Financial coach Terry Chung explains how the way men manage their money often parallels the way they handle their dating life.
Not only do you need money to date, the way we date often reflects the way we are with our money. And just like our dating relationships, we make our relationship with money more complex than it needs to be. Dating is really nothing more than trial and error, handling rejection and closing the sale. Money bears more than a passing resemblance.
Sell Like Hell
When you get into that place of desperation and despair, you get up off the couch, get your clothes dry cleaned, smile like you mean it, go through inane conversation at Starbucks, sometimes even quipping with radiant charm, because you feel you have to sell something. Being horny spurs that innate used car salesman in all of us and we do whatever it takes to scratch that itch.
We can be pretty lackadaisical about money too — as long as we don’t need it. We could care less about short-term savings, long-term investments and figure we can pay the minimum on our credit cards. Life’s good until the fridge is bare and you realize your bank account is plummeting to zero while your credit card balance is sky high. All of a sudden, we’re in desperation and despair mode. It’s time to change out of the old T-shirt and into a shirt and tie, hit the pavement, sweat some blood and do whatever it takes to make some money.
As in dating, we are more than capable of getting what we want when we need it. But we only seem to need it when we’re hanging by our fingernails of the abyss.
The One Night Stand
Sometimes you hit on that magic moment when everything clicks and the connection is effortless. The heart soars, the soul sings and you know it’s just your night. It’s like when you get your first credit card and make your first charge. That was it. You’re a productive citizen, a grown up member of society. But the next morning, you wake up to the horrible breath, an ugly hag and kick yourself for not wearing a condom. Feels a lot like the regret you feel when you see the penalties, fees and 23 percent interest on your credit cards.
Too often we settle for that easy buck, the plastic, the re-fi, the tax refund, and dream of all the responsible things we were going to do with the money, but didn’t, settling for the easy allure of beer, broads and take out. Easy come, easy go, back to zero.
The Grass is Always Greener
Even when someone tolerates your foibles, changes your toothbrushes, cooks for you and takes you out of the Costco clothing bin, you’re thinking in the back of your mind about that “hot chick” in the greener grass section.
That’s the way a lot of us are with annuities and our stock portfolios. The minute there’s a blip in the market, the minute a commentator said, “It looks like we’re in a recession,” we’re calling our broker and asking how we can get out of whatever we have and into something better. We don’t realize that just like a good woman, investments are best when fully matured. You don’t pop the cork at a mere fluctuation. You leave it in a decent mutual fund, contribute regularly and before you know it, that flakey 20-year-old has grown into a woman you can depend on.
The Long Term Non-Commitment
Maybe you’ve been dating for a while and it comes out — the “L” word — and things start to get serious. That’s when you’re at the crossroads and you have to start thinking about the future. For us men, the symptoms of that may be panic, sweats, and long drinking binges. People do the same thing when it comes to death, disability and divorce. Like “commitment,” these are things we’d rather not think about. I know for me, long-term planning was something that was pushed under the rug for years.
Commitment is a huge thing — it means you’re taking responsibility for something other than yourself. I personally, like myself. I’ve known myself for a long time. But then I had kids, and I had to think about life insurance, disability and health insurance. I never even thought about a pre-nup until I got divorced and it would have come in handy. The reason people don’t have insurance and income protection is not because they don’t understand its importance, it’s because like “commitment,” unless we really have to think about it, we’d prefer not to think about it.
There you have it, it’s not rocket science. With dating, as with money, if you’re willing to put yourself out there, think before you jump on something like a horny little humpmeister and do a little long-term planning, you stand a good chance for abundance both in the bedroom and the bank.