The Courage to Be Rich: Creating a Life of Material and Spiritual Abundance (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)by Suze Orman
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FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY.
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An Excerpt from The Courage to Be RichLove and Money
It never fails. When everything is working out between two people, they think love is so simple. Yet when the disagreements start, love becomes a complicated venture indeed. Often, the central complication is -- surprise, surprise -- money. Couples are always saying things like "Oh, money is killing our relationship" or "We were doing fine until money came between us." When I hear this, all I can think is that money has never done a thing to anyone, never hurt a fly. Money is just money. But it is the power you give your money, or your attitudes toward and your fears about your money, that can wreak havoc on the most important relationships in your life.
Not surprisingly, by now you may realize that you are in a relationship with money, whether you think of it in these terms or not. And like the other relationships in your life, this one needs work to make it successful. You must take actions that will create possibilities rather than destroy them, actions that will help you feel secure rather than afraid, and above all else, actions that will establish, in your private world, the sense that you are unconditionally loved for who you are and not for what you have. The first law of money states: People first, then money. It is also an essential law of relationships: People first, then money.
Which doesn't mean that money doesn't matter when it comes to love, because it matters a great deal. Of all the kinds of intimacy there are -- physical, emotional, domestic -- financial intimacy is perhaps the hardest to achieve, and, it could easily be argued, the most important in the long run. You can turn over your body, heart, and soul to someone, but the union will never be complete unless you link your fortunes (and misfortunes) together, too, for better or worse, and forever.
The Financial Courtship
You have met the person of your dreams. You have never loved anyone so much in your entire life. Finally you decide to get married or join lives and live happily ever after, till death do you part. The vows truly are holy, and you mean them with every ounce of your being. Could money get in the way of this love of yours? Not possible, you say. Until it does. If you haven't walked carefully and honestly through all the money issues ahead of time, I can promise you that money will one day become an obstacle in your relationship. Even if you think you have the subject well covered, you'll probably find that money becomes a problem later on: you change, your partner changes, the money grows or fails to -- all potential reasons for disagreement. Arguments over money trigger divorce in more cases than you can imagine -- arguments that are not necessarily based on deceit or lies but on how we deal with money. Because most of us deal with it very, very differently. This is so hard to understand ahead of time and so painful to discover after the fact. On your own, you handle your money your own way. You worry, sure, and sometimes perhaps you spend money you shouldn't -- you go overboard on gifts for yourself and others, occasionally you're late in paying your bills. Yet when someone else has a stake in your money and you have a stake in theirs, sloppy habits or reckless spending or even wildly divergent views on how to manage money can strike at the core of how safe and secure you feel and can make you feel violated in a very intimate way. When the first argument over money erupts, most of us are taken by surprise. And the only -- the only -- way to protect yourself and ensure that your relationship will thrive is to look at money issues in the most naked and honest way you can. Before you utter a single vow, and many times thereafter.
You must open the dialogue. Not just "Oh gosh, who's going to pay for what?" -- which we'll get to. But you must attempt to talk together in a rational, candid way about the serious side of money, matters that over time go from being background issues in a relationship to those of the highest priority -- how you spend, how you save, how well you share.
- How do both of you feel about saving money for the future? How committed are you both to investing for tomorrow? Do you both agree that money you've saved shouldn't be touched, or would one of you be willing to tap into your savings for such luxuries as vacations or a hot tub or a new sound system?
- Are your investment styles -- be they aggressive or conservative -- in sync?
- Can you talk together, no matter how young you are, about retirement?
- Are you in agreement over who does the bookkeeping and pays the bills?
- Do your notions of generosity match?
- Do you agree about your responsibilities toward your respective families?
- Do you have a prenuptial agreement? Do you want one? How does that make each of you feel?
- In the case of a job transfer, whose job takes precedence?
- If your incomes vary greatly, who is expected to pay for what, and how do you come to that decision?
- If you have children, what will happen if one of you wants to stay at home with them? How will the money work then?
- Do you feel the same about the financial aspects of child rearing -- public vs. private schools, etc.?
- Are relations with any ex-spouses clearly defined?
- Do you know how much your partner earns? How much he or she spends every month? How much his or her bills are every month?
- Do you both pay your bills on time, or is one of you consistently late?
- Is any past credit card debt, school loans, or bankruptcy being brought into the relationship?
- Do both of you have a good credit report, or does one of you have the credit rating from hell?
- Are you both prepared to share your assets or your income, or does one of you feel the need to keep some aspects of your financial life separate? If so, why? Can you both live with that?
From The Courage to Be Rich by Suze Orman. Copyright © 1999 by Suze Orman. Published by Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Putnam, Inc., Professional/Trade Division. All rights reserved.
Meet the Author
Suze Orman is the author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom and The Courage to Be Rich and the national bestseller You've Earned It, Don't Lose It. The personal finance editor for CNBC and a financial contributor to NBC's "Today," she is also a contributing editor to O: The Oprah Magazine. A sought-after speaker who has lectured widely throughout the United States and South Africa, Suze Orman has been featured in Newsweek, The New Yorker, The New Republic, USA Today, and other publications, and has appeared numerous times on "Larry King Live" and "The Oprah Winfrey Show."
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