Money Operating SystemsTM are very simple, very basic, very controlling beliefs about money that influence all financial behaviors. You may have something very sophisticated sounding that you say to yourself or other people NOW, but that’s always on top of something pretty elementary. (See Money OS article here).
Now that you have a basic understanding of common Money Operating SystemsTM, you can begin to see how yours controls your interactions.
From belief flows conversation and then action and then results, nearly 100% of the time in that order. For example, you negotiating your salary with your employer is a conversation, but how you behave in that conversation is a function of your beliefs and feelings about the conversation. That conversation led to an action called the writing of the offer letter and subsequently a result called the numbers on your paycheck.
For the most part, though, we don’t talk to each other about money. We’ve decided it’s a private issue, and we assign a LOT of meaning and significance to it and the conversation is pretty stilted. Mostly, the only person on the planet we talk to about money is OURSELVES.
You might have tactical conversations with your partner, like should we buy that? Or how much do we need to save to have that happen? Or should we ask my mother for money? Those are tactical questions. But we don’t often reveal what we really think is true about money because it’s just the water we’re swimming in.
See, I think it’s TRUE that there’s never enough money, because that is one of my Money OSTM so I’m not going to complain about it because it’s just true. It can’t be changed. And the conversations I will have, before I’ve examined the Money OSTM, are all going to be pulled through that knowing.
Actually, I have two operating systems—one that Money makes me valuable and two, there’s never enough money. And my husband’s OS is “Money is no problem.” You can get intuitively that those two don’t have a ton in common. So a few years ago, before we were married, we were planning our first vacation together,
There we are, planning to be on the beach in Costa Rica, our first vacation together, and I was nervous about the spending and how to bring it up. So I mustered up my courage and a few weeks before the trip I said, “Hey can we talk about the money. How would you like to split the costs?” and he said, after thinking about it for a few minutes, “You just pay what you want and I’ll pay the rest.”
Now, let’s back up and get all of what’s going on behind the scenes there. First, I’m nervous about what the trip is going to cost and he’s already planning it and making reservations and I don’t have any input, so I have no idea what the tab is. And I’m of course worried that I don’t have enough saved to pay for it. And I want to contribute because contributing money and having money makes me valuable.
But for him the money doesn’t really bother him and in fact he’d rather not really talk about it, he’d rather just pay and suck it up. So his response is out of, “Let’s just have this be no problem.” But it left me feeling deflated, frustrated and unimportant.
And that small miscommunication was really just the beginning of all the mental gymnastics we’d have to do to get on the same page about money.
So where are you beginning to see yourself here?
This unraveling of the Money OS is something I teach very comprehensively in my online training which is called Your Rich Retirement Academy, and I get students who produce breakthrough results because we’ll go through and look at and diagram and document all of the systems the student has created to validate the Money OSTM.
And part of your work as a couple is to determine what each person’s Money OSTM is and the related systems of thoughts, conversations and actions that keep it in place.
Examine Your Histories
Here’s where I’m going to ask you to be really honest and humble. I want you to look into your money past and now that you are beginning to understand your Money OS, I want you to determine if it’s something you want to perpetuate.
Personally, as I’ve shared with you, my money history is spotty at best and destructive at worst, so for a while I had to get really unattached to following my own natural instincts when it comes to money. I was re-wiring my money mind.
Here’s the thing: Part of your own Money OS might be a story about money that is entangled with the OS and actually makes it deeper, more of a complete experience
For Example: Many, many mothers have a Money OS that interacts with a story about sacrifice and needing to give up a lot of their own pleasure so their kids can have more than they did.
So what is your story about money? Have you sentenced yourself to a life of hardship and scarcity? What’s the money pain you don’t want to let go of? The thing you don’t want to leave in the past?
When you look at your history with money, look for the results you produced, and ask yourself these questions:
- How did you handle money when you first earned or received it?
- Were you responsible?
- Were you an over-spender?
- Did you save?
- What are your emotions and the obligations you feel are yours around money?
