Financial Coaching for Couples

November 2, 2011

Marin Mommies presents another great guest article by Marin mom and financial planner Katy Song, CFP®.

Money touches almost every decision a couple makes. Whether you ask “What’s for dinner?”, or “Which movie do you want to rent?” money is involved. And within every couple’s relationship, there is a relationship with money. Since people see money through different lenses there can be conflict in this money relationship.

Opposite money types tend to attract each other, but after a few years and adding children to the equation, those endearing differences tend to wear thin. It is ironic that the differences that drew couples together are now the reason for tension and disagreement. The reality is that 70% of all divorces are due to some sort of money conflict. So, how does a couple get on the same page and create a strong money relationship together?

The answer: It takes hard work! But the hard work pays off with a lifetime of commitment and partnership, along with greater intimacy and trust. If you have a strong money relationship, you have a strong relationship.

Step 1: Understand yourself and your relationship with money. Instead of pointing fingers and blaming your partner, take the time to look at yourself. How do you look at money? Is it a resource or necessary evil? Do you like to spend or save? Do you like to take risks or want security? Or, do you just not want to think about it?

Step 2: Understand your partner’s relationship with money. How do they see money? What makes them sleep well at night?

Now that you understand each other, you need to make the money relationship work.

Step 3: Create transparency. According to “First Comes Love, Then Comes Money” by Bethany and Scott Palmer, 65% of women have a secret credit card or bank account. This indicates a need for control and represents what they call “financial infidelity.” Financial infidelity inevitably spills over into other parts of the relationship and overpowers it. If you want to create a strong money relationship, you need to come clean and move forward! Remember, you are on the same team.

Part of this transparency is also agreeing on your family values and setting your priorities and committing to spend 60 minutes every month (I recommend two 30-minute meetings every two weeks) together to talk about your progress against your plan.

Like I said, it takes hard work but there is help to make it easier. Life coach Laura Riordan, Ph.D., and I are running a Financial Coaching for Couples workshop on Saturday, November 5 from 3–5 pm at the Town Center Community Room. During this action-oriented workshop, you will discover your passions and those of your partner, learn how to create your shared vision for the life you want and put in place a road map to get you there and stay on track. Space is limited. Register here.

Katy Song, CFP®,is a fee-only Marin financial planner and owner of Katy Song Financial Planning in Mill Valley. She specializes in objective and customized financial plans for families with young children and couples starting their lives together. Katy lives with her husband and two children in Mill Valley. You can reach Katy at katy@katysong.com or www.katysong.com.