Guess what: we are all emotional about money! It isn’t a man/woman, young/old, rich/poor thing; it is a human nature thing. Pretending like we aren’t emotional–and pretending that those emotions don’t affect our financial behaviors–is a dangerous habit.
It is okay to be emotional about money and wealth. I give you permission to do so. You work for it, save it, grow it, steward it and therefore you will naturally be emotionally affected by it.
Instead of trying to hide those emotions or not deal with them, try talking about it and communicating the underlying “WHY” behind your financial thinking.
Because I am a personal finance professional, I have literally had thousands of these types of conversations. We will discuss a particular financial objective but the behavior does not line up with that objective. At that point, I ask the person to either reset expectations/goals or to modify the behavior that doesn’t line up with the stated objective.
But, what I need to do FIRST is find out the “why” behind the behavior. How do I do that?
“Tell me more about that.”
That sentence, in and of itself, has no magical powers. But the responses it elicits are enlightening.
Mrs. Moneyton: ‘You would rather spend money on the kids now versus later, even though that delays your own retirement planning.’
Mr. Moneyton: “Tell me more about that.”
Mrs. Moneyton: ‘Well, my father worked so hard and my main memories of him are when he walked through the front door right at bedtime, and the family vacations we took once every five years. I don’t want that to be my kids’ memory of me.’
Ah, that makes more sense. We all now understand the WHY. Let’s reset that retirement expectation and plan for quality time today.
This phrase is very powerful in marriages or any relationship. Try it the next time you don’t agree with your spouse on something financial.
Simply say, “tell me more about that”…then hush-up and listen. Be prepared to learn and better understand your own underlying emotions about money and wealth.
Let’s Focus: What is your WHY? Tell me more about that.