How to Have The Money Conversation – Matthew & Leslie Part 1

Leslie was born in Dallas and she moved to Atlanta with her family when she was 10. She went to college in Boston at Brandeis University. She then came back to Atlanta and she actually one of Matthew’s cousins. They one day ended up being at this cousin’s Bar Mitzvah but they didn’t know each other and they didn’t even meet each other. Years later when they were both living in New York, they met and began dating. Leslie and Matthew then got married and moved to Atlanta. They have been married for almost 10 years.

Time Stamped Notes

[3:05] Matthew’s financial role after he got married was to execute taxes and to consolidate their bank accounts and their checking accounts and credit cards. Some bills are usually set to go out at the beginning of the month and some after the middle of the month. He is always looking out for how they can optimize the bills. On the other hand, Leslie has been kind of the watchdog making sure that Matthew is doing what he’s supposed to be doing. She helps double-check and second guess Matthew’s role. Leslie believes that her role is to kind of calm him down a little bit and tell him, “We do have money to spend on this. And if I pay $8 at the library, it’s not going to change our standard of living. And we can leave the lights on because we have money in the bank and it’s okay to have a light bulb burning for an extra hour of the day.”


[7:00] Over the past four years, Leslie and Matthew have both changed jobs multiple times. Last year alone, Matthew switched from three different consulting gigs before he got his current fulltime job. Leslie switched from her fulltime job to another fulltime job. They haven’t really stabilized from all the job shifting. They were stable for the first four years and their finances was much simpler. This constant switching had made Matthew’s role a lot more stressful. In fact, they got very close to almost bankruptcy in October.


[8:17] Leslie feels that Matthew is more stubborn than she is. Matthew will often tell something she wants to do to Leslie and explain it to her. Half the time, Leslie is always busy doing something else. Matthew admits that that may be a flaw on his side and he needs to make sure that he is getting 100% of her attention. Sometimes Matthew will make decisions and, in a moment of weakness, Leslie will just tell him to do whatever. Leslie will later feel that they haven’t really discussed the decision and she just kind of gave in. So Leslie wants to be able to communicate with Matthew about major financial decisions in a way that they’re both on the same page.


[11:58] Leslie loves surprise gifts because it’s something that shows the person has been thinking about her. She also feels that she desires praise. She will then try to praise as much as she can because that’s what she knows she wants. For example, Matthew was amazing with the kids one morning and so Leslie called on him on the way to work to say thank you. She was very specific in what she was grateful for. Matthew likes things being set up nicely in a certain way. She loves serenity and quiet. Leslie usually does this for him. For example, when he gets home from work, Leslie has usually dimmed the lights and the countertops have been packed away. She then gives him a quiet rundown of what’s going on. Just shortly after they got married, Matthew decided to celebrate Leslie’s birthday for one full month. Every Saturday night, Leslie would get a surprise. When they were dating, Matthew would leave love notes for her. They cost nothing and Leslie kept every one of them.


[21:32] We all have these imaginary ropes that tie us to the fence, whether it’s stories we tell our self, whether it’s beliefs about money. Whatever it is, we have those things that basically tie us to the fence and hold us back from achieving what we want to achieve. This is something that people don’t like to talk about and they want to keep inside because it’s embarrassing or shameful. Maybe it’s just something false and you never talked it out with someone. It’s so powerful to bring these things out and talk about them. It’s so important for Matthew and Leslie to have these kinds of conversations so they know where they stand and they know what’s holding them back.


[28:50] Part of our money history is our money story as well. Ensure that you know what you tell yourself in regards to money. That phrase that you say to yourself, your spouse or your kids. What is the one fear or thing that repeats in your head? So ensure you understand the emotions you feel when it comes to money. By understanding these emotions you will be able to break the inner dialogues. Once you shift this, it will be much easier just to shift in general.


[34:16] Financial infidelity is when there’s not 100% transparency on what is happening with the money. How it presents itself is someone may buy something they don’t disclose to their spouse or they may loan a family member money that they don’t disclose to their spouse or they take out a credit card. When someone withholds something it’s typically because they’re afraid of telling the truth. One thing that we have to be mindful of is creating like a safe space. You have to be able to tell each other the truth without fear of retribution.


[36:33] Financial intimacy is where you can kind of have that vulnerability, that trust and that transparency. Financial infidelity can be a slippery slope because if you’re caught, for example, sneaking up a shoe into the house while your husband is taking a shower, he may start wondering what else you’re hiding from him. The trust begins to kind of evaporate and this starts to bleed into other parts of your relationship.


[37:26] Research has shown that finances is the number one cause of divorce. The reason this is true, is not only because people argue about money, but it’s also because there are certain things that happen that erode the trust and seeps itself into other areas of the relationship. The hope is that at the end of this session Matthew and Leslie have a clear goal of where they’re going and how they’re going to get there. This week for their homework, they are going to work on unpacking what holds them back. Next week, they’re going to be talking about what that is and how they’re going to get it.


The Five Love Languages – Gary Chapman