I could hear the excitement in her voice, even though I was just reading the words of her email. “This ‘relationship with money’ stuff has been a total game-changer. It’s changed my life. It’s the first time I’ve felt like a full partner when it comes to our money!”
You see, I’m presenting my “three aspects of money” philosophy in a group setting for the first time. It’s a virtual workshop, accessed by computer and by phone. And, because I’m not working one-on-one, I wasn’t sure how effective it would be.
What has surprised me the most? The number of couples who are listening, together or separately, and having it affect their money dialog so radically. Their stories are like surprise “gifts” to me.
That first “e-mailer” called herself a stay-at-home-mom as they raised their kids. But things started changing once the kids were grown and her husband left Corporate America to open his own manufacturing business. She had always paid the monthly household bills, and was privy to the general lines of their investments.
But the weakened economy turned the business upside down. Soon she had to go into the company to replace the receptionist/secretary/administrative assistant (and general get-it-done person) so they could eliminate one more salary...and keep the doors open.
Suddenly she realized how little she knew about how her husband’s business operated. What did the critical numbers look like? Yet he wasn’t in any hurry to share what he strangely considered “his turf.”
She convinced him to listen to the Money Mastery Makeover workshop calls. By the end of the third one, she says it was like a switch was flipped. Her husband just wrote me to tell me they had spent Saturday going over company figures so she could understand what was going on. “My wife’s now a true partner in our efforts not just to keep the business afloat, but to turn it around together. She’s really perceptive, and came up with some great ideas on how we can use our money better!”
The second “gift” came from two people in their forties who are trying to blend their families together, as they get closer to marrying after their respective divorces. But the greatest stumbling block has been the drastic difference in their spending patterns and their relationship with money.
Those differences have been the fodder for fight after fight, almost putting the marriage at risk. Imagine how excited I felt when I read their note. “We finally have a way to channel our feelings as we discuss money, because you’ve shown us how emotional money can be if not dealt with the right way. We have a whole new language.”
My third “gift” came from a widower who has been following my writings for quite awhile. He has remarried and has written me notes every so often about how baffled he is. His new wife seems so like his first wife in values and everything. In fact, the two women grew up together and had been childhood friends.
Yet he can’t believe how differently his new wife deals with money. It’s already wreaking havoc with what should be a rosy, romantic time in their lives. (And he couldn’t get her to read my articles.)
He made her sit beside him as he listened to the calls on the computer last week, and coaxed her to do the exercises. The call on the third night showed him how different she was from his first wife...because of childhood events that had formed her relationship with money. The calls opened up a powerful dialog between them, and they both feel they have some work to do.
So, not only do they now understand where surprising behaviors and reactions come from, but the widower says, “It’s helped me understand her frustration at being unfairly considered my first wife’s clone. You’re right: our relationship with money does touch every part of our lives. Thanks, Sharon.”
What a week! Three gifts! I had no idea that what I had designed “to help entrepreneurial women in their 50s get control over their money” would be such an effective tool for couples. I hadn’t thought about how “relationship with money” could be just as critical to couples as it is to individuals. But then, everyone’s just trying to be financially free.