My husband is my personal superhero. He is a great match for me in every way and has one of the kindest hearts of any man I know.
Coming into our marriage I knew that finances were the leading cause of divorce. I did not tread lightly or believe that love would conquer all. I had the financial education to know how to set things up so that money was never something that came between us.
My father always made it his top priority to educate my sister and I on finances. When my sister was twelve and wanted to buy her own computer my dad asked her, "Is that an appreciating asset or a depreciating asset?" This was designed to instill in us early on that your money should always be used to make you more money, and that my sister and I had the power to do so.
I have continued this approach into my financial education as an adult, taking business courses, reading books on how to invest and build your wealth and speaking to everyone I could who was more educated than I was in the area.
I have developed a clear view of the financial world because of this education and how this macrocosm manifests itself in our personal lives-- namely in relationships. It has always been important to me to keep my marriage clear and healthy in all areas; and keeping our money clear is an extension of how committed I am to my husband.
You have to look at the future of your relationship with a sober perspective, rather than a romantic lens. Viewing finances pragmatically is what will allow the romance of your relationship to thrive and grow over time. Hoping that things will change or get better with time is succumbing to your romantic lens, and it leaches the relationship of its peace over time.
Here are three steps to keep your relationship financially healthy.
Be Clear on What your Contribution is:
One of the things that creates resentment in relationships is when one partner works and brings in the money, and the other stays at home. In many relationships, the partner who stays home doesn't feel like they have a right to the money and will not ask for what they really want, because they weren't the ones who went out and earned it.
If you are in a relationship, you are being a contribution in some way, whether it is raising children or caring for your home. If you agree to both live off one partner's income, this doesn't mean the partner who didn't directly earn it wasn't a major support in their spouse's life.
This comes down to self-worth. We often assume that the role of our partner is to remind us of our self-worth, but that is not a reasonable expectation of them. If you don't value what you have to contribute, you cannot expect your partner to. You really have to look at how you value your contribution to the relationship and what you would like to have in your life- whether or not you're the main source of income.
Consider How You Tend to Spend Your Money:
You need to be clear on how you and your partner tend to function with regard to money. What are your saving and spending habits and what are your partner's? If you are someone who likes to spend $600 on a pair of shoes now and then, how does that make your partner feel? If you have always wanted a boat but your partner doesn't share the same nautical dreams, you need discuss this before you enter into the next phase of your relationship. Most people are not willing to be honest about their financial aspirations because they believe that if an agreement is not reached, it will threaten the relationship. This is rarely the case. The real threat is having the difference in opinion erode the relationship over time as it becomes apparent in different situations.
Make a Deal and Deliver:
This is a conversation where you sit down with your spouse and write down everything that is required in the relationship. Who takes out the trash, who brings in the money, who makes sure the kids have brushed their teeth and how many nights a week does each person make dinner?
In my house, my husband and I both bring in the money, we split the bills, I make dinner every night and he minds the bills and takes care of his beautiful gardens. The greater the detail, the greater the ease. People avoid putting this into practice because it takes away the romantic notion. The opposite is true, when you have this clarity, it leaves more space for romance.
The Secret to Having Money Is Making More than you Spend:
Now this is quite an obvious sentiment and I am being a bit facetious here. I wish this point was as obvious in practice as it is on paper.
This is a total myth. This mindset is designed to control us into being average earners and big consumers. If you open up any good financial book, you will realize that setting yourself up to have money is as easy as learning to cook or do basic math. I am at an advantage because I was raised in a household where this type of attitude was valued, but I have seen people learn this in adulthood successfully time and time again.
Being in a relationship is about finding someone who makes your life happier, lighter and greater. The romantic partner you choose becomes the most important business relationship in your life. What if it was easier than it seemed to have a healthy relationship with your partner and your money?
Personally, I am over the top excited that we are on the cusp of turning the page on not only a new year but also on a new 10-year window of opportunities and possibilities!
You may be thinking, whoa…I am just embracing the fall season…yikes… it is tough to think about a new decade!
Yet it is this groundwork, this forward thought that you put in place TODAY that will propel you and lead you into greatness in 2020 and beyond. Designing a new decade rests in your ability to vision, in your willingness to be curious, in your awareness of where you are now and what you most want to curate. Essentially, curating what's next is about tapping into today with confidence, conviction, and decision. Leading YOU starts now. This is your new next. It is your choice.
Sometimes to get to that 'next', you need to take a step back to reflect. Please pardon my asking you to spend time in yesterday. Those who know me personally, know that I created and continue to grow my business based on enabling the present moment as a springboard for living your legacy. So, indulge me here! True, I am asking you to peek into the past, yet it is only in order for you to bring the essence of that past forward into this moment called NOW.
One of the best ways to tap into what's next is to clarify what drives you. To design a new decade, ask yourself this question about the past ten years:
What worked? What were my successes?
Make a list of your achievements big and small. Don't type them, but rather use ink and paper and sit with and savor them. Move your thoughts and your successes from your head, to your heart, to your pen, to the paper. Remember that on the flip side of goals not attained and New Year's resolutions abandoned, there was more than likely some traction and action that moved you forward, even if the end result was not what you expected. Once you have a full list of a decade's worth of personal and professional accomplishments, think about how this makes you feel. Do you remember celebrating all of them? My guess is no. So, celebrate them now. Give them new life by validating them. Circle the successes that resonate with you most right now. Where can you lean into those accomplishments as you power into the decade ahead?
Now comes a tougher question, one that I used myself in my own mid-life reinvention and a question I adore because in a moment's time it provides you with a quick reconnect to your unique inner voice.
If it were 10 years ago and nothing were standing in your way, no fear or excuses to contend with…what would you do?
Don't overthink it. The brilliance of this question is that it refocuses purpose. Whatever first came to mind when you answered this for yourself is at its core a powerful insight into defining and redefining the FUTURE decade. Bring your answer into the light of today and what small piece of it is actionable NOW? Where is this resonating and aligning with a 2019 version of yourself?
Then, based on your success list and your answer to the above question, what is your 2020 vision for your business and for the business of YOU?
Designing a new decade begins as a collection of 3,650 opportunities. 3,650 blank slates of new days ahead in which to pivot and propel yourself forward. Every single one of those days is a window into your legacy. An invitation to be, create, explore, and chip away at this thing we call life. One 24-hour segment at a time.
While you have a decade ahead to work on design improvements, you have the ability to begin manifesting this project of YOU Version 2020 right NOW. Based on exploring the exercises in this post, begin executing your vision. Ask questions. Be present. Let go of 2019 and the past 10 years so that you can embrace the next 10. Position acceptance and self-trust at the forefront of how you lead you. One choice at a time.
Don't get bogged down in the concept of the next 10 years. Instead position clarity and intention into each new day, starting today. Then chase every one of those intentions with an in-the-moment commitment and solution toward living a legendary life!