Photo of couple holding hands

Kathleen Kingsbury is on a mission. She wants people to talk about money in order to save themselves and their relationships stress and suffering. She recognizes that talking about money is taboo in our culture.

As a wealth psychology expert, she has a unique understanding of how money silence negatively impacts our culture and relationships. She points out that whether or not we talk about it, finances impact an intimate relationship from dating through to long-term partnership, divorce and death. It’s common for couples today to marry without knowing each other’s financial obligations, income, or values around saving and spending. Yet these are potential wedge issues in a relationship and sadly often lead to divorce (70% of married couples argue more about money than they do about household chores or sex). Our culture perpetuates the money taboo - a 2014 survey revealed we would rather discuss death, politics or religion than money!

Kingsbury is also concerned that not talking about money matters hinders the financial literacy of younger generations. Another survey showed that parents would rather talk about sex than investing with their teens (and how many parents look forward to the ‘sex talk’?!) Sixty-eight percent of engaged couples had a negative attitude towards discussing finances with their partner and 5% said they would call the wedding off if they had to have a money talk!

I appreciate the due diligence Kingsbury obviously committed herself to in researching her book. It makes for an informative read, with lots of astute analysis and insights which absolutely benefit the reader.

One study found that couples who discussed finances once a week were happier than those who discussed finances only every few months. When recounting the biggest financial mistakes made in the relationship, couples said it was waiting too long to discuss finances.

After laying the groundwork to help us understand why we should break money silence, Kingsbury presents questions and activities to help us with the how. We need to reflect on the money messages we received from our family when we were young and how these ingrained messages are impacting our attitudes towards money now, for better or for worse.

Although money ‘scripts’ or ‘mindsets’ are mostly formed in childhood, factors such as culture, religion, socio-economic status and personal experiences also play a role. If we have a partner, it is critical to share our money mindset in order to work through conflicts about money. Financial compatibility (similarity in financial goals and ability to discuss and resolve financial differences) is usually not discovered until after a couple has made a long-term commitment to each other.

With skills, knowledge and perseverance, couples can engage in beneficial dialogue about money and instill a healthy attitude towards money discussions in their families and social networks.

Betty-Anne Howard and I have seen the fallout first-hand in our clients when couples struggle or fail to discuss finances. We want to help individuals firstly discover their money mindset, which largely resides in the unconscious mind. It is then important to understand the context, which includes gender roles and stereotypes. Once this is known, pitfalls in disagreement or conflict can be recognized from the outset and tools can be used to communicate more effectively with a partner.

It’s a process of self-realization and collaboration and we’re excited to help guide couples in developing this knowledge and deepen the intimacy in their relationship!

If you would like information about the upcoming For Love & Money course, please e-mail bettyanne.howard@ipcc.org.

Kathleen Pratt, BA, BSW, MSW, RSW, Certified Yoga Instructor offers groups, workshops, and yoga for personal and relationship growth in Kingston Ontario. www.kathleenpratt.ca


Kathleen Pratt

Kathleen Pratt

MSW, Registered Social Worker

Kathleen Pratt, BA, BSW, RSW has more than 25 years of experience as a professional social worker. Kathleen’s passion is working with groups, and she has developed a wide variety of groups for adults. Her hallmark “Rebuilding When Your Relationship Ends” program has guided more than 100 people from across the region to heal and move forward with their lives after separation. Kathleen offers other workshops and groups focused on personal and relationship growth; many in response to requests of graduates from the Rebuilding Group.

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