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If Your Marriage Was A Business. Who Would Be The Chief Financial Officer?

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By Merit Gest

In an informal, unscientific poll of random people, I asked which of the following three issues was the most common cause of frustration in marriage: sex, kids or money. While many scratched their heads and wanted to choose “all of the above” when I pressed for the best option, the overwhelming majority chose money. Not surprising, whether couples have a lot or a little money, it is not unusual that money conversations and decisions can turn sour in a hurry.

First of all, we have to recognize and acknowledge that we come from different backgrounds and have different ideas about money. Some people think “Money doesn’t grow on trees” and others think “Money is there for the taking.” Can you see how Ann who thinks “A penny saved is a penny earned” and John who thinks “Live for today” may face some conflict in their buying decisions if they don’t discuss money clearly together as a couple?

In business, when a company makes a decision that will require a financial commitment, one of the key players involved in the decision making process is the Chief Financial Officer. This is the person whose job it is to know all the numbers and approve or deny requests based on the financial data.

If your marriage was a business, who would be the Chief Financial Officer? Would you and your spouse be Co- CFOs? Do you regularly de-brief each other on the state of your financial affairs?

When I’m working with salespeople they always tell me they want to sell more and make more money. My first question is “more than what? Where are you right now in real dollars?” If they stumble for the answer and can’t give me a clear cut bottom line number, I know the problem is that they just don’t have a grasp on where they are today.

How do you know if you should pull back and tighten the spending belt or when you can splurge on a fancy dinner or vacation without feeling guilty if you don’t know the numbers?

If you don’t take responsibility for knowing your financial reality it can only hurt you. No good can come of being in the dark when it comes to your net worth and bank account. It’s only more frustrating for the spouse who does look at the finances to talk about money with the spouse who does not understand the finances. Now, I’m not assuming it’s always the man who understands the money and the woman who goes out and spends unnecessarily. It can work both ways. It is not the “CFO spouse” whose job it is to explain the financial position to the other; it’s the other spouse’s responsibility to make sure they understand their situation.

Businesses look at their numbers constantly. If they didn’t consider the numbers in all their decisions they would not be around long. When I coach a company’s salespeople, they have to know on a daily basis where they are in relationship to making their sales goals. How can you make any adjustments if you don’t know exactly where you stand?

Business people have to be comfortable talking about money. In our personal lives, this is as important as it is in business. Make sure you set up a regular “date” with your spouse at the end of every month to spend an hour going through the credit card statements and bank statements. Calculate your monthly expenditures and create a budget you can both align on so you know what you can and can’t do before you have to consult each other on money issues and purchases.

Couples who work together as a team when it comes to money are much less likely to argue about money. Money is one of the most common things people argue about so talk about it regularly and ensure there are no surprises by planning, budgeting & setting goals, just like any business would naturally do.

It’s much easier to make good financial decisions for the family when the “CEO & CFO” (you and your spouse!) of the marriage understand the balance sheet.

About The Author: Merit Gest, founder of “Marriage Means Business” married successful business strategies with personal relationships to create a unique approach to making relationships work. As a member of National Speakers Association, Merit has been invited to speak all across America. She has trained hundreds of salespeople to collectively increase sales by millions of dollars across a wide variety of industries, though her most treasured “sale” was on her wedding day. Not a licensed therapist, people relate to Merit because she’s a real woman making her marriage work every day. Merit can be reached at 877-663-2672 or Merit@MarriageMeansBusiness.com. For more information about Merit or Marriage Means Business please visit www.MarriageMeansBuisness.com