Money management is a team sport

When I began to understand the laws of money, I realized that financial success or failure depends on the person you see in the mirror in the morning when you brush your teeth: YOU! This explains the situations I encounter at the courses I teach in companies – where I know people with low incomes, but absolutely balanced and with a healthy mindset, as well as employees with impressive salaries, but absolutely lost or overwhelmed by some uninspired financial decisions. .

After having a few thousand students, I can say that, paradoxically, the amount written on the salary slip counts quite a bit in a person’s financial universe. The same is true when it comes to couples. Sure, it’s not a good idea to get 4,000 $ or 10,000 $ a month in your house, but I would say there is one more important factor to consider: the couple’s balance.

In a previous article I talked about the 4 types of financial personality: Spender (Broken Hand), Saver (Tight), Avoider (Innocent) and Monk (Financial Monk). We noticed there that each has native inclinations, which are difficult to change over time, because they are related to elements of the internal biochemistry of the person’s body, such as the level of three hormones that control most decisions: serotonin (pleasure hormone), dopamine (reward hormone). ) and oxytocin (the hormone of social relationships).

In this article, however, we talk about couple finances. An individual’s relationship with his money is, however, complicated. We still introduce another person in the equation (with different values, priorities and expectations) and we already have an interesting cocktail (not to mention Molotov). When one or two children still appear, the wick is already on and the fireworks begin.

Why are we talking and nobody is listening?

And has it ever happened to you to tell your partner one thing for months and to have the feeling that you are talking “with the walls”, and then hearing the same thing from another source, who turns out to have more “glue”? We all do this. Paradoxically, we often have our ears closed even to our closest ones. That is why, when I am invited to take courses in companies, I always ask that the employees be able to participate with the couple. Because personal finance is a team sport. It helps a lot that both players know the rules of the game together.

Often, when only one of the partners reads something interesting or goes to a seminar (on any topic), he returns home very excited about the things learned and proposes changes. But it is hit by the high eyebrow of the partner, who does not understand the new direction and not only does not support, but even undermines the initiative. Thus, good ideas are lost and everyone returns to their former habits.

Understand me so that I can understand you!

A few years ago I discovered an extremely useful tool for understanding the behavior of the partner and, since then, I always use it in the couple finance course. It’s about the DISC personality test – a concept launched by the American psychologist William Moulton Marston. Among other things, Marston is the one who developed the first prototype of the lie detector, so he knows how to deal with truth and spell.

When I first completed this questionnaire with my wife, I had many funny revelation moments. I understand why they don’t like the change and any potential guest needs a month’s written notice to be able to come and visit. She also understood why I hurry to make decisions and act before I have all the details and, of course, I often fence her. But we both learned how to speak “in each other’s language” and how to approach things more proactively, not reactively.

I invite you to download a free DISC questionnaire for couples, with applicability in the area of ​​personal finance (and not only), from this site(free ). Complete it with your partner or any other person you interact with frequently: co-workers or bosses, close friends, relatives, etc. You will discover that there are 4 personality types and that each one has its own particularities and needs specific approaches, if you want a balanced relationship.

The Dominant One

He is the one with whom everyone struggles to keep up. Put into action and with an exhausting pace, the dominant has the profile of the leader, being oriented towards clear tasks and objectives. All he needs is a target; otherwise, he manages to get there. If you drive to the Untold Festival, he wants to get there faster, while you want to admire the Olt Valley, drink a coffee at the OMV on the lake and eat something good in Sibiu. The partner with a high dominant level has a natural tendency to dominate the home environment as well. He is direct, sincere and determined. He is brave and is not afraid to take risks or take actions that lead him to the desired goal. The dominant one works best in a challenging environment.

The dominant answers the question “What?”. When you talk to a Dominant, it doesn’t start with the details, because you lost it. Make a summary first and then give details only if you ask them. Not being a good listener, it is advisable to put your ideas in writing, concise, with options and recommendations for action.

The influential one

He is the soul and joke of the group. People with a high level of influence have a natural tendency to develop relationships with others. They are communicative, friendly, casual, extraverted and optimistic. They are enthusiastic motivators and seek the collaboration of others to achieve their goals. The influencer works best in a friendly environment.

Answer the question “Who?” The recommendations and testimonials are appreciated by the Influent, because he needs to interact with others, especially if he appreciates them. Easily convince him if you tell him who else is involved and who he thinks is a good idea. He also needs to see that the project is interesting and fun.

The Steady One

It is the bread of God, but it is humble to exasperation. He kills you with his kindness, especially since he is always understanding and ready to help you. The high-level partner has the natural tendency to cooperate and support others. He is patient, stable, consistent and trustworthy. His pleasant and pleasant nature makes him an excellent team partner. This character works best in a harmonious and supportive environment.

The statistician answers the question “How?” As in “How do you want dear …” Aaahhhh !!!! Being detail-oriented, Stomp needs to know how things will be done and how it affects him. Prepare it ahead for any changes, because he doesn’t like improvisations. Use a calm voice tone and unambiguous non-verbal language.

The Conscious One

We all need an accountant in our lives. Someone good at figures, attentive to details, adept at some systems and procedures. Well, you found it! The high conscientious partner is very focused on doing everything right. Usually, he is very attentive to the details and he finds it very easy to follow the rules. He always seeks precision and quality and as a result sets high standards for himself and others. This character works best in a structured and rigorous environment.

The conscientious answers the question “Why?”. Being logical, organized and precise, the conscientious opposes the changes, if he does not understand why they are done. Give him rational reasons for action and decision, by providing well-supported details through studies, data and facts. It is motivated by logic, not emotions and feelings.

Let it be clear:

To be clear, suppose you want to buy a phone.

If you’re Dominant, by the time I finish writing the article, you’ve already bought it. You entered the first site that comes to mind, you placed the order and tonight you are talking about your new gadget. You didn’t find the best price, you probably didn’t choose the best model but you solved the problem.

If you are Influent, ask two or three friends what they think and then trust. Obviously they only told you the good things, but hey, you’re part of the club now! You would not want to be on the iPhone, when your gang is on Android or, God forbid, vice versa.

If you are steady, you will stay a little longer and it will pass you by. The current phone is still ok, although it has the screen cracked and the home button does not work. Learn new applications, move contacts, emails and photos … too much!

If you are Conscious, you have already created an Excel with a detailed analysis, with technical details, advantages and disadvantages. A few months later, you are still reading reviews, watching unboxing and comparative tests. Then a new template appears, add another column in Excel and take it out again.

The balance is born of differences

I have a saying: “In a couple, if both are the same, one is extra.” By completing the questionnaire, you will find that you have areas where your scores are close. This means that you see things there in the same way, at the same pace, from the same perspective, with the same expectations.

The funny part is that we rarely get similar partners in our lives. We usually look for personalities that complement us, because we want things that we lack. This way, you will have areas where your scores are further apart, separated by two or more lines, as in the example below.

Well, at first glance you would say that there is the seed of scandal, the reason for quarreling and going to the mother. Indeed, if not properly understood and managed, differences in vision can create a lot of stress. But I invite you to appreciate precisely these divergent situations. These are the ones that give balance and strength to your long-term relationship. Because a Dominant needs a Conscientious man to cover his back and read the credit agreement to the end, including small print paragraphs. Just as a Steady Man needs an Influent to go out into the world or a Dominant to take him out of the comfort zone.

A team made up of only goalkeepers or attackers will never become a champion. For success, it requires defense as well as attack. This is also true for couples, if you want to win the game of your money. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go to the team. “

Financial education is about life, not about money!David Mead .

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