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#26 How to get on the same (financial) page as your partner

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We all have different ideas about money. And that can make it tough to talk about, especially with your partner. In this episode, Ryan and Terry tackle ‘the money talk’ and how to avoid the big pitfalls that only fuel the vicious cycle of tension and conflict that can occur.

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Ryan: Hey listeners. Welcome back to the passive income projects. We’re kicking off a short series on money and relationships. This is a three-part series, right?

Terry: It’s something we’ve been meaning to do for a while. We tend to get a lot of messages from one half of a couple that says guys, loving this content, loving this right into it, but just kind of get my partner on board.

Can’t get them to have the conversation. What could I do? And, we haven’t had a great =answer other than maybe just trying to get him to listen to the podcast. But really the question is how do we open up the conversation? How do we even just open that person’s mind to the possibility that working on money together could be a worthwhile pursuit for a couple,

Ryan: when you don’t have a partner on board, you always feel like you’re pulling in different directions, right? Like trying to run a marathon with a massive headwind. And that headwind is your partner. Like your money. Life is a long journey that you’re trying to master over time and build up the finances and investing and all of those things. You don’t need your partner getting in the way

Terry: I think it would a bit like you’re in a boat with your partner and you both rowing really hard. You’re rowing in different directions, but actually. can’t agree on where you’re going, because you’ve never had the discussion. Yeah. Yeah. So you both work in really, really hard in an effort to get somewhere, but it’s almost like the, how to Euro one way, the more, the other person Rose the other way.

Look, you’re working so much harder than other people, but you’re getting nothing for it. And the thing is, I think people will kind of fall into three camps when it comes to the money. side of things I reckon you’ve got people that continue to act like they’re single and they apply an individual game.

So it’s just like, we have separate money laws, but we try to live together everywhere else. And then you’ve got people that have tried and failed to make this work and they’ve just kind of gone. We can’t figure it out. So let’s just enjoy ourselves. And let’s just put this off for future medial future, other than the handle.

And usually there’s like these fantastical stories, like it’s okay, we’ve got an inheritance coming. That’s going to fix it. Or it’s all right, you’re going to get a promotion and then more money. And then all of a sudden everything’s going to be fine. These are kind of these set active stories that we talk about that we allow ourselves to be deluded and push away the psychic pain we’re having to deal with.

Ryan: Yeah. I think we’re all guilty of this at different times. I know I am like, I’ve always sort of had this confidence in myself to earn really good money in the future. And I’ll give myself permission to spend money now that haven’t yet earned. Yeah. So it’s like a confidence in myself, but you’re right so true for people knowing that there could be money coming from elsewhere or thinking that it will, it’s seductive.

Terry: I think that’s why most people go these two ways where it’s like, All right. We can figure it out. So we’re just going to play individual games and work really hard in our own ways. Or we’re just going to put it off for the future. I will just get by now and figure it basically, but there’s a third way.

And that’s, going to be the purpose of this whole series, how can you work together with your partner on money and actually enjoy it? Actually make it fun because the truth is like we say, you can do a lot less work, have a lot less drama and achieve a lot more. If you can answer this question, how can we get on the same page and how can we work together on our finances and how do we stick on the path that we’ve chosen together and not get pushed off at by others. And that’s really what we’re going to be covering in this series. So three things.

Ryan: Yeah, absolutely. And like we say this with the people that we work with, they do get on this path, they go on this course together and then they’ve got other people having their opinions, sharing what their understanding of things are.

And pushing that on them. It is hard for people to stay on a course when you’ve got people around, you questioning everything that you’re doing. So that’s going to be really valuable. Why do you think this is so important to dive into right now?

Terry: Well I reckon there’s three headwinds that are making it very hard to get this right. And so if you’re not working together as a team  you’re gonna really struggle to get ahead. And the first is economic. So wage growth has been flat for ages here in Australia and around the world. The middle class is  shrinking, basically at the same time in Australia, we’ve got rising household costs, which means there’s less fun money to go around.

And so we’ve got to be smarter about the money that we’ve got to use. And at the same time that’s happened. There’s more ways to pay more ways to get what you want right now. And as a result where this on-demand society, you know, we’ve been conditioned to get it when we want it right now.

Ryan: I think this is huge because this is increased this gap between your spender and your saver in a relationship. I know Peter Thornhill talks about the spender and the saver. I think he says something along the lines of, you know, when you’ve got two spenders it’s okay. At least you’re on the same page.

And when you go to savers, that’s great because you’re going to break ground and move forward. But when you’ve got to spend a and a saver, you’ve got friction. And right now the gap between those two is just getting greater and greater because you don’t even need the money. You can have a credit card, got that tapping, go at your fingertips.

And so it’s easier for the spender to be a big spender. Like, I don’t think this was a big problem, 30, 40, 50 years ago. And not like it is now because there’s more of a survival instinct behind it, where it was like you had to work together for there to be a future, but that’s not as true. Now the minimum standard of living is so much higher and credit is so available that it’s so much easier for that gap to grow and that’s caused even greater friction.

Terry: And it’s not that this is wrong or bad, it’s just doesn’t help you. And so you’re working really hard, but you’re not necessarily getting anywhere. So there’s, this four phases is obtained development first, proposed by this guy called Bruce Tuckman, who was a psychologist. And he’s talks about stage one being forming the team stolen.

Then norming and performing. And so what happens is a lot of couples get to the point where they form a stall and they kind of get to know where their boundaries are. And then I get to this norming phase, but the norms are not really healthy norms. They’re like we said, before, they falling into one of these two camps where it’s like, we just go on our individual track and live these lives.

Well, we just, we kind of work it out. We can’t close the gap, we never get to the performing stage. And that’s what this whole series is going to be about. How do we get past the norming phase into the performing phase of team development? Yeah,

Ryan: nice. I like it. You bring some of that coaching background in elite sport to some couples by the sounds it’s super

Terry: applicable.

A couple is the original team. The first team was a couple that got together and said, let’s do this. Let’s make another person. Let’s build a family. And then the family unit expands and we’ve got. You know, society. And yeah, there’s some stuff that we can take from that.

