Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"Is He Financially Attractive?"

Last night, I made my way to WAM!NYC's event on financial literacy with personal finance expert Manisha Thakor, and I'm really glad I went because I learned a lot. (I'll probably share some of the highlights with you as I start putting these things into practice.) Manisha was friendly, funny, and talked to us like she was our friend, which all made the information she was giving us much more accessible. Seriously, I can't think of anybody else who has made me feel that comfortable when talking about money.

But of all the things she spoke about, one of the things that resonated with me the most was about finances in relationships. She kept telling us that we needed to talk money with our honey, and stressed that it's particularly important because financial opposites attract.

She gave the example of a saver going on a date with a spender, who marvels at his offer to buy popcorn and soda at the movies. We all laughed when she gave the reaction I know I've had, "you mean you EAT at the MOVIES?!?!" Meanwhile, the spender sees the saver load up on water at a fountain past the security checkpoint at an airport and is equally impressed.

The difference in habits is part of what attracts us at first, but it also comes back to cause some of the biggest problems later. As she explained, when people ask you about getting serious with your partner, they ask if you're physically, mentally, and spiritually attracted to them, but nobody asks you if you're financially compatible.

To which I say, Manisha, where the heck were you five years ago?!

Her big take-away wasn’t that you should be afraid to be with the spender if you’re the saver or vice versa, or that you should try to change their ways (because you won’t), but rather that you should know and acknowledge this from the start so you can negotiate your spending and saving habits throughout your relationship.

I know I’ll be applying her wisdom in my own life – it’s never too late to start!

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