I read several articles in the newspaper this past month detailing layoffs, terminations and locations, "shuttered". To the average reader the content reflects prudent cost cutting measures and budget balancing actions. To me, my mind's eye zooms immediately to the individual impact. A psychic once said to me (yes, I've been to a psychic and liked it) that I have an active imagination, one which is so creative it paints elaborate scenarios that read like a colourful, emmm… book. (you should be in my brain… it's very interesting) It's all true. I think a thought and given a couple of minutes I'll have created several chapters out of it complete with alternate endings. Rowling's got nothing on me. As big as my imagination is my heart and compassion. For me, the articles cause me to zoom to the individual impact created as a result of lay offs, terminations and closures. Everyone manages change and transition differently, no one size fits all. For some, the situation can be confronting and overwhelming, it might take time to be able to accept it as an opening, a chance to do something completely new. I repeat… it might take time. If you know someone in this situation the very best thing you can do for them is to continue to believe in them, reflect their greatness to them, acknowledge them, love them up. If you are currently supporting someone in that situation and you find yourself losing patience… regroup. When we find ourselves thrust into transition our nasty internal chatter can become incredibly LOUD! You need support too, depending on your relationship with the newly unemployed you may now face greater pressure to provide financial support.
Finances are incredible stressors in relationships. We all have our "thing" about money and finances. When we become couples, we bring our individual ways we are about money together. Sure, we sign cohabitation agreements, we discuss how the bank accounts are going to go, how we will pay bills together, and if we are savvy we might even create a plan of what we will do about growing our money together. But that all addresses the doing. It does not address our individual context around money nor does it address how those contexts impact our financial decisions.
A simple example of this follows. Consider… you were raised in a happy home. Socializing was almost always partnered with food, big family dinners and frequent outings to nice restaurants. You often heard your parents remark, "what the heck, you can't take it with you. Might as well enjoy it now." Your partner on the other hand was raised in a house where meals were about nutrition, seldom the family sat down to eat together and family gatherings and socialization occured without the necessity of food. Your partner often heard his/her parents say, "it is important to save for a rainy day". Consider the impact these two situations could possibly have on your ability to manage money together especially if each of you adopted your parents' context around money and brought that into your partnership. Ouch! Now there's a recipe for resentment and disfunction.
As much as having a clear financial plan is important so is having a clear understanding of your partner's ways around money. Discover it together with curiosity and fun, keep a sense of humour about it. Once discovered, you are then at choice with regard to how you will blend your two ways to form one new way that will fulfill the plans you create together for your financial future. Now there's a recipe for peace and harmony.