Bankrate.com just published 6 financial experts’ confessions of their worst financial mistakes. Dave Ramsey, Jean Chatsky, Ramit Sethi, Brian Preston, Jonathan Clements… and me. The difference is that they all talked about money and Italked about relationship. They were careless or brazen with money and each one swore off their excess sometime in the past, mended their ways and now teach others (is there a correlation?). My error wasn’t financial wantonness – it was entering into a financial partnership without clarifying expectations.
So many money problems are really communication problems. We hear our lovers through satin covered earmuffs (not rose colored glasses), believing we are on the same page. But when the romance has turned into a relationship, when we are no longer tipsy on love but sobered by the reality of daily life, we have to renegotiate our supposed agreements in light of our now obvious differences. Maybe this is God’s way to sandpaper off our rough spots and to reveal to us our core values and needs. Some habits are just bad and we need to change. Others reflect what we truly want in our lives. So disagreements about money and stuff are often mirrors for each party about what matters to each.
I noticed that each of the 6 “experts” in the Bankrate.com article had not only dug themselves out of the hole – they had put in processes to keep themselves from repeat idiocy. I think this is true with money/lifestyle issues in relationships. Aligning and communicating isn’t a one shot deal. It’s a constant process of staying current with yourself and your partners, telling the truth, making adjustments, making amends. In future posts I’ll explore more about productive money conversations. For now, do you have stories about good or bad communication about money?