Wealth Unplugged

Episode 001

How to Foster Healthy Love & Money with Ed Coambs


Guest Name: Ed Coambs

Visit Website: www.healthyloveandmoney.com

“Those earliest experiences around money, we may not even consciously remember them, but they definitely can be driving decisions, both for ourselves and how we interact with partners.”

In marriage, money can often feel like a taboo topic. Financial Therapist Ed Coambs, host of the Healthy Love & Money Podcast, joins our host, Financial Planner Joey Loss, to unravel the emotional tapestry woven by our childhood experiences with money, revealing how those experiences impact our adult relationships for better or worse.

Listen in as Ed demystifies the emotional minefield that can appear when love and money mix, encouraging partners to embrace the power of open communication and empathetic understanding as a starting point to greater financial maturity. Ed brings attachment theory into the conversation, explaining how your particular attachment style shapes your emotional tendencies when discussing money. He offers practical, heart-centered advice for couples looking to bridge divides and construct a shared financial vision that’s more about “we” and less about “me.”

To Ed, a negative relationship with money is always rooted in past hurts and relational trust issues. Joey and Ed discuss the importance of empathy and curiosity in better understanding our partner’s financial roadblocks and how that understanding can change our interactions from merely transactional to more purposeful.


Key Topics


  • What Clients Really Want From Their Financial Advisors (01:00)
  • How Younger Experiences Impact Behavior Towards Money As We Get Older (7:35)
  • What Does Financial Responsibility Actually Look Like? (13:32)
  • How To Use Attachment Theory To Explain (And Resolve) Financial Conflict (18:57)
  • Growing Emotionally Through Mature Relationships (28:26)
  • Should We Combine Household Incomes Or Keep Them Separate? (32:02)
  • Financial Maturity As A Lifelong Journey (37:14)
  • Money Dialects (41:02)
  • Wrap-Up (45:28)
Rather Read? Click Here for the Transcript.

AI helps us generate these transcripts from the audio and sometimes it makes some funny mistakes.

Ed Coambs  00:00

There’s just so many factors in life and society that can make it challenging for families to navigate money. And when we’re having those challenges, typically we’re not having feelings of joy and gratitude and excitement and pleasure. We’re experiencing fear and anxiety and rage and sadness and shame. And so it’s not that we should never have those experiences. But if we are chronically experiencing those as kids with our families, we have an emotional uphill battle that we’re gonna need to climb to find a place of what does it feel like to feel emotionally stable? optimistic?

Joey Loss  00:48

Ed Coambs. Welcome to the podcast.

Ed Coambs  00:50

Thanks, Joey. Appreciate it. I’m so glad to be here with

Joey Loss  00:52

you. So for those that don’t know you, can you tell us a little bit about your work and how you come to do what you’re doing today? Yeah,

Ed Coambs  00:59

absolutely. So I’m hyper focused on helping couples communicate about their financial life. And on the surface, that may sound pretty simple, like, oh, everyone wants to help people communicate better. But by way of background, I trained as a financial planner, then went back to school, got my Master’s in Counseling, and worked as a couples therapist for quite a number of years, and then came back together. And so I’ve gotten really deep and understanding what makes healthy couples thrive, and how to help couples that are struggling, move towards more of that thriving state. Now, that sounds all great and good. But why did I go on this journey? Because this guy was struggling to figure out how to make it happen. I was, you know, a young guy, I started my professional career as a firefighter. And I saw the guys complaining about their wives and money. And I was like, Man, I don’t want to have that problem. And I thought, Man, if I just know how money works, everything will be great. So that’s where you get the CFP, I got my MBA. In that time I met my wife was finishing dental school, and I was like, Hey, this is how we should do it. And she looked at me like, that’s not how we’re going to do it. And I was left scratching my head a little bit, because I was like, Wait, but I have the CFP, I have my MBA, it’s logical, this is what we should do. The numbers say we should buy a dental practice. The dentist said, By the way, for this, there’s my wife is a dentist. So that’s that’s the references. She didn’t want to buy a dental practice. And I couldn’t figure out why. Because the numbers clearly show that for our lifetime, it would be better for her to own a practice, it was just numbers. So what I’ve come to appreciate is where humans with vast experience is connected with money, and all kinds of different expressions from shopping and spending to business ownership, to investing to taxes, the whole gamut, right? And that, we come to different conclusions about how we should navigate our financial life. And so that’s where the therapeutic skills have really helped me expand my lens or understanding for why we don’t all approach money the same way.