And what we’ve done is bring some of that background into this. We’ve talked to our members, we’ve observed what works with our members. We’ve worked with families now all over Australia and couples all over Australia to actually close this gap. A lot of these families, there’s a span there and there’s a Siva in my family.

There’s a spinner and there’s a saver. We still make it work. This is where I would disagree with Thornhill, where he pretty much says you’re fucked. If you go to spinner and cyber, I think that that’s lazy thinking by Peter. I don’t think you solve that problem. So he’s just said, simplistically, you’re either this or that and bad luck.

So I would disagree with their paper level. Yeah, the problem we’ve been solving here for a couple of years. And so we want to bring you the best lessons from that. And we want, also want to talk about our own experiences personally. And we’ve also pulled some groups, some fire groups and some sort of post personal finance groups to the stand, how people are thinking about the challenges I have, and we’re going to be addressing some of those challenges throughout the course of the story episodes.

Ryan: Nice. And like seeing people in that performing stage, like I can think of a few couples off the top of my head that are just. At paper for me, like when they’ve got the same future they’re working towards, it’s shared money.  It’s a really a joint mission. They know that life they’re building.

I know this is true for Britain. As soon as we felt really launched in the future that we’ll building, then it just became easy.

Terry: It’s fun.

Ryan: I think as soon as you say that money underwrites, a life that you want to build and that future that you can see in your mind, then it just becomes compelling. Like it’s exciting to be able to sit down and make it a project together.

Like we can see people when they reach that performing stage. And you can just say that it is fun for them. They enjoy it. They come together and they’re excited about what they’re building.

Terry: Well, it’s progress isn’t it. Yeah. Talking about progress and what you’re going to be doing, and it gives you a sense of purpose every day.

You’re not just getting up and going. Oh yes. We’re got to get by again today. I guess we’re just going to get through. That’s not exciting in any way, but if you know, month in, month out that actually we are getting ahead and we’re actually moving toward that goal. It’s happening for us right now. It’s not a goal.

It’s not something it’s not a fantastical story. We’re creating about the future. We’re building our future every day with every choices we make and these conversations help us. Yeah, it doesn’t happen overnight, but it does help. And as

Ryan: you say, like you have to build that evidence for yourself. You have to build that identity as a couple, to know that you are the type of people that can do that can create that.

Terry: Yeah, that happens over a number of conversations and our interactions. You got have the right structures in place as well. And that’s all the things we’ll be going to be talking about in this series.

Ryan: So what are we going to cover specifically in this episode? What are we diving into?

Terry: So in this first episode, we’re going to talk about how do we get on the same page? How do we open that conversation with our partner to be able to start that journey?

We’re going to be talking about the number one reason why we tend to get pushed back.

If we’re trying to have a conversation about money with our partner, where that pushback comes from and how to get around it, because if we can’t get around the pushback, we can’t have the conversation. So we’re going to be understanding that first. And there’s a really simple mindset shift that we’re going to be talking about to, I guess, change the way we’re interacting in that moment and to reduce the odds that that’s going to happen.

once we’ve done that, we’re going to talk about how do we actually then have the conversation. So basically how do we reduce the odds that we’ll get pushed back? And then if we do manage to progress past stage one into the conversation, how do we then actually have it? And there’s a really simple model actually from positive parenting.

And it’s a framework that you can basically structure that conversation around and it gives you some really good boundaries to sit within and to guide the way that conversation needs to play out. And we’re going to give you some rules and some tools as well.

Ryan: I’d imagine timing’s a big thing here as well.

Terry: Yeah. So when we were talking about that timing, so how do you manage yourself in the conversation first? And then how do you manage the other in the conversation and then actually the conversation itself. And at the end of this episode, we’re going to be giving you a couple of tools to use. So if you want a guide, there’s going to be a guide off the back of this, that you can take all the learnings from this discussion, and then you can go and apply them.

Ryan: Yeah. And this isn’t saying you’re trying to manipulate the other person. It’s more, you’re creating the conditions for a healthy conversation, right?

Terry: Actually, it’s the ultimate empathy. You’re thinking so much about their situation beforehand. And this is the getting into it a little bit. Now, a lot of the problem that we get into in these situations is thinking, well, I just need this to happen.

And we’re really discounting other person’s experience. So. It’s the opposite of manipulation. You’re trying to figure out how’s this person going to respond? How would they be thinking and feeling in this moment and how do I need to be, to make sure that we’re staying above the line. We’ve got those two Brian’s, we’ve got the Gollum, Brian, and then we’ve got the human sort of Yoda.

Brian, how do we stay out of Gollum? How do we stay in Yoda? And that’s really what we’ve been discussing. How do we stay above that lawn?

Ryan: Nice. Good stuff.

Terry: So if you struggle with this conversation in the past, these skills are super learnable and you can pick it up pretty quick too. So if you just follow some of these rules, some of these tools we’re going to discuss, you’re going to find that you’re going to be able to actually open up this conversation.

And if you’re single right now, you might be thinking, well, this is probably not going to apply to me. There’s going to be a point we’re going to have to have a money conversation with somebody, and it’s better to know how to have it beforehand than to have it in file, and then try to figure it out afterwards.

So even if you’re not in a relationship right now, I can promise you this conversation is going to be one of the most important, valuable you’ll have. And you might as well figure out what to avoid beforehand.

Ryan: Yeah. If you’re on the first, second or third date, you probably want to think about this now. Yeah. That conversation might be coming up pretty soon. Things can happen pretty quick.

Terry: Definitely. Yeah.

Ryan: Okay. So that first point you said, so getting pushed back, where does that come from?

Terry: Usually it comes from you, you actually create the back in the way you approach the conversation. And, you know, I learned this from my mother.

My mother bless her soul is steadfast Catholic, and she is very ideological about the five. And she wanted it so badly for us that she pushed it on us so much. So we actually went the other way. None of us are Catholic. And a lot of it is because of the why that kind of happened. So when you push, when you want something really, really bad, it will continue to elude you because what will happen is other people will push back.

