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Get Financially Naked by Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kedar

Get Financially Naked by Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kedar [3] is a book that helps couples discuss financial issues before they become Issues. The two collaborated on On My Own Two Feet: A Modern Girl’s Guide to Personal Finance [4] and while they traveled the United States to promote it, they were frequently asked questions about how to discuss money with your significant other, a chapter absent from the book. So they worked together again to create Get Financially Naked: How to Talk Money with Your Honey [3].

The book was written for women, though it easily applies to either gender, because 80% of men die married while 80% of women die single (the statistic isn’t cited). They throw out some more statistics, which seem plausible but aren’t cited, but they all paint the same picture – women are more likely to be left financially vulnerable at the end of the relationship (divorce, death, etc.). Couple that with the idea that women are less likely to discuss finances or acquiesce responsibility (again, their arguments) and you have a recipe for disaster.

What’s In Get Financially Naked

Get Financially Naked establishes a framework for a couple to discuss finances in a constructive way from existing finances (assets, debts, credit) to future aspirations ( “hopes and fears about money”). These discussions are valuable because they put both people in a relationship on the same page and helps them understand the motivations of their partner. These discussions can also show if two people aren’t financially compatible and whether this is something they can overcome. These are all issues that couples need to discuss and this book is one of the first I’ve seen that lays it all out for you.

The book is laid out in three parts. The first covers the reader and her financial situation, helping you assess it and know where you’re coming from. The second covers the intersection of the reader and her spouse. The final section talks about the future and creating a sustainable financial plan for the future. Each section of the book is incredibly specific and contains lots of table and questionnaires to help you get through it. Even if you and your significant other are committed to getting financially naked, it’s hard to know what to cover. Fortunately, the book tells you exactly what topics you need to discuss and I think that’s very valuable.

To be perfectly honest, I’m surprised this wasn’t written sooner, or at least it didn’t land on my desk sooner, because it’s an issue every couple deals with and every couple has dealt with for eons. I’ve always believed that any issue you have with your significant other is best discussed when everyone is emotionally neutral. If you’re emotional, either angry or ecstatic, it clouds your ability to make smart decisions. If you don’t make it a point to discuss personal finance issues when you’re emotionally neutral, when else does it come up? Usually when someone is upset. A missed bill or an errant charge on a credit card – they’re almost never precipitated by something good. Given the recent financial distress, I bet this is an issue more people wished they discussed much earlier in their relationship!

Either way, if you’re in a committed long term relationship and you’re looking for a good way to discuss personal finance with your significant other, I can’t think of a book that trumps this one.