Getting Your Share (November, 2012)
November 1, 2012Money Styles
Money is an emotionally charged topic. That’s why few of us and few couples like to talk about it. When couples come to see me and are considering a divorce, money can actually be, yes, even more than sex, what is driving the couple apart. Money can represent many things. Money is love, happiness, security, control, freedom and lots more.
When couples fight over money usually deeper issues emerge. I find that these hidden issues have long been neglected and money has become the vehicle for battle. Most of us don’t realize when we enter into a romantic relationship, there is often a surprise third party. A silent partner. It’s money!
The psychology of money is about how your beliefs, expectations, and feelings influence how you handle your money. Money is an area in which your early upbringing can create strong emotions and irrational behavior. That's why, despite the size of our portfolio, nest egg, or income, many of us have psychological challenges with money. Some of us handle it better than others.
Before marriage couples discuss where they are going to live, children, careers, and what side of the bed to sleep on, but rarely money. Money is still a taboo topic. Some people have anxiety, guilt and even shame about the way they handle money. Do you really want to tell a potential spouse you’re an over spender? Most people have complex relationships with their money. When couples enter a marriage, and have different money styles, they can actually suffer together for years. As the marriage erodes and things begin to explode, that’s when they come to see me. Usually by that time it is already too late. Divorce is on the horizon.
The United States is a nation of over-spenders. We live in a market economy and we are led to believe that we are good citizens when we agree to go out and spend our money, lots of it. So much so that we as a country and as individuals are in massive debt. Because many of us feel alienated and disconnected in today’s society, even with social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, we tend to overspend to fill an emptiness within ourselves. If we are not overspending, then we are worrying about money or hoarding it. Money is a complex focal point in many of our thoughts.
Men and women also have different money styles. What sets women apart from men is the different situations women will find themselves in during their lifetime. Women live longer than men. They usually have been in and out of the work force. When women marry they often become part of a financial dependency that can work against them if they are not prepared. Women are primarily the ones who raise the children, and often become the single parent raising the children. Women usually care for aging family members. A woman’s healthy relationship with money is vital in handling all the responsibilities and difficulties she may face.
The source of our money issues is what money represents in our minds. We have a strong tendency to behave automatically based upon the early money messages and scripts we were given. The psychology of money helps us to become more aware of our money issues, how we might sabotage ourselves and how we can create more success.
So what’s your money style? If you haven’t thought about it, maybe it’s time! Get in touch with your money style before you make important decisions in your life.
Affectionately referred to as “The DIVORCE Doctor” Lois Brenner is a Divorce Attorney for over 30 years, an accredited Mediator, and a licensed Physician Assistant with training in Psychology. Lois Brenner is the Author of Getting Your Share, a book on divorce published by Crown. She has written for and has been quoted by The New York Times and New York Magazine. Lois Brenner has been interviewed on national television programs such as “Oprah,” “Good Morning America” and CNN as a family law expert. Ms. Brenner is in private practice with offices in New York and Connecticut.
To reach Lois Brenner call 212.734.1551; send her an email at email@example.com or visit her website at www.divorcelawyerny.com.