It’s almost like that Newtonian law, right? For every action, there’ll be an equal and opposite reaction. So if you’re pushing really, really hard, you’ll get the same force going the opposite way. And so if you come into a conversation about money in this way, where you’re trying to push a point, you’ve got your agenda and you need to get it across. It’s inevitable that you will get this pushback.

Ryan: Almost feels like your freedom or your control, your choices being crowded out. Yeah. When someone else is doing that to you, it’s you pushing in that’s their reaction to your push.

Terry: [00:12:45] Exactly. Yeah. And so their pushback is their message to you that I’m in control of my own life thank you and I’ll make my mind up without you telling me what to do. And it’s called reactants. There’s a great book by Jonah Berger called catalyst. And the whole book basically is about how to change somebody’s mind. And this is the biggest point in his book. And the first point in his model is reduce reactants.

Cause if you come at the conversation the wrong way you create that resistance. And then it’s very, very hard for you to have the conversation after that. It’s now not a conversation. It’s now a tennis match. My perspective, you all perspective my perspective, your perspective, and someone’s going to win. And if it turns into a tennis match, you might as well just walk away.

Ryan: [00:13:27] Something I’ve definitely learned, and this is definitely true in our relationship is you don’t tell somebody they need an umbrella when there’s a storm. No, it’s not like the weather. Because if there is a storm at the time, it’s the last time to say, Hey, you should try this. You should do this.

Terry: [00:13:47] Exactly.  No, you’re right. Like it’s less so about solving the problem here. And it’s more so about understanding. So instead of telling them ‘this is what you should do’. Maybe understand the problem. First, this is where that mindset shifts becomes really important. You know, we get into these loops, these really destructive loops where we’re trying to have the conversation. It doesn’t work. We try to have it again a different way and It doesn’t work. Work. And we don’t know, but we’re kind of creating these conditions every time. And every time we do it, we start to accumulate the evidence. So we can’t have the conversation. So we just have to tell ourselves a story that we just can’t talk about money. And, it’s just not something we can discuss.

Then we get into that norming phase we talked about earlier and we just go, okay. So I guess what we’re going to do is nothing. We’re just going to kind of reactively deal with money or whole life or. We’ll just leave separate laws financially, and we’ll have this mental accounting battle and resentment that happens internally every day.

Ryan: [00:14:37] And this is a dangerous place to be just flies today. There’s a place that just doesn’t need to exist. Yeah. Like, uh, it’s yours, it’s mine. And then you pay for this. I pay for that. And there’s always this checks and balances going on between who’s ahead. And who’s behind it basically. And it doesn’t even have to be at that conscious level of awareness. Like, even if you’re not actively thinking about it, there’s still this elephant in the room, which is we’re on our separate paths and maybe you’re ahead and on behind. Yeah.

Terry: [00:15:08] Yeah. if we haven’t already made it clear, our view is that you should manage your money together. We don’t think it’s smart to be separate with your finances in any way. It doesn’t mean that you can’t spend your own money and have your own money within your plan, but you should manage the whole thing together.

There’s that great. South African proverb. It’s like, you want to walk fast, walk alone. You want to walk far walk together. Humans did not get to the top of the food chain alone. They got there together. And so we can make this work. It’s just communication and collaboration that has to happen.

Otherwise we do get into these vicious loops and then eventually we create this apathy where it’s just like, wow, this is our lot in life. We just have to accept it. And it might be hopefully one day the government will go after us. That’s a shocking place to be. You don’t really get to determine what that quality of life looks like.

Somebody will choose it for you. So if I haven’t made the pain of inaction really clear, I want you to really think about it because it’s a real cost to inaction here and not figuring this stuff out. And you have to start with you

Ryan: [00:16:03] and I’d sit down and jot that down too. Make a list. What is the cost of not taking action on this right now? What’s the cost of that? What’s it cost of that? Like you’ve talked about in previous episodes, really getting down to what is the ripple effect of not doing this in the future and what does that mean for us? Like you really want to be quite disgusted with that potential future. Yeah. So you choose a different path

Terry: [00:16:26] and your change has to be you because like the story we tell ourselves, like I said before is like, we just kind of have conversations about it. There’s another story. That’s a really insidious one that even if you’re not saying it directly, you’re still communicating it and telegraphing it in every interaction. And that is, you’re too dumb to get this. I’m the one who gets money and you don’t get it. And, um, in reality, I hate to break it to you, but you’re missing something they’re not missing it.

You’re missing. How do we have this conversation constructively? Cause that’s the first problem that we’ve got to solve the money ones. Irrelevant until you can solve this one first. So whatever you’re saying that they’re missing is what you’re missing. I know that that’s going to be a hard to cop. And I’m saying this with love, because I want you to listen listeners.

I’m saying this as a patient in the bed beside you that’s already had the illness. Yeah. This is where I’ve been. And I know what this feels like. And it’s a helpless place to be, but the change starts with you.

Ryan: [00:17:17] I don’t know how to, I definitely know it too. And what I can promise you is you can get to the other side, sometimes Britt comes to me and she says, is it time to do our money map?

Terry: [00:17:25] Yeah I was at your place one day and, she said that I was like, who is this?

Ryan: [00:17:31] I was in shock. I couldn’t believe it.

Terry: [00:17:33] Hey It’s the same with Elise and I, same thing. We really enjoy the conversation now. And we take a lot of pleasure in it because when modeling what we want our kids to see and feel about money, we’re modeling for them. Mum and dad are having a conversation about what do they want to do with their money? And there’s no blobs, there’s no fights. And I’m not saying that we don’t argue about money by the way, we continue to argue about money, but we argue better. Have constructive conversations about it. Look, there are times where we get into a bit of a loop, but we can come back to what’s true for us and we can get ourselves out of these loops.

And one of the questions I asked in that fire group was like, we always have good conversations about money all the time. Not many people agree with that statement. So I don’t want you to think that it’s this like happy go lucky. We’re never going to argue about money. No, no, no, no. You’re going to argue much better.

