NEW YORK (Reuters) - If you’re willing to undress in front of someone in a relationship, you should be able to undress financially as well, say the authors of a new book.
Money can be one of the most difficult subjects for couples to talk about, and “Get Financially Naked” aims to help them share not only details of their finances but also their thoughts, attitudes and fears about money.
“People feel this intense feeling of shame around money,” said co-author Manisha Thakor, stemming from people feeling judged by how much they earn, how much they know about finances and how they handle their money.
The steep recession and dire job market has been a blessing in disguise that has pushed couples and families to talk about money, she told Reuters in an interview.
“Losing a job or getting furloughed or having your hours cut forces you to have this conversation,” she said. “Unless there is a catalyst, people will avoid this conversation like the plague.”
“Get Financially Naked” encourages couples to consider their financial compatibility — looking at each person’s interest in dealing with money, knowledge of money and behavior toward money, she said.
“You meet someone special, and society encourages you to analyze whether or not you are physically compatible, spiritually compatible, emotionally compatible and intellectual compatible,” she said. “But this dimension of financial comparability is not something that is ever talked about.”
Couples can identify gaps and conflicts in their financial compatibility and address them, she said.
“You have to work out a compromise the same way you would in any other area of your married life,” Thakor said.
For example, if one person is a spender and the other is a saver, they could set a dollar amount, above which the spender agrees to consult the saver before spending, she said.
Maybe they set an amount that each one can spend per month, no questions asked, or maybe they meet regularly with a financial planner, she said.
“You should be willing to get financially naked,” said Thakor. “At the point that you feel that you’ve found the person you want to be with for the long term, that is the point at which you should start having that conversation.”
Thakor and co-author Sharon Kedar wrote an earlier book, “On My Own Two Feet: A Modern Girl’s Guide to Personal Finance.”
“Get Financially Naked” is published by Adams Business, an imprint of Adams Media, a division of F+W Media Inc.