Wednesday, February 24, 2010

February 24, 2010

Day 24 of Romance, dating and relationships.

Money Matters

Financial stress is one of the major reasons for breakups right after lack of communication which also relates to financial stress. Finance problems are often contributed to when couples refuse to be open, honest and willing to negotiate with one another. Dysfunctional boundaries with money or money addiciton is as stressful and dibilitating in relationshps as substance abuse.

Families that don't communicate openly about money cause unwarranted stress on the children who often know more than the adults think they do. In addition they learn how to handle or as in most cased not handle their money.

Often times one partner in the relationship is the spender and one the saver. Meaning that one values either spending or saving as a higher priority than the other person. Many a family has been split up due to the lack of trust that comes from being less than honest about spending habits.

There is a 12 step group both for those suffering from compulsive spending, debting and underearning. Here you will find a check list of problem behaviors contributing to the money problems.

The average American is $35,000 in unsecured debt. That is to say they owe $35,000 on revolving or credit cards (excludes car payment and house payments). Many families can barely make the minimum payments on their credit cards and struggle to pay for groceries and bare necessisties.

The reality is you are not alone in your fear, anquish and shame regarding money problems. There are more people in your life than you realize with the same struggles.

While having money problems in and of itself is not shameful it is the lying that often accompanies any addiction that erodes a relationship. Regardless of whether it is a spouse or partner, a parent, a child or a significant other, money problems are challenging and difficult.

For couples who are dating or married and are experiencing powerlessness and helpless over their partner's spending, I strongly encourage separating the finances. This guidance often reveals hidden problems.

I suggest the following. Add up your combined incomes. Divide your individual incomes by the total of the incomes to come up with a ratio. Then figure out shared expenses such as house payments, utilities, etc....split these according to the ratio of the incomes to find an individual monthly expenses. Each person is then responsible for providing their portion of the shared expenses each month. The non-shared or individual expenses ar 100% the responsibility of the invidividual person. These include magazine subscriptions, clothing credit cards etc....of course the expenses of underage children are not invididual expenses. However if parents cannot agree to expenses for luxury items for children then it is appropriate for one parent to decline payment and allow the other parent to choose to bear these expenses. Reference: Teens wanting a brand new car. This is not a necessary expense.

Feel free to post questions below if this is not clear and I will respond as quickly as possible.

On a last note. For people who realize that someone they love who maybe addicted to money or have a dysfunctional relationship with money I strongly enocourage you to seek out reading on co-dependency. You see it takes two. An addict is only happy when they have found someone who can tolerate their dysfunction. Getting yourself healthy is the first and foremost primary concern. Co-dependency no more while written for people who love someone who is an alcoholic is all about the same behaviors in ANY addiction relationship. In addition there is alanon a 12 step group for people who have had someone in their life who was an addict. Remember it is not the substance, it is the behavior and the thinking and the overly responsible caretaking that are the problem behaviors. In addition no one likes to admit how powerless they are over other people, places and things. It is a great discovery to learn that although we are powerless, we are not helpless. Steps taken to take care of oneself are always empowering without being disrespectful to others. Remind yourself there is a reason the stewards tell people to put their facemask on themself before helping someone else!

For those who need to learn how to set boundaries and learn self respect so they can have respect....

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