Ryan: [00:18:17] Yeah. You’re at least going to be problem-solving in those arguments, you’re going to be falling forward rather than just playing tennis,

Terry: [00:18:23] but it is, there is hope I can do it and I can change. And if you can change that anyone can change it. Like I said, it’s a great place to be when you can actually be looking forward to these conversations and enjoying it and knowing that your kids are going to grow up with a different idea about money than you had. They’re going to see money as an opportunity. They’re going to see it as a resource, something they can use. They’re not going to see it as something to fear and it starts with you.

Ryan: [00:18:44] And that’s very different from a lot of what we’ve experienced. Haven’t we add generation.

Yeah. Okay.

Terry: [00:18:49] This is why I had so much fear around money because all I saw and heard was argument, conflict, tension, avoidance sign pattern. So what did I do? Avoid money was a monster for me. And that’s why a lot of us get into that pattern where we’re like, we can’t think clearly about money because our nervous system is just. Absolutely jacked thinking that it’s dangerous. We don’t get to access the smart part of our brain so we can train ourselves out of this.

Ryan: [00:19:14] Yeah. Your golem, Brian.

Terry: [00:19:15] Exactly.

Ryan: [00:19:16] In fact you look a bit like Gollum, char.

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Ryan: [00:20:35] Ok so what’s the mindset shifts that you talked about?

Terry: [00:20:39] We need to think about being less like Stalin, less like a dictator, and we need to think more like being Socrates, like a philosopher. What does a philosopher do? A, philosopher’s trying to understand, trying to get to the truth. Doesn’t care. Who’s right or wrong. Just sakes the truth, whereas Stalin has his agenda and he’s trying to manipulate and coerce and control people to make it happen. So less like styling, more like Socrates, less coercion and control, more curiosity, more open communication.

If he can take that simple mindset shift into the conversation, regardless of anything else we discuss here, you’re going to be better. That’s going to be a better conversation if you think that way. And if you think about how Socrates is in those sort of Socratic dialogues, what does he do most of the time?

Asks questions. And what’s the insight behind that seek first to understand before being understood. If you can learn to do that and train yourself to do it, you will be absolutely floored by how people open up in response to you. I had a very crucial conversation recently, and that’s a book that I would recommend that you read crucial conversations.

And for me, I went into that conversation and I said to myself, you will do nothing in this conversation, but ask questions. And I’m asking these questions and a certain point in the conversation, the person turns around to me and says, well, how would you like me to be, what do you need from me? And why do they ask that?

Because that’s why I asked them. And if I had went into the conversation saying, I need this from you guess what that is, that’s pushing that’s me. That’s my agenda. And what do I get pushed back now? We’re trade. Whereas when the person says to me and asked me the question, how do you want me to be now? I have permission.

Now we’re in a conversation where we’re creating a contract between each other that’s constructive conversation. So if you can only do this one thing and you want to a bit of a hack stock going into conversations where you think you’ve got a point to proof and tell yourself, I’m only going to ask questions in this conversation and just see what happens.

You might struggle in the beginning, but what you’ll find is you actually get pretty good, pretty quick.

Ryan: [00:22:32] And the tone, any of those questions is so critical as well. Isn’t it? Like you said, curiosity before. It has to be a really curious question, not a judgmental hypothetical or rhetorical. It needs to come from the right place. It has to be, as you said, it’s going to be a level of empathy that comes with it and curiosity.

Terry: [00:22:50] Yeah. And that’s a great pickup because the meaning of our conversation so much more of it is the tonality. So if I ask the question in a way that’s like a loaded question, everyone knows that. But he asked the question honestly, to understand people know that as well. And so, you know, when you’re doing it, when it’s a loaded question, you know, when you’re leading people down a path. And so to that, I think that’s a great point to make. Don’t just ask questions in this way. Like a lawyer pushing you towards this way, you say, yeah, I got ya. That’s not what you want to do.

You actually just want to be understanding. We don’t need to be solving this problem in one conversation, we may solve it in a series. So your only goal here is to start it, open that up and understand from the other person’s perspective what’s going on for them.

Ryan: [00:23:30] Yeah. So that’s a simple scorecard you can have for yourself isn’t it like basically make sure there’s more questions than statements.

Terry: [00:23:36] Yep. How many questions versus statements. And also the other one is how much was I talking versus talking? And if you just went into conversations, just tracking those two metrics mentally in your head, you’re going to start to change while you’re alive.

Ryan: [00:23:46] Uh, like this has probably been a game changing insight for me in a coaching capacity, because you start to say that people are talking things they’re controlling the conversation, but they’re not the orchestrator of that conversation is always the person with the right questions. They’re directing where things are heading.

Terry: [00:24:03] Yeah, you’re saying we’re playing on this field. The question determines the field. And so if you get good at asking the right questions, you can keep people on the right field, a place where they feel safe. And that’s probably a really crucial point here is that we need psychological safety. That’s what keeps calling me in his cage and it keeps you ordering charge. You need to make sure that those questions are keeping people safe and that’s like you said, the tonality, but also the content of those questions are people willing to go there.

But that’s just a really simple way to kind of start to think about how to be in these conversations, because we can tell you what to do, but if you don’t know how to be, then you can do the right things and be the wrong way and get the wrong result.

Ryan: [00:24:39] Yeah okay. That’s powerful. And then what are we doing?

Terry: [00:24:42] The first thing you need to do is manage yourself. And part of that, this mindset shift. There’s another part of that. We actually think about this conversation before it happens. So the first thing you need to do is work on me first and that’s all about letting go.

Basically letting go of the result, letting go of the idea that you know, and letting go of your fears around this conversation. This one’s really important. I think a lot of us, we have that scar tissue. We actually go into this conversation, telegraphing danger, cause we’re actually afraid that we’re getting into conflict.

I’ve done this all the time with my partner. I go into that conversation. I’m saying the right words, but my body language is telling them that something’s wrong. And I pick up on the body language and they start to feel threatened, even though I’m saying the right words. So if you don’t manage ourselves here and work on us first, we can go into this conversation and send all the wrong messages, even though we’re not intending.

