In some couples the partners have very different financial pictures because one comes from a wealthy family and/or earns much more than the other. These rich partner poor partner couples may also have differences in their understanding of finance, budgets, cash flow, or the importance of saving, investing and planning for the future. Plus they usually have deeper issues and anxieties about the symbolic meaning of money. These dynamics can cause conflict and unhappiness. In fact, if these differences are not handled and resolved they can lead to ongoing money battles and even destroy the marriage.
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Here are five relationship tips that can save a rich partner poor partner relationship so that you break through the differences and come together as a loving team:
1. Recognize that money has a symbolic meaning.
Money means different things to each of you. It may represent issues of trust, personal and family security, power, freedom or pleasure. If you battle about money and don’t discover what the real concerns are, you and your spouse will just keep fighting the same battle over and over again.
2. Discover the issues underlying conflicts about money.
Take turns interviewing each other like a reporter would. Ask your partner about personal needs, wishes, fears and long-term goals. Don’t make any comments, just ask questions and take notes. As you are being interviewed, don’t hold back, speak your truth and dream big.
3. Look for common goals and a shared vision of the future.
Review each other’s lists and look for the commonalities both in terms of fears and long-term goals. You will be surprised at the similarities. No matter how much wealth you have now, you both may be afraid of losing your lifestyle or being cut-off from the family’s wealth and ending up poor. On the other hand, both of you may want a life filled with children or travel and art but are unable to figure out how to create that future. To manifest this vision brainstorm together as a team.
4. Consider a win-win pre- or post-nuptial agreement.
This contract is designed to handle anxieties and fears. It gives assurance to the less-moneyed spouse that his/her needs will be met in the event of divorce or death. A financial agreement calms the fears of the richer spouse because he/she will then not be exploited financially in the event of a bitter divorce.
5. Create and agree on a long-term financial plan.
The long-term financial plan will get you to the future vision you both want to create. Many couples need to create a shared budget with his, hers and shared money to help fulfill these personal and common goals. Even if there is no need for the less-moneyed spouse to have an income, it is very important for that person to have his/her own bank account and/or a fulfilling activity or career. These steps lead to greater self-esteem and reduce the power imbalance in the rich partner poor partner couple. For example, the less well-off spouse may want to work for a low paying non-profit that is spiritually gratifying, while the other spouse enjoys working as an investment banker or in the family business and supports their lifestyle together.
Wishing you love,