Did you cringe just a bit when you read the title — Financial Intimacy? The idea of “marrying money” stirs up troubling thoughts. Isn’t money “the root of all evil”? Or (more correctly) “the love of money is the root of all evil,” right? So, if I’m asking us to consider money as a marriage partner, I definitely have some explaining to do! Hear me out, please, and draw your own conclusions.
The suggestion came from a forex trading instructor. He had made millions on his trades, but most of his students were not successful. He summed up the reasons for success or failure in a simple statement: “You must become intimately acquainted with the currencies in order to make them work in your favor.” From this statement he coined the phrase, “financial intimacy.” I think he’s uncovered a very useful concept that is worth discussing.
To provide context for the discussion and establish a solid plan for learning, let’s create working definitions for a few familiar terms. The first term is “financial education.” As a corporate trainer I always considered “education” to be about knowledge. It provides fundamental information and facts. The second popular and related term is “financial literacy.” Literacy draws on knowledge and adds tools. These tools allow the learner to build and create strategies and plans. Now enters the term “financial intimacy” which is about personal mindset and feelings towards money.
The Missing Piece
Significantly, the missing piece in most of our financial teaching is financial intimacy. Tackling the mindset and feelings about money creates a partnership of lifelong benefits. A marriage relationship with money is like a fairytale story with drama, danger, intrigue, and a gloriously happy ending for those who work on the relationship. Money is a partner for life – and beyond, but it is a fierce beast that must be tamed.
Consider the story of Beauty and the Beast. The beauty, Belle, finds herself in a world controlled by a hideous, powerful beast. She is like us—all of us. The “root of all evil” invades life from the beginning, impacting every need and desire. Running in fear gets us nowhere. Instead, we must face the beast, study it, learn it’s ways, understand it, subdue it, control it and even woo it. In doing so, the character of Belle became no longer terrified of the beast. The conquered beast retained all its power but became no longer terrifying. The two became friends. Then they became lovers.
Simple Budget Tricks
Three simple but surprising budgeting tricks have been proven to help most people tame the money beast. Personal budgeting should begin with these three line items.
First, Line item #1 – 10% to Benevolence. This move shows honor and respect to the beast of money. The old school church principle of tithing is one example of this practice. Even outside of the realm of religion, this principle is recognized as one that facilitates wealth building. Money re-circulated to benefit the community has a way of enriching everyone, but particularly those who pour back into the circulating stream. Those who give away a portion of their earnings off the top step into a mindset of abundance which serves as a magnet to attract wealth. Having the confidence to give dispels money fears and anxiety and positions the giver as a money partner who is unquestionably in charge of the beast.
Secondly, Line Item #2 – 10% to Savings and Investment. Setting funds aside for emergencies and building a retirement account to support life beyond the working years honors and protects the money marriage partner.
Finally, Line Item #3 – 10% to Personal Development. Huh?? That’s right. Setting aside funds for seminars, conferences, courses and books has been shown to pay huge dividends in solidifying a personal relationship with money. People who engage in continuous learning—growing and upgrading their own mindset—becoming a knowledgeable partner. These people connect with good wealth communities to support their relationship with money. They find innovative ways to put their money to work. Money that is gainfully employed is happy money! Needless to say a happy money partner makes for a profitable relationship.
Although dedicating a full 30% of take-home pay to the money relationship is difficult, somehow learning to live on the remaining 70% tends to honor the beast. The money partner then submits, returns the honor and pays dividends that make for a good, strong marriage. Eventually, living on a smaller percentage and focusing on knowing more about money, results in increasing the size of the pot overall. The magical discovery is this: 70% of a pot that is continually growing larger trumps 100% of a pot that is continuously diminished by short-sighted management and poor mindset.
The Marriage Vows
Thinking through the typical marriage vows, I discovered some fun corollaries to my relationship with money. Check this out:
“To have and to hold…” For sure, I want to have money and hold onto it.
“From this day forward…” Yes. No time like today to begin (or renew) healthy money practices.
“For better or worse…” Life is better with money, but when the worst happens, I certainly want this strong partner to be there for me.
“For richer or poorer…” I choose richer! And my money loves to work increase in riches.
“In sickness and health…” I plan for health, but my money and I are prepared for sickness.
“Til death do us part…” Actually, this great marriage will leave a legacy that even outlives me!
Now returning to the story of Beauty and the Beast, let’s consider the final scene. Belle finds herself in the arms of the Beast, blissfully waltzing off into their new life together. Imagine yourself in this role. Step into the study of financial intimacy and create a “happily ever after” marriage with your partner—money.