The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on September 13, 1999 · Page 58
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 58

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Monday, September 13, 1999
Page 58
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Page 58 article text (OCR)

THE PALM BEACH POST SEPTEMBER 13, 1999 v . . J J r.. - , . : - 1 V ? ... - 5 K Illustration by MARK BUZEKStaff Artist 1 n LuJ LJ VuntluJI Lai How couples can get their financial act together spend, spend, spend. In addition, money is a natural thing to fight about. One reason is all-but-inevitable personality conflicts. Some people are driven to focus on financial security; others are motivated by immediate gratification, or self-esteem, or power. A' second reason is that there's never enough money for everything. But couples can get their financial act together. Most of them do, more or less. It takes communication and a willingness to learn, Jetton said. It also requires each partner to be flexible and committed. Jetton, a planner with Financial Vision Advisors, offers these tips: Avoid extremes. You're asking for trouble if you keep all your accounts and spending decisions separate or if you merge everything and let one partner make all the decisions. Work out a common vision. "Everyone struggles with balancing the wants and demands of today with goals, dreams and needs for the future," Jetton said. "Financial planning deals with trying to create that balance, through skills, new tools and understanding." A warning: YouH have problems if you don't make room for each partner's goals and dreams. Set aside some happy money for each partner. "Everyone needs some money they can spend without being accountable to their spouse," she said. "This reduces arguments over the trivial, so you can stay focused on the big picture." Don't shoot the messenger. "Whoever is assigned the money tasks has the unfortunate job of relating the state of affairs to the other spouse," Jetton explained. But the responsibilities of money management must be shared. "Until we accept that fact, we continue to blame others and shape ourselves, which allows us to stay unaccountable and unfulfilled." Don't dawdle. "The truth is that there is never a convenient time to save," Jetton said. "Our expenses can and will expand to fit or exceed our paychecks." Don't sabotage yourself. You can do that with credit cards or by rolling along without an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses. You can do it by lack of communication, which means you have no shared goals, or by succumbing to the blame-and-shame, game. Jetton cites one other common pitfall: believing that more money is the answer and that money will solve your problems. By Hank Ezell Palm Beach Post-Cox News Service Couples face the same problems as single people when they start trying to organize their financial lives. But it's a lot more complicated and often more emotional when two people have to agree on the outcome. "Most of us don't know our own philosophy of spending, goals and saving when we hook up," observed certified financial planner Elizabeth Jetton. "Much less do we have the ability to understand our partner's." Here's how common the conflicts are: In a recent survey, 29 percent of couples said they frequently disagree about spending and saving. Only 9 percent said they argue about their romantic or sex lives. That shouldn't be a surprise. A lot of young people haven't given much thought to financial affairs. "Most of what we believe about money we've gathered unconsciously," Jetton said. "We learned early from experience, as opposed to learning by being taught." We got a lot of conflicting messages, too. Parents told us to be careful with our money. Friends told us to have a good time now. The me dia, including the advertising industry, told us to

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