Whole Life Magazine

February/March 2013

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Page 23 of 43

For love & Money W Game-changers for inancial intimacy ith the economy still in limbo and the ever-rising cost of living in Los Angeles, it's easy to feel as if you're teetering on the proverbial iscal cliff—and for those who are coupling, those fears are often ampliied. If you and your partner currently feel like you're drowning inancially, you're not alone and it's nothing new. "As human beings, we've been suffering far too long relative to money," says Deborah Price, author of The Heart of Money (New World Library). "Money has a hold over us, largely because it is such a taboo subject and a very unexplored area of human awareness and consciousness." She likens the taboo nature of money to society's views on sex decades ago. "For many years we didn't talk about sex, but now we've gotten past that and people are having more and better sex than ever," Price notes. "We're still hung up and in the closet when it comes to money. We don't want people to see us naked in that way." Not surprisingly, the inability to be "inancially intimate" can wreak havoc on otherwise healthy relationships. According to the Center for Financial Social Work, money is not only the number one stressor in people's lives, but also the top cause of divorce. Yet here's the silver lining—money doesn't necessarily have to be a source of relationship conlict or secrecy. We spoke with Price and Colorado-based inancial coach Bari Tessler (www. baritessler. com) to explore effective ways that couples can raise their collective consciousness and ind a happy medium around money. Create a safe space According to Tessler, a majority of money issues stem from the fact that couples simply have a hard time communicating about it. "This is an area where many couples can't even talk," says Tessler. "[In these cases] there hasn't been a safe space created to talk about numbers or the emotions around money." To create a more conducive atmosphere for addressing joint inances, 24 By Jen Jones donatelli Tessler has several go-to techniques. First, she suggests performing what she calls a "body check-in," in which both partners take close note of their physical reaction in different situations (such as shopping, talking about money, paying bills, etc.). "Noticing physical sensations, feelings, emotions and your breath can give valuable clues and information. It's an amazing way to learn during your daily money interactions and see if you're in alignment," says Tessler, who also specializes in body-centered psychotherapy. Tessler also suggests setting up regular "money dates with your honey" to discuss not only current concerns and updates, but also each person's past relationship to money. She encourages couples to explore their upbringing during these talks, and how it colors their respective money outlooks. "Having time to tell your story brings out what's hiding and what's hanging out from the past that you need to deal with on a practical level," says Tessler. "Talking about what you've learned from your family will also help identify patterns around spending, earning, saving and giving." This approach paid off for LA-based couple Alex and Vanessa Hughes, who gained a better understanding of each other after examining childhood inluences. "Alex tends to be more conservative with savings, mostly due to his parents' paycheckto-paycheck lifestyle, whereas I'm a little bit more open to spending on activities and events that are important to me, which is more in line with how I grew up," shares Vanessa. Acquaint your archetypes According to Price, each of us embodies various "money types"—ranging from the "warrior" to the "fool." In the vein of archetypes developed by Carl Jung, Price's eight money types describe the way a person is inclined to approach money based on psyche and past experiences. "There is a proclivity for people to want things to be a certain way based on their archetype," explains Price. "For instance, the 'innocent' would prefer to be taken care of and is often seeking rescue, while a 'martyr' may start to feel resentful because they wanted a partnership but didn't know how to ask for it." For couples, it's important to consider each partner's money type and how they might interact. The dynamic is often highly dependent on whether dominant is paired with passive or the pairing features two like types. "Dominant archetypes are generally more actively engaged, while passive archetypes may prefer not to engage in money matters at all, if given the option," says Price, adding that the only archetype that doesn't fall into either category is the "magician," who tends to have the most wholelifetimesmagazine.com Love&Money.indd 24 1/25/13 6:01 PM

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