The picture above is from Carl Richards of “Behavior Gap.” He is an industry guru on emotions, money, and how they intertwine with financial planning. I’m on his weekly email list and when I first received an email from him last week with this picture I had to smile. For myself, and for most of you, I suspect, this couldn’t be truer. At times, the different views of money between couples couldn't be more polar.
We all have a different perspective when it comes to money. This is something I’ve been aware of in my adult life but also never gave much thought to. Knowing that money is one of the top causes for relationship problems, I just figured I would do my thing with mine and my better half could do her thing with hers. In retrospect, this was an obvious narrow view even if it works for some.
Money & Empathy
It can be difficult to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and this is certainly the case when it comes to money. Our job can be quite challenging when you have a couple with very different views on money. However, helping them find an understanding or compromise can be rewarding for everyone. Like with most things, an objective third party can add great value to this type of situation.
The most important thing is realizing that this is not a small issue. I may want to spend money on a new boat while she may want to spend on new clothes. What money means to me is obviously very different than what it means to her. I mean, how many pairs of shoes does she need anyway! (did some of you reading this just say, “no such thing as too many shoes.”) You get my point.
Money is not an easy topic. If you mix in emotions (and multiple people) - you may have a ticking time bomb.
We obviously need money -- we can’t survive without it. Fortunately, we can earn a living today that is far different from our ancestors. They worked (farmed) basically to survive and never really had the option to retire.
The Bottom Line:
If we can show a little empathy, compromise a bit, work together as individuals, couples and advisors, we can create options to live and retire with dignity.