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Learning financial intimacy: What's your money type?

How financially intimate are you?

The Heart of Money: A Couple's Guide to Creating True Financial Intimacy

Money may not buy you love, but it can buy a lot of heartache. Breakups, divorces -- cash, or lack thereof, can cast a very dark cloud over many people's relationships. So how do we restore the warm embrace of financial intimacy to our lives? To answer that question, we're joined by Deborah Price. She's a former financial adviser and now CEO and founder of The Money Coaching Institute, and the author of "The Heart of Money: A Couple's Guide to Creating True Financial Intimacy."

"Financial intimacy is about learning how to communicate about money in a healthy way and fully disclose and be vulnerable and safe, and not something that many couples actually feel," says Price. "It's amazing how much emotion comes up when people speak about money and often there are a lot of feelings that we don't express."

Where do those feelings come from? Price says from an early age, we begin to experience money mostly in the context of our parents. But because money is such a taboo subject, when we hear or watch our parents, we often see that there is a lot of emotion, sensitivity, even anger of stress, associated with money. "Money patterns and behaviors become hard-wired in the brain at early ages and then we express that conflict as adults. But for kids whose parents fought a lot about money or didn't talk about it, how do you attain necessary financial intimacy skills?

"I see couples who are really, really skillful smart people in every area of their lives, seem to malfunction when it comes to money," says Price. "Part of what [The Money Coaching Institute does] is we teach people how to begin to navigate those waters in a healthy way so that they can keep their relationships together."

Price says there are eight "money types" or archetypes in money coaching:

Innocent -- The Innocent takes the ostrich approach to money matters. Innocents often live in denial, burying their heads in the sand so they won't have to see what is going on around them. The Innocent is easily overwhelmed by financial information and relies heavily on the advice and opinions of others. Innocents are perhaps the most trusting of all the money archetypes because they do not see people or situations for what they are.

Victim -- Victims are prone to living in the past and blaming their financial woes on external factors. Passive-aggressive (prone to acting out their feelings in passive ways rather than through direct action) in nature, Victims often appear disguised as Innocents, because they seem so powerless and appear to want others to take care of them. However, this appearance is often either a conscious or subconscious ploy to get others to do for them what they refuse to do for themselves. Victims generally have a litany of excuses for why they are not more successful, and they are all based on their historical mythology. That is not to say that bad things haven't actually happened to the Victim.

Warrior -- The Warrior sets out to conquer the money world and is generally seen as successful in the business and financial worlds. Warriors are adept investors, focused, decisive, and in control. Although Warriors will listen to advisers, they make their own decisions and rely on their own instincts and resources to guide them. Warriors often have difficulty recognizing the difference between what appears to be an adversary and a worthy opponent.

Martyr -- Martyrs are so busy taking care of others' needs that they often neglect their own. Financially speaking, Martyrs generally do more for others than they do for themselves. They often rescue others (a child, spouse, friend, partner) from some circumstance or other. However, Martyrs do not always let go of what they give and are repeatedly let down when others fail to meet up to their expectations. They have formed an unconscious attachment to their own suffering.

Fool -- The Fool plays by a different set of rules altogether. A gambler by nature, the Fool is always looking for a windfall of money by taking financial shortcuts. Even though the familiar adage "a fool and his money are soon parted" often comes true, Fools often win because they are willing to throw the dice; they are willing to take chances. The Fool is really a combination of the Innocent and the Warrior. Like the Innocent, the Fool is often judgment impaired and has difficulty seeing the truth about things. An adventurer, the Fool gets caught up in the enthusiasm of the moment, caring little for the details.

Creator/Artist -- Creator/Artists are on a spiritual or artistic path. They often find living in the material world difficult and frequently have a conflicted love/hate relationship with money. They love money for the freedom it buys them but have little or no desire to participate in the material world. The Creator/Artist often overly identifies with the interior world and may even despise those who live in the material world. Their negative beliefs about materialism only create a block to the very key to the freedom they so desire.

Tyrant -- Tyrants use money to control people, events, and circumstances. The Tyrant hoards money, using it to manipulate and control others. Although Tyrants may have everything they need or desire, they never feel complete, comfortable, or at peace. The Tyrant's greatest fear is loss of control. Tyrants are often overdeveloped Warriors who have become highly invested in their need for control and dominance.

Magician -- The Magician is the ideal money type. Using a new and ever-changing set of dynamics both in the material world and in the world of the Spirit, Magicians know how to transform and manifest their own financial reality. At our best, when we are willing to claim our own power, we are all Magicians. The archetype that is active in your life now is the place you need to grow from. By understanding your own personal mythology and the history behind your current money type, you will become conscious of patterns and behavior that are preventing you from having the relationship with money you desire.

Learn more about these Money types. Price says to improve your own financial intimacy, you should first understand yourself relative to money, and do some exploration.

About the author

David Lazarus is an American business and consumer columnist for the Los Angeles Times.
The Heart of Money: A Couple's Guide to Creating True Financial Intimacy
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