So the first part of that is really about letting go of our own fear of change. And this is going to sound weird, but if you felt like you’ve been carrying the burden the whole time, but the money situation, there’s a part of you that’s created that. And there’s a part of you that knows that and locks the safety of that sort of status quo, which means there’s also going to be another party that feeds the change.

I know that’s going to sound weak cause you’re saying no, that’s what I want. I want us to work on this together. You know how things work as they are. You don’t know how they work in another way. And the brain is very good at conflating or linking, certainly with safety and uncertainty with threat. So there’s a part of your brain that feels threat about what it could look like. What’s going to happen. How are we going to work it out? And you don’t know the answers. That’s the unknown, that’s a dangerous place to base. And if you can’t manage that, you’re gonna be telegraphing that sort of, that danger in the conversation.

Ryan: [00:26:19] Okay. So how do you manage that?

Terry: [00:26:20] So what you would do is you would ask yourself what would be the worst case scenario here, if this conversation bombed and it went the worst way ever, what would happen? And I want you to play it out in your mind, like, write it down, write down this whole worst-case scenario and say, well, this could happen. Then this could happen. Then this could happen. And once you created the worst case scenario, you’re going to be in the feeling part of you. And they’re going to be in that sort of fear and threat place.

Then I want you to get into the thinking part of your brain and I want you to ask yourself:, what are the actual odds that, that all those things would happen? How likely is this actually, and that’s really important because it gets your blood out of the Gollum part of your brain back into the Yoda party of Brian. So you can think a bit more clearly about it.

And then you start to think about gaming it out in a situation where you say, well, if it did occur, how would the best version of me respond? Plan it out. What do I say, what do I do in that scenario? And see it, see yourself doing that so that you know what to do with that happens. Another part of the fear of conflict and change is you not know knowing how you would respond.

So if you do this, there’s going to be a party. That’s like, okay, that’s fine. We know how to deal with this. So good. We’ve been there and I’m on your Brian doesn’t distinguish the difference between an imagined reality and the truth, the neurons fire, the same way. So by doing this, it’s almost like you’re kind of getting yourself a level of exposure.

Ryan: [00:27:31] And you’ve already thought about like, if things go wrong, what to do about it, right? Cause he like, all this could go wrong. This could go wrong. This could go wrong. And you’ve actually thought about how could actually reverse that or how could I get out of those situations before that actually arises so instinctively during that conversation you’re maneuvering around so that it doesn’t blow off it. And you do control the tonality and body language and all of those things in the conversations

Terry: [00:27:54] Spot on. So you’ve gone. What’s the worst case scenario. What are the odds. What would I do if that actually happened? That’s the next question. And now the next one is what would the benefits be to me, to them and to us if that actually happened, because any fear is just you perceiving more downside than upside in the future. But if you can level that out, then you neutralize the fear somewhat.

Ryan: [00:28:15] Yeah. And I can’t stress how important that is. Like we’ve done that with, you know, really important conversations in negotiations and business conversations where you have we’ve really wanted the outcome. So we really need to make sure that we show up the best we can and know that. We’re not going to get nervous or something, hijack our operating system, our Yoda brain. So it’s all about just stacking the odds in your favor that you’re going to show up and be the best version of yourself for that conversation.

Terry: [00:28:39] I reckon we took two hours to prep that conversation. We just a solid two hours of like, mapping that out. Going, what would be the benefits here? How would we respond? What, yeah,

Ryan: [00:28:48] I think you’re talking about a pitch. We did. Was it?

Terry: [00:28:50] Yeah, it was a pitch pitch to get a license. That’s right. Yep. And you’re like, what are you, what are we doing this for?

Ryan: [00:28:56] Yeah.

And I was like, you’ll see in the actual interaction. You’ll see. Yeah. And I know that I’ve done this with members before they’ve had negotiations for salaries and stuff like that. That’s powerful. Okay. So this is all about sort of framing for that conversation, getting ready for it, preparing for it, knowing that you’re coming in with clear mind, knowing the direction you want to take it. What’s next? Is it controlling the conditions?

Terry: [00:29:15] Yeah. So this is where we need to start to control the context. And when I use the word control, I don’t mean control them. I mean, like really think about the circumstances under which this conversation will be constructive. If you haven’t mapped out those circumstances, you won’t recognize them when they arise and you won’t be able to use the opportunity cause you don’t want to force this conversation.

You want to be like sitting at home one day on the couch as they walk in the door from work and say, we need to talk. That’s not how you broach this conversation. You want to be thinking, when would this be. Natural. When would this flow in the conversation where it can bring it up and I’m not going to be triggering any defensiveness or the feeling of danger in my counterpart right? So this is really important because if you can do that and you can map out these criteria, you can say, Oh yeah, look, this is actually a good time to have the conversation. And I’m prepared to have it

Ryan: [00:30:01] And alot of that would come from you had great conversations before? Right? Paying attention to maybe it’s a, when you’ve gone for a nice long walk or a calm drive potentially is a garner, a good one, or you’re trapped in the Gardia

Terry: [00:30:13] Totally dependent on the relationship

Ryan: [00:30:14] on, well, I shouldn’t say that.

Terry: [00:30:15] It definately  is for me long trips for me are a great time to have those conversations where you can be a bit more open. You kind of locked in the car together as well. So you’ve gotta be smart about it, but yeah, you’re right. I think that’s really good. You kind of want to mind your pass with your partner and say, No. When have we been able to be more open-minded compassionate more, more in that problem solving state. Yeah. What does that look like?

Ryan: [00:30:35] Yeah, and I know for Britain are, were better after a coffee as well after go for coffee, even go for a walk and I get the caffeine in the system and a long walk on the beach and see could solve anything.

Terry: [00:30:47] Excellent. I’m going to get smarter about these conversations with Elise I can, cause I know that’s the same for her as well. If you weren’t drink coffee as much coffee, so yeah, we’ve got to get more empathetic about that, but this is really just. Okay. Identify the conditions. They’re going to be more open. Think about what needs to be true. Think about where and when this conversation will be most favorable, because timing seriously is everything. You’ve probably had those conversations where you don’t know why it works, but it just, you had, it just worked. You had a good conversation, you figured something out and then another time it just did not work.

