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Excerpt from "The Heart of Money"

Common Money Traps

by Deborah L. Price


Our relationships are where we are forced, sometimes kicking and screaming, to surrender our mask and be willing to be totally vulnerable and seen, possibly for the first time. As we shed our projections of what we had hoped for and begin to accept each other and our circumstances as they truly are, we can experience authentic love, rather than romantic love, and greater acceptance of ourselves and our partners. This does not mean we need to resign ourselves to our circumstances. We can and should continue to hope and strive for better, but do so with an attitude of acceptance and gratitude for what we already have that is good and right — that makes the journey more beautiful and, yes, even more tolerable.

When we are in harmony with money, we tend to feel safe and secure in the moment and hopeful for the future. The same is true when we feel in harmony with our spouse or partner: all is safe and secure in the world, and we feel connected to our hopes and dreams for the future. Unfortunately, the minute we become emotionally triggered around money, our internal dynamics can quickly shift from safe and secure to fearful and anxious. This can cause us to project our fears and anxieties onto our mate. With little or no warning, all those wonderful feelings of harmony and connectedness disappear. What’s more, our feelings and contentment can easily flip like a switch. So what happens? What causes these sudden shifts and triggers in our feelings and emotions? Money traps, that’s what!

Identifying Common Money Traps

We often mistakenly believe that more money is the cure to fixing or changing whatever isn’t working in our life. And our tendency to focus on money as the problem and/or solution is only a clever distraction from looking at the real problem. It is naive to believe that money can somehow magically solve our life’s problems. In fact, acquiring more money without also learning to understand and resolve our inner money dynamics frequently leads to even greater problems, as too few of us are prepared for the emotional, social, and practical consequences of wealth. With this in mind, we can address the issues most effectively by first exploring our internal landscape rather than diving head first into the pursuit of money, which is filled with booby traps.

When we feel financially safe and secure with our mate, we can easily relax and allow ourselves to be truly open and vulnerable. Unfortunately, many couples do not have this kind of intimacy and often fall into what I call money traps. The following are some of the most common money traps that I have seen:

• Using money as a form of control or manipulation

• Failure to understand each other’s money fears and triggers

• Misunderstanding each other’s financial wants and needs

• A clash in core values over what is important

• Unclear financial agreements and priorities

• Assuming unconscious roles (such as Dependent and Care-

taker)

• Procrastinating or withholding pertinent financial information

Here are some ways to avoid these issues:

• Get to know each other’s money types early in your relationship.

• Talk openly about your issues, fears, and concerns about money.

• Make clear agreements about how to handle money to-gether as a couple.

• Never use money as a means of buying or withholding love.

• Take responsibility for your own financial well-being.

• Deal with money issues as they arise so that they don’t become a source of resentment.

I also recommend these simple practical tips for dealing with money that will allow you to work together as a team to co-create the financial life you desire:

• Create a monthly household budget.

• Make joint decisions about what to do with the leftovers (spend it, save it, invest it).

• Establish a monthly allowance for each of you to spend or save, as you individually desire.

• Share the financial responsibilities, and divide up the tasks or take turns.

• Have a monthly money meeting to discuss and clear up any unfinished or new money business.

• Create a list of goals and dreams to work on together, and have fun with it.

• Acknowledge each other in positive ways for keeping agreements.

You can create the financial life you both want and deserve by understanding and supporting each other to be financially aware and empowered.

Moving from Blame to Forgiveness

Financial mistakes and setbacks happen. They’re a part of life and a part of our growth and learning. When a financial loss or hardship occurs, it’s not unusual to want to blame something or someone in order to cope with our feelings. Anger and blame can be a way of feeling in control, but they really only leave us feeling victimized and powerless.

Today, many couples are also blaming themselves or each other for their financial challenges, thinking, “If only I had done this” or “I can’t believe I did that” or “What was I thinking?!” This kind of blame only fuels our fear, anger, and resentment and deepens the negative charge we have around the problem.

Let’s face it, not all our money problems can be blamed on our financial circumstances alone. Some of us are grappling with old habits and patterns that existed long before the global financial crisis. True, financial crisis can make our circumstances considerably worse, but I would argue that the conditions for any financial crisis are often present long before the crisis occurs. Along with their financial challenges, couples are being given a new opportunity to rethink and revise their way of being in relationship with money.

Part of our work as adults is to realize that the subject of money is the last taboo and greatly needs to be explored and healed. In doing so, we can make clearer and more informed choices that better serve us and will help us to create a better future for ourselves and our children. We can no longer afford to take the ostrich approach to money or to be financially impulsive or avoidant.

Deborah L. Price is the author of The Heart of Money and Money Magic. She is the founder and CEO of the Money Coaching Institute, providing coaching to individuals, couples, and corporations. Visit her online at http://www.moneycoachinginstitute.com.

Excerpted from the new book The Heart of Money ©2012 by Deborah L. Price. Published with permission of New World Library http://www.newworldlibrary.com


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