Joey Loss  03:09

That’s that’s a fascinating background. I love that it just seems like it was organic series of questions that brought you to the different chapters of your professional journey.

Ed Coambs  03:19

You know, hindsight is a real gift. It’s, you know, it looks very clear looking backwards. But like from the looking forward, like I it was the kind of that questioning, how do we do this better, really kind of beneath the surface, right? It’s how do we do this better? And so, you know, it’s been trial, trial and error, trial and error, trial and error and keep adjusting as, as I’ve gone.

Joey Loss  03:40

Yeah. And I think, you know, it’s so funny, coming out of the CFP program, I felt exactly the way that you just described, where you’re like, oh, man, I know all the numbers, and we’re just gonna let that wag the dog at everybody’s life that I meet, and they’re gonna be so impressed with how smart I am. And I’m gonna make a bunch of money, make help help other people make a bunch of money, it’s gonna be great. And that wasn’t it at all. Why? Why isn’t it like that?

Ed Coambs  04:05

Well, you know, I think and you know, what I’ve come to appreciate, as I’ve gotten to know other professionals in my my lifespan is, there is that excitement of that new acquire knowledge that we all have, as we come out as professionals, whether you’re a doctor, whether you’re an engineer, whether you’re a financial planner, right, you have this idea of like, I want to go get all this knowledge, now I’m ready to save the day or make the big impact. And yet, we spend that next five to seven years, really learning and, and our clients teaching us what they actually need from us. And if we’re open to listening, we’ll adjust and soften our views. And for most of us, what we start to realize is our clients want us to be an expert, but they also want us to respect who they are as a human and that they have their own lived experience and their own expertise. And so when we can grow into this, honoring that relationship or working with them, we get to a far more collaborative and meaningful approach to working on it. And we start to realize that people are not good Tea cutter. Okay, you get a temper set automatic savings rate with an 8020 portfolio. And, by the way, let’s make sure you pay your taxes by April 15 Every year, and will maximize your deductions. It’s like, no, there’s so much more going on in people’s lives. Right.

Joey Loss  05:18

And at the end of the day, money is just the tool. I mean, it’s the tool we all have to interact with. But, you know, it’s so easy to let these these tax decisions. Estate planning seems to be a theme this year for me, people trying to let the desire to avoid estate taxes, wag the dog of big financial decisions that are going to put honestly, their own financial well being during their lifetime in peril. They spent their whole life building this money. And it’s just it’s funny how we can attach to things that kind of missed the mark. And I love, you know, in the conversations we’ve had privately. And just what I see throughout your work and your conversations on your podcast, is questions that help orient people back to the core of why are we doing this? And what’s important here? Yeah, you

Ed Coambs  06:05

know, there is a lot of diversity in that answer that question. And yet, I think, at its core in such a gentle way, but it’s like, how do we live a meaningful life? And then how do we use money to facilitate that? And I think just neath what it means to live a meaningful life is what does it mean to have high quality relationships that are meaningful to me? How do I write and so for me, it was like, How do I continue to love my wife? Well, how do we continue to relate? Well, how do we create experiences? And then as we’ve added children to our life, okay, how do we navigate and adjust our expectations to meet the needs of these kids that have come into our family? And as our parents are aging, okay, their needs are changing? How do we adjust? What each time a life event happens? We’ve had to make adjustments and how we understand who we are each individually and who we are to each other, which then ripples through to like, who’s earning the money? Who’s allocating the money? How do we make those decisions together, or independently of each other? And so those are really core questions that I think most couples don’t know how to ask of themselves, to make it through these different transitions in

Joey Loss  07:14

life, I love that. And I, and I think, you know, there’s such an individual component to this, that then comes together for the family unit, whatever that family unit looks like. And so one of the things I’m wondering if we can spend some time on is how our experiences as children, and adolescents impact our behaviors and feelings about money as we grow older.

