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Daily news from the Canaries and the islands
   Daily news from the Canaries and the islands' biggest English language newspaper on-line

Cash Crises?
What makes money such a difficult issue for couples?
Okay, so maybe you do go through a juggling act each month when paying bills, and your nearest and dearest, who used to joke that money burns a hole in your pocket, isn’t laughing anymore.

The average adult now owes £33,000 through mortgages, credit cards and personal loans com­pared with £17,000 in 2000, the interna­tional accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers claims. Gordon Brown said, “I think everybody knows what has happened in America. It is already having an effect on the housing market and the question is what will be the effect on the rest of the world.”


Many of us at times wonder if we spend too much, but to label someone as an ‘over-spender’ may seem a bit extreme.
Many of us at times wonder if we spend too much, but to label someone as an ‘over-spender’ may seem a bit extreme.

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10.05.2008 - Debts are spiralling out of control and affecting people’s sleeping patterns and relationships.  Debt advice specialists are dealing with an ever increasing number of personal debt problems and many of those in debt are receiving treatment for stress, depression or anxiety from their doctor.  Customers have had gas and electricity services disconnected for fear of running up debt.  Bankruptcies are increasing by leaps and bounds and counselling organisation, Relate, claim that money causes more rows within a relationship than infidelity.

In assessing our spend­ing habits, we’re also apt to insist that we have good reasons for being a little extravagant, reasons that make sense to us, anyway.

Money is such a power­ful and important subject in our culture and has so many hidden meanings in­cluding: feeling loved and cared about, feeling com­petent, feeling safe and secure, accepted, acknowl­edged and empowered - all of which are core issues.

These feelings are difficult to talk about directly. They often emerge as fights about a bill, a parking ticket, a gift, a secret savings or cheque account, or about how one spouse does or doesn’t keep track of cheques.  Money is real, but it’s also a symbol and a metaphor.  A good example is an engagement ring.  What does it mean to have a big ring, small ring, no ring, a ring passed down in a family, or one put on a credit card?  There is no right answer, but it’s important for couples to talk about what it means for each of them.

There are specific at­titudes towards money that characterise ‘over-spenders’ but the defini­tion is basically this:- If your spending habits create a problem for you or others around you, you’re prob­ably an ‘over-spender.  It is as simple as that. If you’re an over-spender or in a re­lationship with one, you’ve experienced some of the financial and emotional stresses this behaviours can cause.  Excessive debt, credit problems, distrust, anger, hurt, guilt, slump­ing self-esteem.  The so­lution isn’t to earn more money this just adds fuel to an out-of-control fire.  Without a positive strategy for healing, matters can be­come even worse as frus­trated over-spenders seek escape in their habitual comfort - more spending. People need to think about their own relationship with money what it means, and how it impacts on their other important relation­ships.  We have a lifelong relationship with money.  It is a long process to learn how to negotiate financial matters with those who are closest.  We have to think about and negotiate finances in all kinds of situ­ations at all different stag­es of life.  It is so important to learn how to talk about money in terms of its emo­tional significance in a re­lationship.  For example, “not having my own bank account makes me feel like I’m being treated like a child and that I need to account for every cup of coffee I buy.”

A certain amount of money is essential for survival.  But money is also a tool to enhance life and make it more fun and rewarding.  It is not an end in itself and it cannot guarantee health, love, safety, competence, self-esteem or any of the things that are truly important.  I try to help couples remember that they are in charge of money; money doesn’t control them.  Decide together what you want your life to look like and then use money as a tool, not a goal.

For additional informa­tion on all types of issues including how to get and stay out of debt call Trisha in total confidence on Tel: 628 668 996 or email trishapoole@gmail.com

Patricia has a recog­nised Advanced Diploma in Counselling and qualified af­ter three years study.  She has been in private practice in Tenerife for over six years, and is constantly updating her tech­niques, skills and research with theoretical bodies in Britain. She maintains her profession­alism with regular supervision which meets with the criteria that the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy requires for Accreditation. Her membership number is. 577482. M.B.A.C.P




Gallery: What makes money such a difficult issue for couples?
Many of us at times wonder if we spend too much, but to label someone as an ‘over-spender’ may seem a bit extreme. 
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