Why Everyone Should Get Financially Naked BEFORE Marriage — Not After

kissing coupleDoes love really conquer all?

Not when it comes to money matters, it doesn’t.

As Get Financially Naked states in its opening pages, when it comes to relationships, financial compatibility is as important as emotional and physical compatibility. In fact, it is one of the greatest predictors of whether your relationship will survive long term.

To drive home the point, the book cites a Money Magazine survey that found that money causes tension in 85% of all marriages. This is especially true when one spouse tends to be a spender while the other is a saver.

And so, in their noble quest to lower the national divorce and bankruptcy rates, co-authors Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kedar put together this guidebook that aims to reduce that tension by teaching you and your significant other how to communicate about money by “getting financially naked,” which the authors use as a catch phrase for getting in touch with your inner financial-self and achieving financial self-acceptance and self-knowledge.

It all sounds so Zen-like, doesn’t it?

I know on several occasions I found myself fighting off the urge to sit in the lotus position and say an “Om” or two.

Overview

The authors’ thesis is that true financial harmony can really only be achieved by couples who are willing to open up about their feelings regarding money. Only then, with that mutual knowledge in hand, can couples work to develop an effective collaborative plan.

Get Financially Naked is a very easy read — I finished it in less than three hours — written in layman’s terms and virtually absent of the distracting numbers and calculations that can make some personal finance books difficult to follow. No complex financial tax planning tips or emerging markets index fund mumbo jumbo here.

The advice is practical and straight forward.

A series of short workbook-style questionnaires and quizzes are sprinkled throughout the book to help draw out your thoughts and help you learn about yourself.

The book uses a three-part process to teach you how to interpret your current financial condition, create and sustain a financial plan, and then move that plan forward using the authors’ “five power steps to financial success.”

The book is loaded with double entendres that also make the book entertaining. It’s hard not to smile when the authors implore us that “it’s time to get naked — together,” or that we should “forget size — what really matters is financial compatibility.”

It doesn’t stop there: The authors ask us to engage in “financial foreplay,” and tell us when “It’s time to do it with your partner!” They also describe “yours, mine and ours” bank accounts as a “financial three-way.” Whew!

Is it getting hot in here?

Getting Beneath the Cover(s)Book_Get_Financially_Naked

Thakar and Kedar, who are both Chartered Financial Analyst charter holders armed with MBAs, divide their book into three separate sections.

The first section — entitled “Own Your Finances, Own Your Life” — focuses on the importance of understanding your own ideals regarding money and finances. The authors stress that before you can achieve financial satisfaction with your mate, you must first understand what makes you happy with respect to money.

Because our attitudes about money are one of the key driving forces behind financial success, the authors also guide the reader in uncovering their current financial beliefs by asking a series of questions to help the reader define their financial philosophy. The section concludes with tips that help the reader broach the subject of money with their partner.

The second section, “Talking Money With Your Honey,” features a financial compatibility quiz that helps reveal where you and your partner are compatible — and where potential land mines lie. It also includes an entertaining and informative Q&A called “Are You Dating a Deadbeat?” One potential warning sign: “Does your sweetie have a large but sparsely furnished home?”

The final section, “Time to Get Tactical,” focuses on the science of saving money as a couple. It’s chock full of money rules of thumb and good basic financial advice that newly-communicating couples can use regarding the importance of saving, the power of compound interest, credit card debt pay-off strategies, and the impacts of inflation on money over time.

Although the subject matter of Get Financially Naked is for everybody, one thing you’ll quickly notice is the authors direct the book towards women; in fact, the book is dedicated “to all women.” I found this to be a bit of a distraction, especially in the early part of the book, but that shouldn’t discourage men from reading this book too.

Of course, the book’s ultimate target audience is newlyweds and couples who are seriously considering marriage.

So if you’re looking for a really thoughtful wedding present this spring, consider including Get Financially Naked with the blender, casserole dish, or whatever other gift you ultimately choose from the wedding registry.

Who knows — you just might end up saving a marriage before it even starts.

Photo Credit: hypotekyfidler.cz

Comments

  1. 2

    says

    Good review. For most people, anything that helps a married couple get more on the same page financially is a good thing in my opinion.

    Thanks for the quality review.

    • 3

      says

      @20s: I agree. Communication between partners really is extremely important when it comes to effectively managing household personal finances. Unless everybody is on the same page, it is easy to see how the job can quickly become an exercise in futility and friction in the relationship. The secret, as I note in my “The Basics” category here at Len Penzo dot Com, is to run your household like a business – and communication is a big part of that.

      @Susan: Thank you! That was indeed the case with me and the Honeybee. We had some frank discussions before we got married and we have been on the same page ever since. That has made managing our finances a non-issue now. We run our household like a business: I am the household CEO and she is the household CFO and we each have our own responsibilities, but we work as a team toward a common goal.

  2. 4

    says

    This is an excellent post! What I’ve noticed working with couples is they typically have different financial backgrounds and values, and different levels of financial literacy. When financial literacy is low, as is unfortunately still often the case for women, it’s really important to have a partner who can compensate and gradually teach & involve the other one. If a couple persists with one or both being financially illiterate the prognosis is pretty dicey.

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