Yeah. You got to really think about when’s this person gonna feel most psychologically safe. And how can I recognize those conditions or create them if I need to.

Ryan: [00:31:25] Yeah. And I know I’ve heard this comment from parents that when they’re trying to have a conversation like that with their children, they prefer not to be looking at each other, like going for a drive so that they’re not sitting across from each other or going for walks. And they’re not looking at each other. I don’t know. Is there something in that, do you think the couples as well?

Terry: [00:31:39] That’s interesting no I’ve not heard that might be specific to that couple, but I can see why that might work.

Ryan: [00:31:44] It’s just like less confrontation basically. And it’s more just a, a natural conversation that unfolds.

Terry: [00:31:50] And it might be that you’re in a more of a public space. You just got to make sure that the person doesn’t feel threatened by that and feel boxed. In, for example, you might just have good conversations in a cafe where you both have to, you can’t like fly off the handle or anything, you know? So you might say, look. We’re going to talk about this at a cafe and I can bring it out. We can talk about it and I know no one’s going to act silly. So, but just read the play on that one. If the person feels manipulated by that, it’s really just up to you and your partner it’s should about paying attention. Right.

Ryan: [00:32:15] All right. So that’s all about working on ourselves. So you said working on us was the second part of that.

Terry: [00:32:21] Yeah. So this is where now we’ve gone from managing ourselves to managing the conversation. And then what do we do? And there’s a really useful model. I first learned this model from Dr. Justin Colson, who is actually a positive parenting expert, believe it or not.

Ryan: [00:32:34] Okay.

Terry: [00:32:34] And he used this model called the three E’s to be able to, problem solve with kids that are playing up. And I think it’s a really useful model to broach the money conversation provided. We’ve got everything else, right. If you haven’t done everything off as discussed and you haven’t made the mindset shift. You haven’t managed yourself. Don’t do this, go back and really follow those steps.

But if you have, then this is how you structure the conversation so that both of you can understand each other, approach it as a problem, solving discussion, the book, crucial conversations, call it pool of meaning where we’re both contributing to the pool of meaning. And if you can do that, then those Gollum brains. Stay caged. And we can talk from our more of old, even parts of ourselves. So this model is really just three pots. It’s explain, explore, and then empower. So maybe we just work through each part.

Ryan: [00:33:18] Yeah. Nice. And I love your Parenthood has now taken us into a new, uh, literature in positive parenting.

Terry: [00:33:26] We know leaders use this in big corporations as well. It is a positive parenting model, but it’s actually just a constructive communication model.

Ryan: [00:33:32] Yeah. Gotcha. I must say I haven’t found myself in these books yet. Thanks for going there. So threes, positive parenting, explain, explore, and power. Let’s start with explain.

Terry: [00:33:41] Yeah so explain, it’s just going to be, what’s your intent? What do you want to talk about? Be upfront with them. Don’t kind of go around the corner and sort of sneak it in on them. I’d love to have a discussion about this. You know, how do you feel about that? Do you think we can solve this problem? Do you think we could discuss this?

I feel like this is something that’s getting in the way of our relationship. I feel like it’s saying that it really is taking up more of our life than it needs to. Do you feel the same way? Is there something you’re open to discussing? Like I said before, so you’ve got to frame this conversation in a way that makes them care.

And so it might be that you say, look, we’ve got most of our life, right? I feel like we work together on so many things really well, but there’s this black hole that’s sitting there called money and anytime money comes, you and I were not working together. And that saddens me. Honestly, I think that we’re smart enough to figure this stuff out together is a saying that you’d be open to exploring with me.

Ryan: [00:34:28] Yeah. I think even like just the first question, making sure it’s a really curious question, which is, how do you think this is working? Like, how do you think were working together on this part of our money lives and just seeing what they think and then, you know, maybe sharing what you feel towards that as well. Like any, some of those discomforts and then posing another question.

Terry: [00:34:46] Yeah. I like that your point around the tone is really important here, because you can say, how do you think this is working? And that can really fire people up because they are like, I’ve been asked that question before, before somebody dumped me, so you’ve just got to make sure that you can frame it and you’ve got your tone. Right. And it comes after the right word. So you’re like, how do you feel it’s working? And then there’s actually quite a good question. So there’s some nuance there, but I definitely think that that could work even before the other one, which is, are you open to discussing it? So I think that’s a really good point.

Ryan: [00:35:16] Absolutely. Ok cool so explain and then explore.

Terry: [00:35:20] Yeah. So if you’ve got permission, If they say, yeah, let’s talk about it. Make sure you get permission first. Then you go into this explore phase and that’s really about you figuring out what’s in the way here. You want to answer the question. What’s the now why, what stops us? And the way you do this is your model first. So for me, I might say, look in the past, I’ve realized that I’m coming into these conversations and I’m asking these questions, and this is a real conversation I’ve had actually, where I’ve said, I’ve actually realized that I’m asking you these questions and the words are right, but the way I’m asking them. He’s creating defensiveness in you.

And this is at least it’s like, yeah, that’s true. That’s happening. And I’m like, and I’ve realized this is coming because I’ve had this old belief that I need to be across everything at all times. And women are not to be trusted when it comes to money. And I’m ashamed to say that, but that’s a belief that I took on. I don’t want to be living by that belief anymore, but I just want to discuss this with you because I think that that’s, what’s getting in the way. Is this how you see it? What’s your thoughts? You’re discussing your own flaws and your own fears. So you might say you might go from that and you might say. I feel like this is getting in the way.

And my fear is that we’re never gonna be able to figure this out and we’re not gonna be able to achieve anywhere near the financial goals that we’re capable of. Cause I think we’re both super smart people, but there seems to be in this area of our life. We’re not being smart and it’s not working for us. And I don’t want to be the reason that that’s happening. And then again, what’s your view, that language pattern, what’s your view? What do you think asking that the right way? Just continually opening up the discussion, asking those open questions is really important. So what you’re doing is usually just priming the pump, setting the stage, and then asking them the question so that they are doing more of the talking at this point.

