Get Financially Naked

Book Review

Authors: Sharon Kedar & Manisha Thakor
Adams Media, 208 pp

Reviewed by Lea Ann Knight, CFP®
Who wouldn’t crack open this book, if just for the provocative title? Aimed at those of us who would rather have a root canal than talk about money with our significant other, Get Financially Naked provides numerous tips and talking points to get that conversation going.

The authors are on a mission to empower women to take responsibility for their own financial situations. Loaded with examples of smart, capable women who have stumbled when it comes to that “money conversation” with their spouses, this breezy read is a great addition to any bookshelf.

Where do your money beliefs come from?
The first few chapters focus on an all-too-often neglected start to serious financial discussions– “Know thyself first.” Using the worksheets included, you can gain a better understanding of where your money beliefs come from, which helps tremendously in approaching a discussion with your spouse. (Evidently it’s pretty rare that both of you were raised the same way when it came to money matters.)

As the authors point out repeatedly, financial compatibility goes a long way towards working through any difficulty. Most people don’t spend enough time understanding and articulating this aspect of their or their spouse’s personality.

The Financial Three-Way
But what if you discover you’re not financially compatible? Well, short of divorce, which featured in several of the examples, the book also provides some tips for compromising positions. (Read this book and you too will start writing double entendres since the book’s full of them.) Their best suggestion is what they call “The Financial Three-Way”– bank accounts labeled “yours”, “mine” and “ours”. I have found this to be an effective tool for many a couple in my own practice.

In fact, in the last few chapters, the authors provide several practical discussion points and reasonable income-to-spending ratios for planning a healthy financial life with your spouse. If we talk about anything with our significant other, it often revolves around saving for retirement or saving for college.

Planning for life’s extra obligations
But whoever talks about, much less saves for, extended family obligations? With aging parents on the horizon, this is definitely a discussion most couples need to include. And diapers for babies almost broke the bank in our house when my three were little. All our extra money was going down the Diaper Genie! Had we budgeted for that? Of course not.

Make no mistake, Get Financially Naked won’t solve all your financial problems or fix a bad marriage. And, with its conversational style, you might be tempted to breeze right over the exercises and worksheets. But if you take your time, involve your significant other in the discussion and revisit your answers along the way, you might find talking about money with your honey has become pleasurable, or at least, well–tolerable.

Lea Ann Knight, CFP® writes a weekly blog on personal finance

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