Talking about money may lead to better and more harmonious relationships. Listen now for some life hacks to help you get these conversations started.
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Hey, humans. I’m Michael Liersch. This is the About Money podcast presented by Wells Fargo. I’m a behavioral scientist with a PhD in cognitive psychology who loves openly talking about money to help humans better understand their money behaviors.
In Season 4, we’re going to get real by sharing money situations and scenarios that happen all the time to millions of us. Real stories. Relatable and usable. We’ll also be sharing valuable life hacks you can use to stay on track, or get back on track, with your finances. So let’s get into it.
In this episode, we’re going to ask ourselves, are you and your family often arguing about money? Well, I think we’ve all heard the old adage that money is one of the biggest causes of things like divorce. So conflict around money and how that can break up families and how that can create negative dynamics, it’s certainly nothing that all of us aren’t completely familiar with.
So in this episode, I really want to move us beyond the fighting and more to how do we actually solution. So when you think about getting everyone on the same page about money, you know, reducing conflict between people who like to save money versus who like to spend it, really demanding more and less from our family members around money.
So let me tell you about a family that I worked with, and it was around their family business. Some of the family members didn’t want to be a part of that business, including the kids. And some did; they felt super passionate about it. You know, they came in every day, worked at the register, and there was a lot of conflict because some people were putting in more, what I would call it, sweat equity into the family and the finances than others. Yet everyone was still benefiting from it, creating tons of conflict. And so I got involved to help them talk through it. You know, what was it that was happening here that was creating the conflict.
So what we did is we just got together, sat down, and acknowledged that there was conflict. But then we turned it to this idea of gratitude and the fact that they were all together trying to make their way through this conflict.
They were all willing to sit down with each other and talk about it. And so we focused on what they actually were grateful for when it came to being in that family. And that put us all into a very different frame of mind.
And so to me, that’s an important story because a lot of people who are engaged in conflict, they’re focused on what they don’t like about each other, what they don’t like about each other’s money behaviors. They’re all focused on the negatives.
You really need to focus on the positives.
So focus on the things that you wanted to accomplish together, you wanted to do together. Go there rather than going to the places where everything’s not working.
So I want you to think about your conflict. What is it? And we talked about kind of acknowledging it, being honest about it. But then if the next step is solutioning, let’s get into some life hacks that can help you solution around these conflicts.
So the first thing that I would really encourage you to do is write down the names, the human beings where you feel like you’re in, think of it as collaboration or in, you know, synergy with them, in agreement with them when it comes to money things. And then write down those family members where you feel like you’re not, that you’re somehow misaligned in a particular way.
Next what I want you to do is write down why. And what I’m trying to get to here is there’s something in psychological research called relationship conflict. And there’s something called task conflict.
And so when it comes to relationship conflict, that’s about whether you like somebody, whether you think they’re a good person, whether you want to hang out with them all the time, whether you think they have, you know, great hair or shoes, you know, whatever that is, that’s more in the zone of relationship conflict and relationships.
Task conflict is about whether you’re truly in disagreement with somebody around a decision area. And so that’s where we get into something about money for example: Do you like to save or do you like to spend? Let’s resolve that. That’s task conflict. Because if someone wants to put their money in the bank and the other person wants to go out to dinner and have fun, you need to resolve that together.
So when you write down these people, I really ask you to really identify whether you think it’s a relationship conflict that’s causing that money misalignment or disagreement or whether there’s actually a specific task associated with it.
Once you do that, what I want you to do is all the people you’ve listed with relationship conflict as being misaligned around money, I want you to kind of give that a break. Maybe say, OK, maybe we aren’t as distant with each other around money. Maybe there’s just something that’s happened from a relationship standpoint that we’re off base on.
And then really look at all those tasks. What are the tasks or what are the money issues or items that are truly driving a wedge between you and those people. So just get that all out on the table.
The second piece here is now I want you to look at those same people, the same list, and I want you to write down, and I’m going to force you to do this, something that you actually think you share with them in terms of a money value or a money opportunity or a money objective.
So you all want to have the opportunity to live a sustainable financial life. You don’t want to run out of money. And so when you think about that, it can start helping you approach a conversation.
So the last hack I’ll mention with you around this is to set up that conversation with that person. And be open and honest about it, be truthful, say, I feel like we’re in this money conflict and I want to get out of it. I want a solution this. Be honest about it. But approach the conversation with a sense of curiosity, wanting to understand, wanting to learn.
That’s it for this episode. If you really like the episode, please share it with your family and friends. If you have a topic you’d like us to address, email us at AboutMoney@wellsfargo.com. The About Money podcast is produced by Wells Fargo.
This information is provided for educational and illustrative purposes only.
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