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Your Money, Your Past, and Your Financial Future

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A couple’s shared history informs their financial future

Robert and I shared the same significant event when we were younger—both of our fathers were fired. If you’ve ever been fired as an adult or known someone who has, then you know how devastating it is, not just financially but also emotionally and spiritually.

Robert’s dad was fired in 1950. The stress on his family was very great, and to this day, Robert believes that the resulting struggles led to his mother’s death from a heart attack two or three months after.

When my dad was fired, it was a life-changing experience as well. I grew up in New Jersey, just outside New York City. Each weekday, my dad would take the train into the city. It was an hour-and-a-half commute each way.

Like most employees, my dad worked hard to climb the corporate ladder. When an opportunity came up for a head of sales position at a printing company in Oregon, he took it.

After a while, the job of President for this company opened. My father and the CFO were the main candidates. Unfortunately, the CFO won, and one of the first things he did was fire my dad.

I was so angry. My father was a good man who worked tirelessly to provide for his family, and just like that they had fired him.

Who controls your destiny?

I was also saddened because I realized that as an employee, my dad had no control over his destiny. While he went on to do some other things, he never really fully recovered from that event. It was the pinnacle of his career, and from there he plateaued.

It was then and there that I decided I was never, ever going to put myself in that position, and it changed everything for me. I knew that I wanted to own my own business and make my own way. I wanted to control my own financial destiny.

What’s your story?

Why am I sharing all this with you?

Because when it comes to finding the right partner in life, you must know your past to understand what you want from your future. Our stories form who we are, and one of the most important things you can do when it comes to your marriage and money is to talk about your individual pasts and learn from them. Only then can you form the future that you want together.

For Robert and I, we both knew that we wanted to be rich and to own our own business. Going into our life together, we had a shared purpose and philosophy around money.

Can you imagine, given my story and my motivations, if I had married someone who didn’t want these things? It probably wouldn’t have lasted—and if it did, there would have been a lot of work ahead of us as a couple.

Do you really know your spouse’s story?

Granted, not everyone has had the opportunity to talk about money with his or her spouse prior to getting married. Often I find that when couples are struggling, it is because they don’t know the motivations behind their methods. It is important that you start talking about your past to understand why you are who you are today, both as individuals and as a couple. But it’s also important that from there, you begin to discuss how you want the future to be different, if at all.

I promise you, it will make a world of difference.

One great way to start your conversation about money together as a couple is to join the free Rich Dad Community. You’ll get access to the online version of CASHFLOW Classic, and things like e-books and workbooks to help you both understand your views on money and how they affect your relationship today.

Join the Rich Dad Community for free today.

Original publish date: April 09, 2015

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