Ryan: [00:36:53] Yeah and the critical part, as you said, there is being vulnerable within yourself. Like being open, being transparent, being authentic in yourself and, and sort of laying down your cards first and giving them permission then to lay down theirs.

Terry: [00:37:05] Yeah. Cause if you don’t do that, you’re just going to be talking around in circles. Basically. You’re both going to be in vulnerable and you’re not going to be moving into that phase where you’re getting to the truth. This is actually a part of me. That’s holding us back. You make that acknowledgement and that admission, the damaging as I call it in marketing. And then what happens is people lower that offenses.

And that’s really important because we don’t want defenses in this part of the conversation. We actually just want to be talking about how do we solve the problem? Where is this we’re going wrong for us? What can we do about it? Type thing. So if you do that and you model your flaws and your fears, you’ll probably find that, you know, they’ll kind of open up in that way and you can discuss super important that you don’t nod and say, yeah, fucking that’s true.

No, that sounds obvious. But the ego part of you is want to be like, yes, I got it. I got that permission from you, you know?

So in that conversation, you don’t want to be nodding and saying, yeah, violet, you acknowledged that you got this power wrong. You know, you’re missing out on this part. You don’t care. Yeah. Yes. You are fluid. Look at, you know, you don’t want to be doing that. You want to be coming from the same place.

And if you’ve honestly made your own admission, then you can, because you don’t want to judge in that way. Cause you don’t want to feel judged.  And then you want to be exploring then. What’s this costing us. What do we really want to achieve in life? What are we trying to work towards? What does that life look like for us? And for us, we’re always talking about that life by design conversation. That’s that part of the conversation we find a lot of people get emotionally engaged and aligned because of that, part of the conversation where we’re saying, look, remove yourself from reality for a second.

And just imagine then you could accomplish what you were trying to accomplish and paint your life. However you want to paint it. What does it look like? Because I’m capable, you’re capable. We’re just not quite in sync here, but if we were in sync, what would that life look like? How would it feel? What choices would we have? What choices would we have for our kids, because it’s going to be worth it. Right? Cause you’re going to be going through. An uncomfortable time trying to solve the problem and trying to make it work together, but it has to be worth it that the benefits of that has to outweigh the cost. So if you don’t expand the benefits and really understand them, it’s gonna be hard for that person to go, or I’m willing to go through the discomfort.

So I think that’s a really, really important. And then there’s going to be the cost of inaction of go explore. Okay. If we don’t do this, are we willing to pay that price?

Ryan: [00:39:17] And yet it’s also then pulling out where’s a negative feedback. Like what’s getting in the way, like what’s the cost of staying the same right now? Like what does that mean for us down the line? What has to change? And I think when people have that compelling future that they’re working towards, and then they’ve also got a really bad taste in their mouth around some of the things that could break as well. If things didn’t change, then action just becomes natural. It has to change like evolutionary biology just encourages us to move forward, move away from that and progress

Terry: [00:39:47] and notice what we haven’t done here yet. We haven’t tried to solve the problem. All we’ve tried to do is understand it. And if we’ve done that really important, because that then opens up the problem solving discussion in a way that we’re not going to be pointing fingers at each other, going, you do this and I do this and that because of this, we’re going to be really sort of thinking about the problem, not the person crucial point.

So it’s yes. You modeling your flaws and fears them sort of, you know, discussing there’s the cost of inaction, but the benefits of getting this right. That’s the exploration phase and that’s when you can move into the last point, which is in power. Yeah.

Ryan: [00:40:17] Okay. So talk us through empower.

Terry: [00:40:19] So empower is more about, giving them control of what next, the next logical part of the conversation or the part of this process is going to be okay now, what is the problem and how do we solve it? And you want them to be in charge of that? Part of the conversation is if they’ve been resistant and I guess threatened by this part in the past. If they’re the one that’s coming up with the course of action, they’re going to be a lot more committed to it. They’re not going to see it as something that’s forced upon them.

It’s that whole Ikea effect, you know, like you value something more if you made it. So my opinion is that we should do this next. I’m going to value it pretty highly. And so you’re putting them in control here. And then you’re going with them again, asking the question, how do you think we should address this? What do you want to do? And this is where you get stuck here. And you’re not sure of the answer to that question. Go back to that episode where we talk about who not, how. This is crucial for me, find out people that have already solved it and are solving it and know how to do it, get the help, because you’ve put a third brain in that conversation. Everyone’s brains work better.

Ryan: [00:41:16] That’s great. And just make suggestions to just subtle suggestions about the course of action. So they’re empowered to make the decision and it’s about like, which course of action to choose

Terry: [00:41:25] spot on. Yeah. Like it’s not that you can’t have an opinion here. You’re letting them lead. And what you’ll usually find is if this person it’s not an area of their life that they own or empower themselves, They’re probably going to lean on you and say, I dunno, what do you think you are a bit more engaged in this than I am? What are your thoughts? And actually I’ll probably bet that that’s going to happen because they it’s not that they need to be the one, but you need to have asked them the question first and you need to have been given them permission to then give you back permission.

Ryan: [00:41:49] Yeah and when they give you back permission, don’t go. I probably got this pretty quick. Yeah. I’ve already signed up for this

Terry: [00:41:57] good point. Yeah. You actually want to be like. Look, there’s a few ways we could go. There’s a couple of things we could explore. What do you think about this? What do you think about this? I’m not sure. I feel like this could be a good way. You don’t want to come in. You’re a hundred percent right there. It’s a really good pickup

Ryan: [00:42:09] And you could probably come up with a couple of suggestions. Don’t you? And then say, all right, let’s feel this together. Like which one do you think could work better? So you do the exploration of what to do next after that permission is given, it’s not ready to go do the exploration again, spot on. It’s not two barrels in the shot.

Terry: [00:42:25] Exactly. Exactly.

