Family and Money – Part 1 of 3

Growing up, you probably heard someone warn you that, “Money is the root of all evil”. Today, one of the most well known, well accepted statistics in this country is that “Money is the leading cause of divorce in America.” Well, neither of these statements are entirely true. To borrow a line from comedian and red neck philosopher, “Larry the Cable Guy”, to blame money for all the evil and divorce in this country is like blaming a pencil for misspelling words on a piece of paper. Let’s look at the facts?

In his letter to Timothy, Paul wrote, “For the love of money is the root of many evils.” Notice, it’s the love of money, not money itself, cited as the root of the problem. As for the out of control divorce problem that is plaguing our families, don’t blame money. As we teach and counsel couples on financial principles, there is a very common obstacle standing between a family and financial freedom. The obstacle is financial compatibility.

Financial compatibility is the level at which couples can effectively communicate about money and money related issues as they arise. Without this compatibility, discussions are nothing more that fights and solutions to problems which result in a struggle for power and control over the checkbook. When couples discover and understand their financial personalities, they can achieve higher level of financial compatibility. With this compatibility, couples can communicate effectively about money. Stress is reduced, fights are fewer, and marriages become stronger. This sounds simple but it’s not. If you and your spouse want to improve in this area, it takes both of you working together. But, if financial compatibility is the leading cause of divorce in this country, it’s worth the effort, right?

A recent study concluded that:

• American couples spend less than 12 minutes a month discussing their families’ finances.
• Most Pastors admit to feeling inadequately trained in the area of finances and financial counseling. Consequently, couples who participate in premarital counseling receive little to no useful training in this area.
• Schools fail to provide children training in basic money management. High schools and colleges have little to offer in the area of personal finance. When a student graduates from college today, they leave with a diploma and $35,200 in college-related debt (student loans, credit cards, and money owed to family members).
• Despite all that we know about the relationship between money issues and divorce, very few marriage seminars or marriage counselors spend any amount of time discussing financial compatibility or effective money management skills.

If your marriage is under financial attack, fight back. Stay Tuned for Part 2, “Strategies you can use to communicate with your spouse more effectively about money.”