and scarring than others, but nonetheless – it’s time to move forward.

Decide what you want.

What do YOU want to do with your money? Both now and in the future.  Do you want to travel?  Are you content with staycations?  Do you want to work traditionally?  Differently?

Learn about each other.

Just like you were curious to learn everything about your other half, get curious about money!  What don’t you know?  What do you want to know?  Don’t be shy. You’re working on getting into a committed partnership – ask the questions.

It’s not all about you.

Shocker, right?!  Your money is needed for now, and later.  Telling yourself no is healthy – so that you can tell your future self yes later.  Compromise is key, and balance is important.

Pick a driver.

If it’s just you and your money, your money will attempt to drive you around if you let it.  Take the wheel friend.  This is a relationship where being controlling is a positive trait. Find a great example of how one client put herself back in the driver’s seat with her credit cards.

Make it monogamous.

Decide that you’re in it for the long haul.  No cheating on your plan – fun for the moment perhaps, but it only ends in regret in your relationship with money.

Balance fun and flirty with steady and stable.

Just because it’s monogamous doesn’t mean it needs to be boring. Your plan with your money should absolutely have fun built into it. There should be flexibility with your money right along solid financial choices like retirement contributions and emergency savings funds.

Open up to a professional.

All relationships need some outside advice at times.  It’s okay!  There is nothing wrong with seeking outside counsel from time to time – or working side by side with a coach.  You all know that’s what I do for a living, right? If your’e interested in taking your relationship with money to the next level and need someone to chat with click here.

Talk with your kids.

I don’t know how to spice this up any differently.  Talk to those around you about money.  Let’s normalize it.  What are you goals right now?  Discuss.  How can they start learning more? Demonstrate.  This goes for everyone in your family – maybe your parents need more money awareness, or your friends…make money a conversation that you have just like careers, sports, and love.

Keep it real.

Check in with yourself and your money relationship often.  Be authentic. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you have something you don’t.  Be genuine, live within your means.  Don’t attempt to keep up with your neighbors or friends on social media.  This is your relationship, not theirs.

As a finance coach, your relationship with money is very much a discussion point – it’s not all about the budget, debt payoff, or retirement planning.  In fact, if we miss the opportunity to dive into the behavior side of money you could miss the ability to change your relationship forever. Long lasting habits is where it’s at with the goal of a healthy and committed relationship.

It’s not complicated at all.

Are you due for a financial health check up?  I recommend them at least annually, just like your doc wants to give you an overall annual exam.  Let me extend an invitation for you to to join me for a free Financial Wellness Workshop later this month.  Get the details below.

Thank you for joining me on my my journey to influence.

Sarah is a Ramsey Preferred Coach
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