Your Intimate Relationship with Money

Your Intimate Relationship with Money

I could hear the excitement in her voice, even though I was just reading the words of her email.  “This ‘relationship with money’ stuff has been a total game-changer.  It’s changed my life.  It’s the first time I’ve felt like a full partner when it comes to our money!”

You see, I’m presenting my “three aspects of money” philosophy in a group setting for the first time.  It’s a virtual workshop, accessed by computer and by phone.  And, because I’m not working one-on-one, I wasn’t sure how effective it would be.

What has surprised me the most?  The number of couples who are listening, together or separately, and having it affect their money dialog so radically.  Their stories are like surprise “gifts” to me.

That first “emailer” called herself a stay-at-home-mom as they raised their kids.  But things started changing once the kids were grown and her husband left Corporate America to open his own manufacturing business.  She had always paid the monthly household bills, and was privy to the general lines of their investments.

But the weakened economy turned the business upside down.  Soon she had to go into the company to replace the receptionist/secretary/administrative assistant (and general get-it-done person) so they could eliminate one more salary … and keep the doors open.

Suddenly she realized how little she knew about how her husband’s business operated.  What did the critical numbers look like?  Yet he wasn’t in any hurry to share what he strangely considered “his turf.”

She convinced him to listen to the Money Mastery Makeover workshop calls.  By the end of the third one, she says it was like a switch was flipped.  Her husband just wrote me to tell me they had spent Saturday going over company figures so she could understand what was going on.  “My wife’s now a true partner in our efforts not just to keep the business afloat, but to turn it around together.  She’s really perceptive, and came up with some great ideas on how we can use our money better!”

The second “gift” came from two people in their forties who are trying to blend their families together, as they get closer to marrying after their respective divorces.  But the greatest stumbling block has been the drastic difference in their spending patterns and their relationship with money.

Those differences have been the fodder for fight after fight, almost putting the marriage at risk.  Imagine how excited I felt when I read their note.  “We finally have a way to channel our feelings as we discuss money, because you’ve shown us how emotional money can be if not dealt with the right way.  We have a whole new language.”

My third “gift” came from a widower who has been following my writings for quite awhile.  He has remarried and has written me notes every so often about how baffled he is.  His new wife seems so like his first wife in values and everything.  In fact, the two women grew up together and had been childhood friends.

Yet he can’t believe how differently his new wife deals with money.  It’s already wreaking havoc with what should be a rosy, romantic time in their lives.   (And he couldn’t get her to read my articles.)

He made her sit beside him as he listened to the calls on the computer last week, and coaxed her to do the exercises.  The call on the third night showed him how different she was from his first wife … because of childhood events that had formed her relationship with money.  The calls opened up a powerful dialog between them, and they both feel they have some work to do.

So, not only do they now understand where surprising behaviors and reactions come from, but the widower says, “It’s helped me understand her frustration at being unfairly considered my first wife’s clone.  You’re right:  our relationship with money does touch every part of our lives.  Thanks, Sharon.”

What a week!  Three gifts!  I had no idea that what I had designed “to help entrepreneurial women in their 50s get control over their money” would be such an effective tool for couples.  I hadn’t thought about how “relationship with money” could be just as critical to couples as it is to individuals.  But then, everyone’s just trying to be financially free.

Let me know in a comment below what you think the greatest challenge is that couples face with money.

xxxxxxx

Bio:  Sharon O’Day lost everything at age 53: her home, her business, everything. But how could that be? She’s an expert in global finance and marketing with an MBA from the Wharton School. She has worked with governments, corporations, and individuals … yes, she was the secret “weapon,” if you will, behind many individuals in high places. But yet she did! Since then, Sharon has interviewed countless women and done extensive research to understand how that could have happened, especially with her strong knowledge of numbers and finance.

The surprising answers will be shared in her upcoming book “Money After Menopause.” Today her mission is to show as many women as possible how to become financially free for the long term, through her “Over Fifty and Financially Free” coaching programs.  She has developed a step-by-step plan to get past all the obstacles that keep women broke and scared … and from reaching the financial peace of mind they so deserve.

  • Tamarah

    That is so cool.  It really is so helpful to be on the same page with your spouse about money.  I am glad you are able to help these couples!  Keep it up!

    • What was most interesting was that it unearthed such different challenges!  Yet all came down to common language … and eventually common goals.

  • Lizabet Nix

    Our greatest challenge is making the time to sit down and discuss money in depth.  I can give you a million excuses, but that’s just what they are – excuses.  Thanks  for the inspiration to step up and get the job done!

    • It’s about priorities, Lizabet, and it’s so easy for all of us to turn them upside down.   Hope to hear that you’ve “stepped up” soon!

      • Susan Kim

        I found that sitting down with my husband and filling out Mint.com was a good way to get started.  Mint also gives you weekly email reminders which is incredibly helpful.

  • Thanks for sharing this great story of your workshop.  Money can be an interesting issue to discuss with your spouse sometimes for sure!

    • Pat, when it gets “interesting,” if you want to call it that, is when you DON”t discuss it with your spouse.  Apparently more people have that challenge than I realized!

  • The couple stories really resonate with me as my “other” job has been as a bookkeeper for our family business which my husband runs. It is so important for couples to be on the same page otherwise it can be a real disaster. It is no surprise that your expertise and wisdom has reached far beyond your anticipated target audience! What you offer is of such value! Great job Sharon.

    • Denny, this really did surprise me.  But when you think about it, it’s one of those 1+1=3 situations!  

  • The story about the couple is powerful. You are impacting lives with your free gifts and expertise. Many times couples make the excuse of the lack of time to sit together…oh…that could be an article…excuses or lose your life and marriage…easier said than done.

    • Despite all the electronics, it’s become more and more difficult to actually communicate, hasn’t it, Claudia?  At least for the generations that thought it was important to see someone’s eyes when discussing important issues … 😉

  • ENO Nsima-Obot MD

    Funny thing about that ‘money conversation’ and just how it permeates our entire existence… Thinking out aloud here… It’s almost like another ‘secretive conversation’ we have or choose not to have ‘sex’ and yet each one can make or break relationships.. Thanks Sharon. Much Love

    • Eno, the saying is “Money isn’t everything … but it touches everything that is.”  What’s interesting about my process of looking at your emotional relationship with money is that it is INDEED one level deeper.  Your money behaviors are actually symptoms of gremlins that are affecting you in many areas.  Same with sex.  (Love your thinking …)

  • Wil

    Sharon, Your class must be a great source of info. Couples have so many arguments about money! I hope you reach many couples and that it may help them understand each other’s point of view about money.

    • Wil, this was an unexpected (and pleasant) surprise, as couple were not my primary focus.  But, as you know, I’ll help wherever I can!

  • Financial questions can certainly be a source of stress for individuals and couples! Having a way to channel and share financial wants and needs is very important! …Thank you, Hughie