Many people have been taught that it's inappropriate to talk about money. This mindset may be something you brush off as insignificant but it can impact many parts of your life. You may find yourself avoiding financial conversations until very last minute or when you're faced with a hardship you ignore all of the warning signs and once you're in the weeds you're too overwhelmed to face your mistakes head-on.
I've been reading Activators: A CEO's Guide to Clearer Thinking and Getting Things Done by business coach Mark Green and an anecdote resonated with me about a CEO who had been conditioned to stay away from discussing money. Mark points out:
If she continues to hold financial matters at arm's length, she will never be able to achieve her long-term financial goals.
To overcome your hardships and reach your goals, you need to be honest with yourself about where you are today so you can make realistic plans for the future.
If you're thinking of moving in with your partner or getting married, this is a good time to bring up expectations. A 2014 APA stress study found that almost 1 in 3 adults report financial stress as a major cause of conflict in their relationships. By discussing your expectations at the beginning of a new chapter, you will be clear on what is expected and finances will be less likely to cause conflict.
If you've never had a conversation about money with your partner, you can start today. May be you've noticed you have different expectations or you're finding that your arguments are often about money. You can sit down to discuss your perspectives on spending, savings, retirement and anything else you think is important for your financial independence.
Even if you find that some of your ideas about money are very different, the important point to focus on is that you now know where you are in relation to each other. This is a big deal! Now you can figure out how to move forward and work towards something that works for everyone.
As you work on plans to find your ideal scenario, remember that where you are today is a culmination of beliefs and habits formed over many years. It will take some time to find your comfort zone and for your new habits to stick. Stick to it and you'll begin to see the results of your efforts pay off!
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