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Couples and Money. The Last Taboo. JERROLD LEE SHAPIRO, Ph.D. Professor, Santa Clara University Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Los Altos Father of a daughter and a son Frequent soccer and little league coach. OPENING QUESTIONS.

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slide1

Couples and Money

The Last Taboo

slide2

JERROLD LEE SHAPIRO, Ph.D.

Professor, Santa Clara University

Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Los Altos

Father of a daughter and a son

Frequent soccer and little league coach

slide4

When it comes to money and financial matters, it is common for members of a couple to have differences of opinion

why is this so
WHY IS THIS SO?
  • Greed and Fear
  • Money as a taboo subject
  • The “power” of money in a relationship
  • money as “dirty”
  • lack of knowledge on what money can and cannot bring (i.e. it can’t bring happiness)
  • Guilt and competitiveness
from a couples therapist s perspective
From a couples’ therapist’s perspective…...
  • Money conflicts are poly-determined
  • They often have some factual numerical basis
  • They always have emotional component
  • They reflect beliefs and values
  • They are usually hard to discuss effectively
  • Many couples hold secrets about finances
exercise

Exercise

Make a list of cliché’s about money that were present in your home when you were growing up.

Compare your list with that of your partner.

What are the similarities? What are the Differences?

exercise1
Exercise
  • What’s important about money TO YOU?
  • What’s important about ___________ to you?
  • Is there anything more important than __________ to you?
what s important about money to you
What’s important about money to you?
  • Security
  • Freedom
  • improve my life and that of my family
  • Win a competition
  • Try to demonstrate personal self worth by financial wherewithal
  • Improve the community
exercise2
Exercise

What do you find disquieting about your personal relationship to money? (i.e. saving/spending patterns)?

What do you find disquieting about your partner’s relationship to money?

blocks to resolution of money issues
BLOCKS TO RESOLUTIONOF MONEY ISSUES
  • COMMUNICATION
  • FISCAL
  • PSYCHOLOGICAL
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It’snot just because of the topic.

When it comes to emotional topics,

Menand Women

(fathers and mothers)

communicate

DIFFERENTLY

what differences do you experience
What Differences do You Experience?

What Differences do you see in others?

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MEN UNDERSTAND AND RESPOND TO THEIR WORLD FROM THE OUTSIDE -- IN

MOTHERS DO IT

FROM THE INSIDE -- OUT

gender communication men women
Time limited

Bottom line first

One subject at a time

Shoulder to shoulder

Clear expectations

Primarily informational

Time open

Story first

Many subjects interwoven

Face-to-face

Open expectations

Primarily relational

Gender & Communicationmen women
gender communication styles
Gender Communication Styles

The Corpus Callosum

Women’s (mothers’) unbreakable invisible emotional umbilical cord

Serial problem solving

Men’s based on the life and death implications of hunting and war

slide20

TWO KEY QUESTIONS

  • What’s the topic?
  • Do you want me to listen and reflect what I am hearing or do you want me to fix a problem?
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SO,

What does all this have to do with

FINANCES?

as in all personal conversations
Focus on “facts” and agreements

More reliance on budget

Solving problems by increasing earnings

silence under stress

will tend to blame

Focus on internal reality, changing feelings

Reliance on current needs

identify problems to be discussed

will talk when under stress

will tend to blame

As in all personal conversations

MEN

WOMEN

fiscal concerns
Fiscal concerns
  • Without actual numbers (not to the penny), discussions are all about fantasy
  • Living within one’s means
  • Agreements need to be kept or changed before action
psychological concerns
Psychological Concerns
  • The obvious topic may not be the “REAL” issue
  • Styles with money predate meeting one’s partner
  • What are the “holy needs” for spending or saving? (children, work, appearances???)
what can you do about it
What can you do about it?
  • Determine the type of conversation
  • recognize that conversations about money are rarely just financial. They are also about emotions and values
  • Realize that the emotional and fiscal components must both be addressed and that they are both important

 Recognize that unilateral actions around money may be experienced as BETRAYAL by a partner. Set agreements on budgets; Make changes in agreements prior to acting on them.

fatherhood work by dr shapiro
Fatherhood Work by Dr. Shapiro
  • When Men Are Pregnant (1987; 1993)
  • The Measure of a Man: Becoming the Father You Wish Your Father Had Been (1993; 1995)
  • Becoming a Father (with Drs. Michael Diamond, Martin Greenberg - Eds. 1995; 1998)
  • A Father’s Declaration (Poster) 1997