“Don't fight about money because after you've said mean things to each other, the amount of money in the bank will be the same – Anonymous.”
Rarely a day goes by that I don't overhear, read, or experience a conversation about money. Often, there are overtones of judgment, discomfort, or resistance depending on the topic.
It might be a character in a book remarking on the appointments of class that create separation.
It might be a friend talking to a friend about their partner's spending habits.
It might be me deciding I'm not doing enough.
Needless to say, our relationship with money shows up in how we think and behave and that includes with others and ourselves. Some of us are more comfortable with risk and the ebb and flow of funds. Others of us are more conservative or careful. Often, opposites attract. This can work until it doesn't if we don't have healthy ways of working together.
Enter the money date.
What is a Money Date?
Money Dates are dedicated times to focus on a money question or challenge either with yourself or others. They are scheduled and have specific intentions like reviewing a budget, talking through a career move, or addressing different ways of money management. The best practice is to start and stop at a pre-designated time, focus on only one topic per date, and make it a routine. It's also advisable to schedule dates at a time when all parties are refreshed and ready to partake in an open-minded discussion.
Why Money Dates Matter
If there’s anything worth investing in, it’s a healthy relationship with money in the household or workplace. Money Dates help to achieve that goal. They’re most effective when all parties fully engage, communicate with respect, and feel that they’re heard and taken seriously. Such involvement fosters collaboration and builds trust. It helps to create a productive atmosphere for your money date, establish agreements ahead of time, and share appreciation.
For example, before my wife and I started Money Dates, I often felt anxious because we didn’t have a great track record with money conversations. We would show up with different needs and perspectives and spend more time defending our own rather than understanding those of the other. I wanted to see where our money was going and felt less confident about financial matters. My wife, used to moving money around, is more comfortable with the flow of money. One or both of us would end up in tears or get frustrated with not feeling heard, understood, or appreciated. Though these challenges weren’t only about money, they flagged the need for deeper work.
How Money Dates Work:
The following is an overview of how money dates work. To learn more, grab your own personal guide and instruction video here.
Schedule one hour of time when you’re rested and free of distractions. If the others you invite to the date back out, then keep the date with yourself. Set an alarm if it helps to keep you on track. I recommend scheduling money dates before or after recurring commitments on your calendar, such as going to church or watching your favorite show. This helps build the habit.
Set clear intentions and goals for the date. If there are too many topics to discuss, pick one that seems like a priority and assume that you’ll need to schedule more Money Dates to cover the others. Start and end on time and be sure to schedule the next one.
Bring chocolate and candles or something else along that represents your rich life. Take a few minutes before you jump in to appreciate one another or yourself for taking this time and to set some agreements on how you will work together. When done, thank one another for showing up and making the effort even if it feels like you have a way to go until it feels comfortable and productive.
Sample Money Date Agreements
If you're on the fence about investing in money dates, try starting with an agreement between you and your partner or you and yourself such as the following.
I (we) agree that everyone deserves to be heard and has something valuable to bring to the table.
I (we) agree that we want to create a place of psychological safety around a topic that can be rife with conflict and stress, so we commit to listening and learning from one another and having a plan for when we need a break.
Once you have that agreement in place, you can brainstorm (during a money date 😉) what that looks like for the next few months, year, or lifetime.
Note: If you want to try your own money date, grab my guide and instruction video to get started. It will be one of the best investments you will ever make!