As the saying goes, “everything that glitters is not gold.” Such can be the financial situation of many–what appears to be gold is nothing more than iron pyrite. Iron pyrite, commonly called fool’s gold, is a mineral that has a metallic luster and brass hue that gives it a superficial resemblance to gold. The key word here is resemblance.
Do you have a real financial plan have or just the resemblance of one? What really goes on behind closed doors when it comes to your money issues?
Recently, I met with a new client who needed help in getting her money issues under control. The funny thing about money is that many of its issues have nothing to do with money. Let me explain. It is not uncommon for money to be used as a means of control, to boost appearance or self-esteem, compensate for something missing, or to feed a ‘stuff’ addiction. Often, my financial advising doesn’t begin with money per se. It begins with an overview of how one feels about money–spending, saving, investing and giving. A lot can be ascertained by asking a few questions.
As you begin a new adventure with your life partner, it is important to look outside the beautiful ceremony and fantastic honeymoon. Life together requires so much more–and money is at the top of the list. As Zig Ziglar said “money is not everything but it ranks right up there with oxygen.”
So, how can your money life be the best?
- Have a clear understanding of its meaning. Money is a medium of exchange; or means of payment. It should not be used as a bargaining chip, means of intimidation or a way to keep up with the Joneses. Keep its value where it belongs. Money is necessary to fund a current lifestyle and plan for the future; use it as a tool to accomplish goals–nothing else.
- Work together to design a formable plan consisting of spending, saving, investing and giving. Discuss the issues that influence your thoughts about money. Perhaps your childhood was plagued by money restrictions that have caused you to be overly concerned about controlling every penny. On the other hand, maybe you are accustomed to luxurious living. Pairing these two backgrounds can lead to conflict unless both parties feel free to express their concerns and hang ups without fear of condemnation.
- Write it all down. Knowing how much money comes into the household and how much is needed for fixed expenses makes navigating the other categories easy. Approach budget decisions like a business. Check out several options before making a decision on items, such as insurance, cell and cable service, etc. If you need to make an expensive purchase, shop around for sales and the best deal.
- Develop a plan for investing and giving. Compromise on the fundamentals, such as the amount of risk associated with investment vehicles. Decide on charitable organizations that mean something to you both.
- Celebrate your accomplishments. Find joy in paying off a credit card or reaching a savings goal. The continuum for financial success is gradual. Revisit your plan often and mark your progress. Adjust the details as needed.
Success with financial matters begins behind closed doors–with you and your partner. Remember, when two become one the game changes. Use the wisdom from both to make the best decisions. If one has the organization gene, use it to benefit the good of the union. If one is more interested in researching investment opportunities, leverage that interest and knowledge. Work together. You are a partnership. Years from now when you reach (and exceed) your goals, you’ll be glad you did.
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