You’ve never felt so exposed in all your life.
Somebody saw one of your paycheck stubs and now everybody thinks they know how much you make. Word raced around the office and everybody was amused except you. You feel totally vulnerable. That was private information, something you hadn’t even shared with your Significant Other.
Not good, say authors Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kedar. In their new book Get Financially Naked, they explain why you should bare your bank account to the one you love most, especially if you’re planning a life together.
As a businessperson, you’re used to protecting corporate information. Social mores have always dictated that we keep our personal financial information to ourselves, too. But if you’re romantically involved with someone, sooner or later, you’ll want to strip off the cloak of secrecy and have That Talk About Money.
Let it begin by understanding where you, yourself, stand on money issues.
What would you do if you were in a position of financial strength? Knowing the answer to that helps you get a clearer vision of where you want to be, financially: you need to know where you’re going in order to get there. Once you have that vision – whether it’s frivolous or serious – write it down and re-visit it on a regular basis, with or without your Significant Other.
Now that you’ve got the vision, you need to understand your deep-seated attitudes toward M-O-N-E-Y. Are you a “live for today” kind of person? Or do you have the first dime you ever made? How did you grow up and what were your parents’ attitudes on money? Knowing your financial history allows you to adjust your attitudes to line up with your goals.
Next – gulp! – ease into this with your SigO. Broach the topic gently. Move slowly. Do the exercises in this book together and don’t point any fingers. Learn what one another owns, owes, earns and what your respective credit scores are. Discuss the Five Power Steps to Financial Success and plan – together – how you’re going to deal with the little things that life will hand you as a couple.
Meant for women but useful for men, Get Financially Naked warns readers that baring one’s (financial) soul is best not done on a first date. Conversely, authors Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kedar also point out that many a wedding has been postponed because one partner is uncomfortable with what is learned about the others’ money attitudes.
And while that should serve as a warning for using this book, it shouldn’t deter readers from utilizing the information here or from having That Talk About Money. To facilitate the discussion, the authors include hints, personal stories, worksheets, quizzes and Web site information.
At a time when seven out of 10 people live paycheck-to-paycheck and the divorce rate hovers around 50 percent, this is the perfect book for new couples or, for that matter, established couples who need a long-overdue sit-down. Get Financially Naked can help anyone with money and a honey… no ifs, ands, or butts.
Terri Schlichenmeyer owns The Bookworm Sez, LLC, in LaCrosse, Wis.