Love and Money
I recall a conversation a few years ago with close friends of mine, Joe and Sarah.
Joe found out he had stage four lymphoma, and after a series of treatments, the doctors told him that it was terminal and there was nothing more they could do for him. And that it was best if he just spent the last few days of his life “settling his affairs.”
I asked Joe what his wishes were. He said that he wanted to leave his assets to his children from his first marriage. Joe had two adult children from his first marriage; His older child Megan was 35, and Mike was 33.
Just as he voiced his wishes, Sarah, who was sitting across from him, said, “What the …! You never told me this. Jim, your children are adults. And we still have a balance owing on the mortgage.”
Joe’s response was, ‘I don’t want my children thinking I am useless.” Turning to Sarah, he said, ‘You have a high income, and you’ll be able to pay off the mortgage. Sarah was twenty years younger than Jim. She did have a high income, but that was not the point.
One of the most contentious issues in relationships is the subject of money, especially in blended families. And, it’s never about the money that causes conflict but what it stands for, for each partner and the relationship.
The issue of divided loyalties is especially relevant in blended families. Joe did not have a large estate, and Sarah earned five times more than him. She did not have children of her own. She was averse to debt. To her, Joe should use the proceeds from his estate to pay off their debt. After all, they had been married for twenty years and did buy the house together. But Joe’s concern was more about how his children would perceive him.
Money Is An Emotional Issue
No matter what side you’re on, we can all agree; money is a highly emotional issue. And it touches most aspects of our lives. But can our money be kept separate from our love within our most intimate relationships? The law does not think so. Laws were created to protect the family, financially.
Can we choose to keep the issue of money a personal one, much like religion? Where what is mine is mine and what’s yours is yours. You can keep your accounts separate. But what about the mortgage? Vacations?
Love, Money And Previous Relationships
There are many advantages to combining your finances with your partner. Spousal rollovers for one. But how does this work if you have obligations to previous relationships? Like your ex? And children of a prior marriage? How far is the shadow cast from your obligations and responsibilities from previous relationships? Do you have to pay alimony? Is your ex entitled to your pension?
Is it possible to keep money completely separate from love? Would you want to?
When navigating your finances in your relationships, seek advice from a financial planner and a lawyer specializing in family law.
Some great resources for couples who want to nurture a healthy relationship with money include, “The Heart of Money: A Couple’s Guide to Creating True Financial Intimacy” and “Smart Couples Finish Rich”
To Master Your Money, sign up for my Money Mastery Course.
For a consultation. you can connect with Jennifer at email@example.com
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Through one on one coaching, webinars, online courses, and public speaking, Jennifer empowers individuals and businesses to achieve the outcomes they desire. For a consultation, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
She has written numerous books on money: Women and Money: 7 Principles Every Woman Needs to Know to Be Financially Prepared in Any Economy and Growing Up With Money: Raising Financially Resilient Kids in an Age of Uncertainty.