‘Tis the season for interesting family dynamics! Did you tilt your head in confusion with how your family members interacted during Thanksgiving? Did the topic of money come up? Is one of your family members an over-spender or cheapskate? Is one member consistently bailed out of money problems? Well, now’s the time to learn how families work in the realm of money.
Our family relationships frequently become the most meaningful relationships in our lives. Since high-levels of emotions exist within families, people sometimes get cooky out of love or spite. Money is a tool used in these family relationships where some destructive patterns surface.
Do some research and prepare yourself to possibly engage in some meaningful conversations later this month with your family. The below money disorders illustrate how people misuse money in their most important relationships. These are behaviors explained by Brad Klontz, Psy.D. and Ted Klontz, Ph.d. in their book Mind Over Money: Overcoming the money disorders that threaten your financial health. It’s a great read and I recommend you check out the book for yourself (Click here for the Amazon link).
The authors created three categories of money disorders which are discussed separately in a series of three articles on this blog. The first two articles were posted the last two months (3 Money-Worshiping Behaviors and 4 Money-Avoidance Behaviors). Keep reading to learn which money disorder plagues you and your family.
Relational Money Disorders
1) Financial Infidelity – You have trouble trusting your partner when it comes to how you both handle money.
Money is the number one cause of divorce for newlyweds. Money proves emotional. Shame is the most common negative feeling related to personal finances. To keep a loving marriage steady, many people hide their poor money habits from their partner to protect themselves. Yet, this behavior rarely paves the way to a trusting partnership. If you’re finding ways to hide your personal finances from your partner, pursue a solution – like financial therapy – to these issues as soon as possible.
- Hiding from or lying to your partner about purchases
- Opening up secret accounts to stash money away from partner
- Finding ways to look like you’re spending less on items
- Asking others to participate in your lies about money
2) Financial Abuse – You use money to control another person’s behavior.
This is awful to see when it happens. Demanding people use money to control relationships. Some parents control their children by threatening not to support them financially if the kids don’t follow the parents’ intentions. Some heirs prevent a dying loved one from seeing other possible heirs to ensure they’re in control of the estate plan. Some marriages involve one high-earner who controls the relationship. There are bigger dynamics at play when these issues surface. Often some form of therapy or legal action are necessary.
- Parents using kids as the messengers during financial arguments
- Cutting off an elders’ ability to be visited by family members
- One partner threatening to financially destroy the other
3) Financial Enabling – You save loved ones whenever they get into money trouble.
Since the economic collapse in 2008, many parents support their adult children like never before in our history. Baby Boomers have the most discretionary wealth when compared to the generations before them while millennials struggle in the difficult job market during their first adult years. It’s difficult to see loved ones struggling financially but just like the airline’s safety demonstration recommends, “before you help others, you must help yourself.”
- Spending money to showcase your love
- Sacrificing your own well-being to give money to a friend or loved one
- Feeling the need to shield loved ones from experiencing money troubles
4) Financial Dependency – You struggle to support yourself and consistently rely on others.
Some societal pressures cause this money disorder. Many people wait for a certain “Prince Charming” to swoop away all money fears and live happily ever after. People who suffer from this money disorder often lack ambition to pursue their own careers and/or learn about how to manage their personal finances. Many recent divorcees find themselves helpless since they were left in the dark on how to support themselves.
- Frequently calling loved ones to support you when you struggle with money
- Relying on people to solve your issues when feeling lost and helpless
- Overspending while expecting the debt will be taken care of by loved ones
If you’re suffering from any of these financial disorders, there are plenty of resources, support groups, and professionals to assist you as you help yourself. Feel free to contact me and I’d be happy to share strategies that make sense for your unique situation.
Again, if you’re in the mood to learn about more Common Money Disorders, please check out my last two articles:
- 3 Money-Worshiping Behaviors: Article 1 of 3 on Common Money Disorders
- 4 Money-Avoidance Disorders: Article 2 of 3 on Common Money Disorders
Thanks for reading!