That’s your empower stage. It’s really just opening up that conversation and you’re moving it to the next step and your outcomes should be a next action from this. It shouldn’t be just, and that was a good conversation. It should now be okay. What are we going to do now? What’s the next step here. You need to be in creating momentum and progress from this point or else. It was just, you know, it’s not for nothing, but it’s not necessarily going to solve things in the longterm. You got to be threading that one conversation to another, to another, to another. It’s moving you toward that desired destination that you talked about when you’re flooring reality.

Ryan: [00:42:55] Yep. And that’s where that, who comes into it. Doesn’t it? Cause it helps you with a course of actions or next steps basically. And then, so like this can be a hard thing to overcome. Like what do you think some really good rules of engagement might be?

Terry: [00:43:08] So we’ve just kind of discussed, you have a structure and a framework for having that conversation.

These rules just follow this rules and you’ll stay out of most trouble. When I say most, I say most because you can’t control the other person and their response reactions. And the reality is that you could do everything right. And if they didn’t want to come to the party, then there’s nothing you can do about that.

But you can stack the odds in your favor and you can only keep continuing to explore this with them, but you don’t control the way they respond. So you can’t say that the outcome of every conversation is all on you because it’s two people in it. But these rules are really important if you want to make sure that it works really well, just follow them.

The first one is never use universals, which are just used, never is a universal. So if you use language patterns, like you never do this, or you always do this, then what you’re doing is painting the person into a corner. And the only way out is to fight out and defend myself. So the easiest way to avoid a confrontation is to never use the words never and always, and never use the word should, you know, replace those words with never.

And always he say sometimes at times these are words that leave more space. I leave more room. Whereas the other ones, the not. They sort of really paint people into a corner. So avoid those words. And the other one is to continually ask those open questions and we’ve already discussed this, like ask who, what, where, how type questions that allow people to contribute to that pool of meaning.

The more they’re contributing that pull me the safer they feel, the better they feel about the conversation. So like we said before, you’re setting the stage, they’re dancing on it. And the way he set the stage is continually asking these open questions in a way that’s all about curiosity and you’re not attached to the outcome.

You don’t need to be right. You’re not trying to get anywhere. You’re just on the standing. If you’re getting

yes or no responses, it’s not an open question and they’re not able to contribute to that pool of money.

Two of the big ones for me, you’ve done a lot of work here as well with couples. Like what are some things you should always,

Ryan: [00:44:55] I would say ultimatums. They might become necessary to a certain point in time, but it’s a really last resort basically saying we have to do this or else, like, that’s obviously a dangerous place. You want to be able to open that stage first. Like you want to explore all of those steps that you’ve talked through first and it’s only really when it’s a really last resort.

Terry: [00:45:14] Yeah. I think that’s a good point. Those ultimatums it’s sort of, again, the person doesn’t feel in control and you will get reactants from that. So then may follow through. And they may say, okay, fine. Yes, I’ll do it. And they’ll acquiesce you. But what’ll happen is they’ll undermine the whole process. So the essay going along with it, but they don’t want it to work.

They’ll use passive aggressive ways to make sure that happens the whole time. They might just turn up late to a meeting or not show up, not do their part. They’re going to be sending you the message in a bunch of different ways. So you might feel like the ultimatum is the way to go, but you’re gonna be working against it after that.

Ryan: [00:45:44] Yeah. And we see this with some couples that have worked through our program, that there is somebody that’s very passive in that engagement. And it’s because they’ve been dragged to the table. Yeah. They didn’t have that choice. So you’ve got to create that stage, allow them to at least have that choice and create some level of commitment. And then you can dial up the commitment. Yeah,

Terry: [00:46:02] and that’s right. They don’t have to be the person who’s running things or doing it, all those things. That’s actually more how we make decisions about money that we’re talking about. We don’t both need to be, have a heads in spreadsheets and all those kinds of things. And none of that, like, that’s not really what we’re talking about. It’s about how we decide what we do with our money. And everyone’s equipped to make decisions because we all have values. We all have goals. So. You might be the person that’s numbers orientated and loves the sort of, that sort of detail awesome. Own that part of it. But you’re just wanting that other person to help you make decisions about it, because otherwise it will be you carrying all the mental load.

Ryan: [00:46:35] Yeah. This can be hard conversation to broach. So like, you might actually want to listen to this episode a couple of, of times, and then you’ve got a tool that’s about it. You’ve got something to have a look at.

Terry: [00:46:45] Yeah. So we’ve actually created a bit of a, like a planner for you. To map out this conversation, have it in your head before you have it and everything we discussed in terms of managing yourself and then managing the conversation. And I guess following that structure, it’s going to guide you through using all those strategies the right way, basically.

Ryan: [00:47:01] Okay. Good stuff. So that’s it. That’s it?

Terry: [00:47:04] Yeah. So this is that first sort of in the series where we talk about, you know, getting on the same page, opening our conversation.

The next one we’re going to be discussing, how do we actually work together on it? One of the really important things, the things that must be true in order for us to be moving from that norming into the performing stage and actually enjoying the process as well, the things we have to get, right. And the things we can’t let drop.

Ryan: [00:47:25] Yeah. And hopefully you guys can take this and, and use it. And I know that as soon as you feel like you’re rowing in the same directions, things just become easier and progress becomes inevitable. Yeah.

Terry: [00:47:35] Hi, it’s super possible. We’ve seen it. We’ve seen it for ourselves. We’ve seen it for dozens of our members in different situations where two people on the different pages and over time they really start to work it out.

Ryan: [00:47:46] Yeah. I think people are stuck in their ways. Don’t worry. They can change.

Terry: [00:47:49] So hopefully this episode answered a few of those questions about how you open up this conversation, just to get started with your partner on this. And if you did get a lot of value from it, and you know, a lot of other people you’ve had these discussions with in the past, maybe you’ve got a few agony aunts where you’re like, we just can’t figure this thing out.

Yeah. If you’ve got a lot of value, please share this episode with them and tell us what you liked about it. So keep writing and reviewing the podcast that helps us reach more people and help more people. And ultimately that impact is really what we’re all about.

Ryan: [00:48:15] Yeah. Love it. Nice man. Good stuff, Jason.

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