The point of this is to determine whether your Money OS produces the results you want to produce or not. Can you see the futility of being a person whose Money OS leads you to produce results you don’t like, and yet we’re arguing with our spouse or partner that we want to do things our way!
Your Money OS has you want to do the things that will manifest it over and over again, just like me always overspending my high income so I could prove that there was never enough money.
Here’s another example: My husband likes to play the credit card points and bonuses game. I don’t know how much credit card management you do, but there is almost always a credit card company offering HUGE points bonuses if you sign up and charge X thousand dollars within the first 90 days. Sometimes the cards offer higher cash back at grocery stores and gas stations, and other times you get air miles for charging.
I have a visceral aversion to credit cards after my experience with them, I mean I love points programs but I only want a couple of cards at any one time. But Robert loves them. He has 12-15 credit cards open at any given time, but he has a FICO score of near 800 and pays them all off every single month.
When I first figured out how many credit cards he has I flipped out. I was floored and honestly frightened and I wanted him to stop. But I decided to look at it rationally. Because of my money history relative to his, I really just gave in. I stopped complaining and trusted him—because the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.
And we paid for most of our wedding on those cards, paid off the cards, and you know what?
We went to Hawaii for two weeks FOR FREE because of his credit card points program management. It was incredible. So that’s a perfect example of me being aware of both of our money histories and making a conscious choice that would not have been possible before my awareness of the Money Operating SystemTM
Understand Your Partner’s Money Language
Take the time to map out your money systems—understand how your Money OS interacts with and maybe contradicts your partner’s. You really have to have compassion for your partner in this stage—all of their actions in the past have been a function of programming. This isn’t to excuse people of responsibility, it’s simply to acknowledge the power of the programming. You wouldn’t want to be saying, “I told you so!”
I shared with you how my unique blend of Money OSTM team up and give me the experience that I’m always nervous there won’t be enough money, plus I want to contribute because I think money makes me valuable. So now that I’m aware of all of that nonsense programming, I see through the filters to creating a sustainable financial life and going about the process of growing wealth with my husband.
And for Robert, he was managing his finances on his own for 46 years before I met him, and he isn’t necessarily naturally inclined to do things like ask me before applying for another credit card, or making a large personal investment in the investment fund he runs—which is good for business, I mean investors like to see that he’s put his money where his mouth is, but since for him, money is no problem, there wasn’t really a discussion about it ex ante.
So when these kinds of things come up, we take each other’s money languages in stride. I no longer accuse him of trying to keep me in the dark, and he tries to be more forthcoming.
When looking at whether we should make a large, concentrated personal investment in his investment fund, instead of me getting emotional and worried about it, we take on an analytical perspective. What is the history of returns in the fund? And for him, his track record is really good. And then, what benefits will having that amount of personal capital in the fund afford? And when it came down to it, the common wisdom in the industry is that if the hedge fund manager isn’t personally deep in the fund, many investors just won’t consider it. And without investors, there’s no income.
So it takes something for me to be that analytical about my own money, but it brings us to the table together and it creates partnership.
What all of this is talking around is the wildly disparate viewpoints we all have about money. Our programming is quite strong, and in so many cases it’s purely unrelated to our overall personalities.
In fact, I’m asserting that if you and your partner are financially compatible, naturally, it really is just a stroke of luck. Most of us are going to be speaking different money languages when we get together, and it’s a true test of human communication and understanding to have it work.
I believe that if more people understood the Money OSTM and its impacts, financial strife in relationships could almost go away.
I mean, your money doesn’t care what your viewpoint of it is. No matter what you think about it, it still buys the same amount of gas and rent and movie tickets, and it’s still your job to grow it over time so that it can pay you back in the future.
Most healthy financial decisions are universal, so the couples who understand their own Money Operating Systems And take the time to learn how to have the POWER to produce positive results ANYWAY, and align on more objective truths, truly have the ability to come together and not only create financial harmony and peace of mind, but grow their wealth together and enjoy freedom and choice later in life.
In the comments below, share with us: What are the ways you and your honey have learned to talk Money?