Money, and how we manage it, plays an important role in how we live our lives.
So much in our lives is determined by money – what we can afford or not afford to do, how we choose to spend it or not, what we believe our financial situation says about us and how happy we can afford to be – and yet, many of us struggle to handle our finances. Often, these people are defined as careless, but I believe there is more to it than that.
We all need money to live and to pursue our interests, and we all have our own relationship with money which we may not be aware of.
People who spend more than they have may need to prove their worth to others, and those who have it but do not spend it may be plagued by the fear of running out.
How we deal with money says a lot about who we really are. This is something that credit card companies learnt a long time ago. They have been playing on our desires for years and often imply that if only we could have that special holiday or the new kitchen we deserve, we would be happy.
The need to buy things often hides a dissatisfaction with our lives and a lack of purpose which our purchases cannot address.
Money is an uncomfortable topic to discuss with others. I regularly see couples where each partner is critical of how the other spends or doesn’t spend their money.
These arguments can cut very deep as they quickly become about what we believe money says about us.
One of the most helpful tasks I ask couples to perform is that of setting up a family budget to decide how they spend their money – how much do they keep for themselves, who pays for what?
It’s a conversation that starts about money but soon becomes about how they want to live together.
Anna Dallavalle is a counsellor working with individuals and couples and has a private practice in Morpeth. For information, visit www.steppingstonesne.co.uk