Sunday, March 8, 2009

Life Skill No. 2, Managing Money

We're continuing a discussion of life skills that you should be looking for in a potential partner...There's a lot to be said about the influence of money--or the lack of it--on a relationship. The simple truth is this: Money, how it's made or not, how it's spent, when, how often, by whom, and for what, is a source of the majority of quarrels in marriage. If partners work as a team, collaboratively, and with good ongoing communication around money issues, they can dodge these potentially fatal marriage-ending bullets.

What does it mean to be a good money manager?
I know people on both ends of the "anal or not so anal" scale when it comes to keeping track of their finances. Some people obviously have a monthly plan and a budget. They are consistently balancing their check book, monitoring their account daily, keeping and categorizing absolutely every receipt, and balancing their account multiple times weekly. I also know people on the other end of that scale who think plans and budgets are a huge bother, rarely check their balances, could care less about categorizing receipts, and only infrequently care to know the current balance in their checking, credit card, or ATM account.

When it comes to money management the really telling issue is about how much financial trouble a person has been in, or is in now, and what's their attitude and motivation for getting out and moving forward? It's true of money management, as it is with many life skills dynamics, that a person's history around the skill is often the best predictor of future effectiveness. But don't let past difficulties prevent your forward movement. If you haven't got the skills you want, it's encouraging and helpful to remember they can be acquired. They require a little coaching, some practice with patience, and some discipline. One helpful tip: If you've had problems managing money, fix them before you get married! Develop this hew skill first, tailor your financial disciplines, and experience some modest success. You'll bring an attractive confidence to a new relationship.

So, here's another one of those questions I promised in a previous blog. Consider it and, for example, think about the above discussion:

What do you hope or expect your (future) partner will have done to help assure a durable and satisfying marital relationship with you?

More next time.

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