When Scrooge and shopa­holic team up, it’s im­por­tant to have ‘the money talk’

Cape Breton Post - - WEEKEND -

WIN­NIPEG (CP) — You don’t have to do it on the first date, or even the 10th, but once you’re in a com­mit­ted re­la­tion­ship it’s time to get down to busi­ness.

It might be awk­ward at first, but if you and your honey want to clear one of the big­gest hur­dles fac­ing cou­ples to­day, you’re go­ing to have to start talk­ing about money.

Yes, we know you’d rather not. A 2008 poll con­ducted for the Bank of Montreal found that money is the most sen­si­tive topic of con­ver­sa­tion for Cana­di­ans — ahead of pol­i­tics, re­li­gion, weight and even sex.

Get over it. Be­cause as Canada’s di­vas of debt de­struc­tion point out in their new book, al­though money can’t buy you love, it can get you two tick­ets on a fast train to Splitsville.

“It’s what cou­ples fight about most, but it’s also the topic that tends to get pushed to the side or just ig­nored,” says An­gela Self, one of the au­thors of The Smart Cook­ies’ Guide to Cou­ples and Money.

The book, sub­ti­tled Earn More, Ar­gue Less, Achieve the Life You Want To­gether, is the sec­ond from Self and her fel­low Smart Cook­ies (An­drea Bax­ter, Katie Dunsworth, Robyn Gunn and San­dra Hanna), who co-wrote it with New York­based fi­nance jour­nal­ist Jen­nifer Bar­rett.

Bot­tom line: When it comes to ro­man­tic merg­ers, fi­nan­cial com­pat­i­bil­ity is just as im­por­tant as emo­tional and phys­i­cal com­pat­i­bil­ity.

Be­fore the Cook­ies, now ages 28 to 34, started their self-help money club in Van­cou­ver in 2006 — and quickly be­came a North Amer­i­can fran­chise af­ter ap­pear- ing on The Oprah Win­frey Show — they were fis­cally clue­less, drown­ing in con­sumer debt and pay­ing the price in their per­sonal lives.

And guess what? Op­po­sites at­tract in love and money.

“We cer­tainly found that to be true in our own lives, and it tends to be the pat­tern for a lot of peo­ple,” says Self over the phone from Toronto, where she cur­rently re­sides.

“ You and your part­ner bring your own money per­son­al­i­ties into the re­la­tion­ship and un­less you’re will­ing to strike a bal­ance, there’s go­ing to be a prob­lem.” Self, 30, speaks from ex­pe­ri­ence. Be­fore she be­came a Smart Cookie, the for­mer TV pro­duc­tion as­sis­tant was a Zom­bie Spen­der — de­fined in the book as some­one who pays lit­tle at­ten­tion to where their money goes. At the time, she was earn­ing $10 an hour and re­ly­ing on her high-in­ter­est credit cards to fund her “spend now, worry later” life­style. As is typ­i­cal of some­one with this spending style, Self of­ten re­turned from shop­ping trips with items she didn’t re­call buy­ing.

“Once I came home from Ikea with two white du­vets,” Self re­calls. “I was just walk­ing through the store and putting things into my big yel­low bag.”

Re­search has shown that women en­joy shop­ping more than men, with the for­mer twice as likely to shop im­pul­sively — and for emo­tional rea­sons. (Men shop less of­ten, but tend to make big­ger pur­chases.)

All the more rea­son for cou­ples to get on the same page fi­nan­cially, says Self, who found out too late that her live-in boyfriend was a Se­cu­rity Seeker money type.

“My part­ner was very cau­tious with his money. That’s how he was raised. But un­til we ac­tu­ally had a con­ver­sa­tion about money (af­ter break­ing up), I just thought he was be­ing kind of cheap.”

They had good in­ten­tions, though, and early in their co­hab­i­ta­tion even wrote down their fi­nan­cial val­ues and pri­or­i­ties — only to dis­cover the lists were rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent. “We tossed that piece of pa­per away and never came back to it,” Self says. “I think we feared it would cre­ate anx­i­ety and stress.”

At­tract­ing your fi­nan­cial op­po­site can ac­tu­ally be a good thing, she says, as long as you play to each other’s strengths rather than get into a power strug­gle — or sim­ply try to hide your bad habits.

Katie Dunsworth, An­gela Self, An­drea Bax­ter, San­dra Hanna, Robyn Gunn are the au­thors of

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.