Get Financially Naked: How to Talk Money with Your Honey promises to help women overcome their fear that discussing money is somehow unromantic.
Get Financially Naked
Authors Manisha Thakor, MBA, CFA, and Sharon Kedar, MBA, CFA, want you to know that hoping to live "happily ever after" is not a sound financial plan. When countless surveys report that money is the top source of tension among married couples, it's smart to know how to discuss your financial concerns with your significant other.
Get Financially Naked challenges you to think about how you envision financial security, how your past experiences with money shape your current financial behaviors, how financially compatible you are with your significant other, and how much you're willing to risk to help other family members with their financial concerns.
While the book does talk a bit about the basics of setting up on emergency fund and investing for future goals like retirement or a child's college education, the primary focus is more on encouraging an open financial dialogue within your relationship. You'll learn about how other couples dealt with their financial challenges and hopefully get some ideas that you can adapt to fit your situation.
Interview with Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kedar
Recently, Authors Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kedar took some time out of their busy schedules to answer a few questions for the readers of LoveToKnow Save.
How has the current economic recession affected women and their attitude towards money management?
Overall, we'd say it's been a blessing in disguise. Personal finance has been the pink elephant in bedrooms across America. The recession has forced women - and men - to think long and hard about the state of their finances. Once the seemingly endless flow of easy credit from credit cards and home equity loans dried up, people had no choice but to strive to live within their means.
Additionally, the recession has had another fascinating effect on women. Because we still earn $0.77 on the male dollar and tend to be highly productive workers who are great at multi-tasking, when it came time for lay-offs men bore the brunt of it. You may have heard this effect referred to as the "He-Session".
The bottom line is that today women are the primary breadwinners in 40 percent of households. Overall, we think this is a big positive as it further encourages women to take charge of their financial lives and continue to self-educate on the subject of personal finance.
Obviously, it's best to discuss financial matters before you enter a serious relationship. However, many people reading your book may already be in a long-term relationship. If one partner is a saver and the other is a spender, is it possible to resolve these personality differences?
Absolutely! In fact, academic studies have shown that we are in some senses predisposed to be attracted to our financial opposites. That's because there's something very intoxicating about "financial otherness" during the early stages of courtship. If you are a saver, the free-wheeling ways of a spender can be very heady. Conversely, spenders may find the boundaries of being around a saver oddly comforting. But, then the newness wears off and disagreements pop up. The key for a harmonious life between a saver and a spender is to first understand each other's hot buttons. What is it in each of your pasts that have driven you to have the outlook you do on money? At Get Financially Naked, you can download a short, free exercise to do this with your honey.
The second step is to understand how each of you relates to money on three levels - knowledge, interest, and behavior. To assess this, you can download our free "financial compatibility quiz" on the Get Financially Naked Web site. Your goal is not to become identical but to understand where you may have differences - or points of friction - so you can address them.
Last, armed with this information you can put in place simple steps like a dollar amount you are each allowed to spend a month no questions asked and a dollar amount above which you both agree to consult each other. These seemingly simple steps can work miracles on the marital knots of financial tension.
If one partner earns significantly more than the other, what is the fairest way to resolve financial disagreements? As I'm sure you know, many women feel like they have less of a voice in discussing family finances because of their smaller paycheck.
We have found the "financial three-way" to be an effective tool here. As a couple, you decide what constitutes a "joint expense." You then each contribute to a joint account in proportion to your earnings. So, if your household income is $100,000 with one person earning $70,000 and one person earning $30,000 and your combined expenses are $5,000 a month the person earning $70,000 contributes 70 perent ($3,500) and the other spouse contributes 30 percent ($1,500). Funds you each earn above and beyond joint expenses go into your personal accounts. You each have 100 personal say over your personal accounts and 50 percent say over joint accounts.
In your opinion, why do so many smart and successful women find it hard to say no to family members who make unreasonable financial requests, such as asking for a cosigner on a loan or wanting to borrow large sums of money?
For whatever the reason, more women than men tend to have strong "nurturing" instincts. Helping out family members in distress seems to trigger a different response in women than men. The benefit of this "money mamisma," this feminine energy around money is that we tend to be very giving and do a lot of good in the world. The downside is that this often comes at the expense of taking care of ourselves. We are strong believers in the oft quoted adage, "Put your own oxygen mask on first before helping those around you." We also like to remind women that sometimes the best way to help a loved one is actually by saying no to a request because it forces that family member to be resourceful and sort out their own mess - often the best way to learn lasting lessons.
Aside from Get Financially Naked, what books or Web sites do you recommend for women who want to learn more about how to manage their money?
Books we love include:
- Pay It Down by Jean Chatzky
- The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
- Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominquez & Vicki Robin
- Women & Money by Suze Orman
- Live It, Love It, Earn It Marianna Olszewski
- Shoo, Jimmy Choo by Catey Hill
Blogs we love include:
General information Web sites we love include:
A review copy of Get Financially Naked was provided by the publisher for this article.