Summer reading can take on many different meanings.
What comes to mind when you think about summer reading?
Is it reading a romance novel on the beach while the kids play in the water?
Is it retreating to a mountain getaway and enjoying a book about the meaning of life?
You may go back to your childhood and remember summer reading challenges.
Before we jump into the recommendations, I invite you to a time of reflection.
Please notice what happens in your body, mind, and brain when you read the words.
Now I would like you to consider another word.
Take a few minutes to explore what these different words mean to you. Consider even taking the time to journal.
I realize that these word combinations don’t go together for many people. Time and again, I have found that they are deeply interconnected just below the surface of everyday life. It has been through reading that I have come to understand these connections.
Summer reading confession
I read voraciously now, but it hasn’t always been this way. As a kid, I didn’t do much, if any, reading. I would much rather be outside playing and riding my bike than sitting and reading. Now it is hard to imagine a day without a least a little bit of reading. Reading has become an essential part of fostering financial intimacy in my life, both with myself and my wife.
I have developed increased patience and perspective from the practice of reading regularly. Out of sight but confirmed by science, I have been developing a beach-ready brain through reading and neuroplasticity. Reading is like brain bicep curls and burpees. Who doesn’t want their brain to look great in a bikini? Okay, Okay, I will stop with the bad summer humor.
Speaking of summer goals that take money. One of my big goals right now is to buy our first Vacation Rental Property on one of the beautiful mountain lakes of North Carolina. My wife, on the other hand, is not as excited about this as she has other financial goals in mind.
In the past, our financial differences would have turned into a futile exercise in me using spreadsheets and experiencing emotional disappointment when my wife wouldn’t see things my way. Developing emotional and financial perspective-taking skills has shifted things for the better.
Now we are in an open and ongoing conversation, working to balance our different goals and revisiting our individual priorities as well as our priorities as a couple and family. While it is way harder than running a financial projection that says this vacation property will work it fosters a deeper sense of relational connection.
3 Meaningful Summer Reads To Increase Financial Intimacy
- The Body of Money: A Self-Help Guide to Creating Sustainable Wealth Through Innate Wisdom by Gayle Coleman.
I have absolutely loved and savored reading this book. It has taken me time to read, but each time I return to the book, I notice a deepening comfort with my relationship with money. Gayle includes many mini-practices for improving your relationship with money.
Why is doing your own money work important? You can’t directly change how your partner thinks about or experiences money. But you can positively influence how you interact around money and life conversations by improving your relationship with money.
Being at home in our bodies is hard for many of us childhood trauma survivors, and this is why Gayle’s gentle approach to money and our bodies is so important. At the same time, we often need to take a multiprong approach to healing from trauma, which is why I love the next book.
This wonderful book is a thoughtful introduction to the nature of trauma and the ways it impacts our mind, brain, body, and relationships. Many people start their therapy journey seeking help with a wide range of issues, not thinking they had any childhood trauma or that it was still impacting them.
For those that have been reading about trauma for a while and have read or tried to read, The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel A. van der Kolk you will appreciate that Every Memory Deserves Respect makes the topic of trauma more approachable for those that are not therapists or other experts in trauma recovery.
Michael is a former advertising executive and knows how to convey powerful ideas simply. He also spent decades in talk therapy and was never asked about his childhood or trauma. But once he was, it started to change everything for him.
What I love about this book is the combination of written text, powerful quotes on trauma, and pictures that paint a thousand words and have left me with a deeper sense of the impact of my own trauma and the experience of others, leading to increased compassion and empathy for all impacted. Leading to increased hope for continued healing.
Yes, this is my book. I include it because I want as many couples as possible to continue to hone their ability to talk with each other about their finances. It certainly seems like it should be easy and straightforward, but I have found that it is anything but that. Financial communication between couples becomes easily strained for understandable reasons when we understand the psychology behind it.
Rebecca recently shared with me that once she stopped avoiding money, everything in her life got better, including her relationship with her husband, Tommy. When we learn to create a healthy focus on our relationship with money, many positive things can and do happen.
Money avoidance is a significant source of stress and pain for individuals and couples.
Rebecca, like many of the people I work with, experienced childhood trauma and financial adversity. They grow up and enter successful careers that pay well but still avoid significant areas of their financial life and what money means to them.
Her avoidance and fear of money made perfect sense from a childhood perspective, but it was realizing at a deeper emotional and body-based level that those threats are gone now, and it is safe to talk about money.
Time and again, I have had individuals and couples say they appreciate learning about how their childhood and family history impacts their relationship with money and, more importantly, how they can move forward together as a couple.
What Will You Read This Summer?
Maybe you won’t curl up with a book this summer, but instead, you will pop in your earbuds and listen to a great book on your road trip or plane flight.
Perhaps reading won’t be during family vacation but rather on a long summer evening when you choose to sit outside and give yourself the space for reflection and a bit of reading. Let’s remember that brain bicep curls make a difference, but we need to start slow and build capacity. Even a small amount of intentional and reflective reading can go a long way.
So many great books are out there, and I am always looking for my next great read. I would love to know what you plan to read this summer. Shoot me an email [email protected] and let me know.
Reading is a wonderful way of learning, healing, and growing. But sometimes, it takes more when it comes to love and money. That is why I created Therapy-Informed Financial Planning™. If you are ready to enjoy your financial life with your partner, let’s schedule a 30-minute Zoom meeting to see how I can help.
Ed Coambs - Therapy-Informed Financial Planning™
MBA, MA, MS, CFP®, CFT-I™, LMFT
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