How Financial Maturity Increases Hope In Your Financial Future As A Couple

Aug 03, 2023

What comes to your mind when you think about financial maturity? 


Have you ever heard this word combination? 


I hadn’t until about seven years ago. It was when I read George Kinder, The Seven Stages of Money Maturity. His book gave me a new language for understanding our relationship with money through the lens of maturity. It helped normalize the challenges and transitions we all face with money. 


I want to be shame sensitive here as we talk about financial maturity and acknowledge that there are many components to financial maturity and our individual abilities to develop financial maturity. 


Please practice self-compassion towards yourself and others as you reflect on your journey with financial maturity. While I will write about financial maturity as a progressive and linear journey, it is more dynamic and circular, with ever-deeper capacities for financial maturity. 


Whether interviewing people for The Healthy Love and Money Podcast or working with clients, I often lean on the lens of human growth and development to understand where we have been, where we are now, and why we may be stuck moving forward. 


For podcast guests, they have often hit a significant roadblock in their financial journey, which leads them into a deep crisis of questioning what they are doing and why they are doing it. Sometimes it is directly related to money experience, and sometimes it is secondary. Either way, they go through a crisis, the fourth stage of financial maturity. As they work through this crisis, they eventually make it to reconciliation and integration with money the fifth stage of financial maturity from my perspective.

On the other hand, especially for new clients in Therapy-Informed Financial Planning™, are coming in crisis. The source of the crisis, the depth and range of the crisis vary, but they are stuck, scared, and overwhelmed. The first three stages of financial maturity have not left them with the financial, psychological, and relational abilities they need to make it through their crisis. 


Here’s a hint, none of us have everything we need to navigate the crisis we face. A crisis is a calling to learn, heal, and grow. Ignored and things often get worse, tended to new roots and paths can emerge. 


It is knowing that we all universally have a journey of maturity to take balances the playing field. As a couple, navigating money together often involves increasing psychological, relational, and financial maturity. 

Five Stages of Financial Maturity

1. Family Understanding


Our first understanding of the role and use of money in life comes from our families. Our relationship with money begins long before we can even speak. As babies and young children, we depend entirely on the adults in our lives. We all start life financially, psychologically, and relationally dependent on our families to care for us. 


Over the years of our development, we internalize countless money lessons, meanings about money, how to use and not use money, emotions tied to money, and even nervous system reactions to money. 


2. Local Community Understanding

Our families do not live on an island without external forces. They live in some form of local community. Their connection with this community sets many of the financial expectations and realities they navigate. 


As developing children, we grow in increasing awareness of our local community. Our early childhood experiences with neighbors, friends, and classmates all start to teach us about the experiences of sharing and ownership. These experiences imprint on our relationship with money that gets carried forward into our adult relationship with money. 


3. Bigger Social Reality

As we grow, our worlds continue to expand beyond our local communities to understand the larger world around us. We become increasingly in contact with the similarities and differences people have regarding money. Our social consciousness expands to realize that there is significant economic diversity. 


This economic diversity is influenced and created by culture, including ideas about gender, social class, resources, religion and spirituality, politics, and governmental involvement. We navigate these different dynamics through a combination of formal and often much more informal education and experience. 


4. Crisis

The financial crisis of our life emerges as we get stuck finding the balance of what works for us, our intimate partner's expectations, family expectations, and cultural expectations. Often some conflicting demands and expectations can leave us feeling confused, overwhelmed, scared, shamed, and potentially so much more. 


Finding help to work through our financial crisis is the point at which Therapy-Informed Financial Planning™ becomes very helpful. You likely know it is much more than just knowing how to budget or get on an investment plan. It is about who you are as a person, who your partner is, and how you will grow and change to meet the realities of your financial life. 


Working through a financial crisis takes more than quick fixes or simple solutions. It takes more profound learning, healing, and growth. I know it has for me and many of the clients I have worked with. 


5. Reconciliation and Integration

On the other side of your financial crisis is reconciliation and integration, with a few loose strands left open.


Reconciliation means you have come to terms with the grief and loss of what you have experienced or not experienced up to this point with money. It also means that you have been able to take action towards your desired goals or and often, in many cases, you have re-evaluated your financial goals towards goals that are more fully in line with your values. 


Integration on the other side of your financial crisis means you can see how many different pieces are related. Integration acknowledges that the sum is greater than the whole of your financial life. 


On The Road To Financial Maturity

Developing financial maturity is not an event. It is a process. It does not just happen. It is developed. 


Not all of us will pursue increasing financial maturity in our lives. 


It is my sense and experience that the more I pursue and learn from others on the path of financial maturity, their lives are richer in meaning and purpose and sometimes in financial reality. At the deeper levels of financial maturity, we realize that it is not how much or little money we have that fully determines our happiness and relational pleasure. At the same time, there is no avoidance, denial, or minimization of money's important role in our lives. It is both and. 


Financial moves from black-and-white thinking to lots of grey space. 


If you would like help along the journey of financial maturity. Please feel free to schedule a 30-minute consultation to see how Therapy Informed Financial Planning can help you. 


Wishing You The Best On The Journey of Financial Maturity,


Ed Coambs


Curious About Your Attachment Style? 

Take the Attachment Style Quiz now and learn how it impacts your relationships, finances, and life!