Chapter 7. Life Planning for Two

If you share your financial life with a spouse or partner and you haven't split up, run away, or locked them up and thrown away the key, congratulations! Think about the things we've discussed over the last few chapters, and just imagine all of the baggage we bring to the financial aspects of our relationships.

Couples of the opposite sex also have that whole Mars/Venus thing to contend with. Familial and social scripts may tell women to "clam up" when it comes to financial issues, going against a natural inclination to open up.

Men, on the other hand, are not only schooled to take the lead in financial issues, but they are also scripted to keep their emotions in check. There are tremendous emotions at play in our decisions about making and spending money. Life Planners say failing to address those emotional components leaves little chance of identifying the root cause of problem behavior, making it almost impossible for even the most fearless of leaders to change destructive patterns.

Communication—Fact or Myth?

All of the planners, therapists, and psychologists I've ever interviewed say that a lack of communication is at the heart of most conflicts about couples and money. That's perfectly reasonable because a lack of communication, which inevitably leads to a lack of understanding, is at the heart of almost every conflict between two people.

Still, it seemed to me that there was more to the story. I can think of many experiences in my own life when ...

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