It’s All About the Money, Honey

Money is funny. Your relationship with money affects your relationship with your significant other. This is because people approach money differently—a fact made clear in a workshop I conducted for a group of financial counselors.

As an exercise, I asked, “How do you handle your personal budgeting?” I put a line on the floor with one end representing those who develop and follow a comprehensive budget and the other end representing those who don’t create a budget at all. The middle was for those who develop a budget but don’t follow it. I asked the counselors to stand on the line based on their personal approach. They were scattered all over.

Even financial professionals differ widely in their personal budgeting habits because our approach to money is a reflection of our interests, strengths, and needs. Plus, people can be interested in the topic of money but not the activity of managing it. All of these factors come into play when couples make money-related decisions.

When discussing money with your partner, you will want to consider:

Risk tolerances. How much debt can you take on without having a panic attack? Do you need a year’s worth of savings in the bank to feel comfortable while your partner needs one paycheck? When you differ on these points, separate bank accounts can help meet your needs.

Placement on the “budgeting line.” Discuss where each of you would fall on my budgeting line. Your placement boils down to interests, strengths, and needs, so this can tell you a lot about your relationship beyond money.

Inclination for budgeting and focusing on money-related activities. Are either of you inclined to create a detailed budget and a financial plan for the future? If not, you might want to work with a financial counselor for objective, educated input.

The conflict that couples experience around money often relates to differences in interests, strengths, or needs—and how they interplay. If you fight about spending money on one thing versus another, it tends to reflect a difference in interests. If you argue about how much money to save, that generally reflects a difference in needs. If you fight about how to develop and track a budget, that could relate to strengths or needs or interests.

When following my rules for fighting fair, each of you is entitled to pursue your interests and get your needs met, and you’ll want to take advantage of each person’s strengths. So work together on budgeting with those factors in mind.

How Do You Prepare For A Presentation?


As you know, giving a presentation involves more than just stepping onto a podium. There’s the process of getting ready, the process of delivery, and the process of managing anxiety. Using your natural strengths in all of these processes and being mindful of your needs will set you up for success.

In this article, let’s look at the steps in the first process—preparation.

Learn your time management preference. Think about a “pace of action” continuum. Do you like preparing your material well in advance so you have plenty of time to review? This is a “rush and wait” style. Or do you prefer to “wait and rush”? (You last-minute people know who you are.) Or are you in the middle, preferring to work at a steady pace up to your presentation day? Whatever your natural preference, use it.

My natural preference is to work at a steady pace. If my talk is in two months, I prepare a little bit each week. In a prior job, the corporate culture involved a late-night “death march” before presentations. Needless to say, I found this stressful. While you can’t always control your environment, follow your preference when possible.

Manage your anxiety level. This requires doing what you can to work in your “sweet spot”—your preferred environment. Take my prior job. The environment did not suit my natural preference or needs. So I had to create the environment I needed. For instance, to minimize my anxiety, I encouraged my colleagues to prepare further ahead for critical client presentations. However, creating this environment wasn’t always possible, so I saved this action step for the most important presentations. For less important presentations, despite my need for a slower pace, I adapted to their culture of procrastination.

Sometimes we cause ourselves stress by not acknowledging the environment we need. For example, a colleague of mine tends to procrastinate even though she knows this causes her stress before a presentation. Don’t exacerbate your stress by ignoring your needs.

Another way to manage anxiety is to know your presentation material cold. This is true regardless of your natural preferences or needs. That way, you’ll deliver your material with greater ease and will feel comfortable fielding any question that is thrown your way.

Presenting can be stressful, even for experienced speakers. By following your preferred pace of action—while attending to your needs to manage anxiety—you can make your presentation a positive experience for all. Stay tuned for more articles on presentations.

Preparing for and Delivering a Presentation in Line With Your Personality

Your personality shapes how you naturally act and react to things every day. Preparing for a presentation is no exception. My recent talk at TEDxWilmingtonWomen 2017 got me thinking. How does someone’s personality affect how they prepare for and deliver a presentation? How had my own personality come into play for this important event?

It turned out that TEDxWilmington’s process for prepping their speakers was perfectly suited to my personality. The process was structured, with lots of interim check points—and candid comments—along the way. For someone who responds best to lots of structure and straightforward feedback, this process helped me keep my nerves in check.

No matter your personality type, when you prepare for a presentation at work, a social event, or other venue, you have three main elements to consider:

  • Your process of getting ready
  • Your delivery
  • Your management of anxiety

How you go about handling the speech-giving process has a lot to do with your unique personality.

As you prepare for and deliver a presentation,

  • How do you deal with time?
  • How much do you involve other people?
  • How much structure do you put into your own process?
  • How do you address feedback?

Think about your answers. As we explore the preparation and delivery of presentations in upcoming articles, you’ll learn steps that can minimize the stress you experience during the process.

For me, the best way to manage my anxiety was to view the presentation as a task to be accomplished in service of a bigger mission. Every step along the way was a necessary item to completing that task well. This may not work for you. You may need to view this as a way to relate to others. The key is to get this balance right in line with your own personality.

Stay tuned to your inbox for more articles on this topic.

How to Deal With Difficult People

In every workplace, neighborhood, and social setting, there are folks who make life difficult. You know who they are. If you would like to improve your interactions with these people, keep the following in mind:

1. All people are different. If friction occurs, remember that everyone handles situations in different ways. Interfacing with someone whose communication style is the opposite of yours, or who seems to add unnecessary drama to situations, can be stressful. If you focus on the difficulty of the situation—rather than the difficulty of the person—you have greater opportunities to ease the tension. More response options are open to you.

2. Everyone’s needs must be met. This includes your own needs. Some people need direct, honest feedback during interactions while others need validation and support. Neither is right or wrong. If you prefer to avoid confrontation, for example, that blunt coworker might seem difficult. But perhaps he is just trying to meet his own need for straightforward dialogue.

The best way to start the process is to get your own needs met so you can be free of stress. Then you can focus on helping the other person get his/her needs met as well.

3. Focus on creative solutions. Once the needs of all parties are met, together you can engage in a creative process of identifying potential solutions.

Remember: Dealing with difficult people doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s all about your perspective.