Ed Coambs  07:36

You know, so one of the things that I like to talk about more with other professionals, but as listeners to and everyday folks is what’s guiding this information, and, and I tried to steep myself as much as I can in the scientific literature about human growth and development. Right. And for those that don’t know, there is a large body of science that studies how humans grow and change, and how their relationships with their caregivers impact their sense of who they are in the world, their ability to regulate emotions, their ability to have self awareness, right. So this is a really big field of study. So it’s a growing slice of that is really trying to look at like How do children start to make sense of money? Which is your question, right? Because, right. What I know now, as a financial therapist is those earliest experiences around money, we may not even consciously remember them. But they can be definitely a driving decisions, both for ourselves and how we interact with partners. So let’s get more practical. If mom and dad sat down and talked with each other lovingly about money, and you as a little three or four year old, maybe never, you didn’t understand fully what money was, but you heard the emotion connected with the money conversation. And then you saw that repeat it when you’re seven or eight. And then at 10, or 12, when you start to understand the concepts of money. Now you have this through line that, oh, when we talk about money, we’re respectful, we’re curious, we’re empathic, we’re supportive. Right? So the relational process connected to money. There’s this nice through line that develops. But we know that a lot of families don’t grow up that way. There’s a number of reasons why families experienced financial strain and stress. Whether it’s because of its entrepreneurial ship ventures that don’t work out the way that the entrepreneur expects, or if it’s because of drugs and alcohol, if it’s because of divorce, if it’s because of some other social issue. There’s just so many factors in life in society that can make it challenging for families to navigate money. And when we’re having those challenges. Typically, we’re not having feelings of joy and gratitude and excitement and pleasure. We’re experiencing fear and anxiety and rage and sadness and shame. And so, it’s not that we should never have those experiences but if we are ironically experiencing those as kids with our families, we have an emotional uphill battle that we’re gonna need to climb to find a place of what does it feel like to feel emotionally stable, optimistic, open and curious, joyful around money. So we’re pairing emotion with money, from the very earliest stages long before we even understand intellectually what money is.

Joey Loss  10:25

I think it’s so easy to underestimate just how much emotion is lurking in the background behind every financial decision. And that’s really changed the way I operate. As I get to know clients, I probably push them to a point where they’re a little bit annoyed with me, where I’m asking so many questions about them as people are like, okay, we’re paying you when we get into the actual money part. And I’m like, this is more important that we’re going to add dollar signs later. But this is important. Because one of the things I’ve noticed, you know, just thinking about different clients stories, each of which is fascinating in their own way. You know, people tend to come in, if you imagine a center line where people are in perfect emotional balance. And they, they know exactly how much money they need to live a perfect lifestyle, they have that exact amount of money available to them on an annual basis. And everything those people don’t call right. At all, those aren’t the people that are going to call a financial planner. And that doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with the people that do. Because if I weren’t a financial planner, I would absolutely be calling, right. It’s just hard from within yourself to look at the picture objectively and draw out of you the the questions that need to be asked. And so a particular story that comes to mind is, you know, I’ve seen people where they have they sell a business, they have millions, right, they’ve been living on the cash flow from the business. And within a year or two after that business sale, it is so obvious that they are going to run out of money in five years. Because they’ve just taken the governor’s off, they feel like this money can ever be spent. And so that’s, that’s a lot, there’s a lot of digging there to help people unwind that and find a peaceful, happy point of spending. The alternative is another story that comes to mind is there’s this lovely couple I worked with for a period of time. And they, the wife had amassed about $5 million over a very successful nursing and managerial nursing career. And as we dug in, we realized that she they were able to spend as a couple, three or four times what they were spending. And I was, you know, yeah, I can tell him that from the numbers. I say, hey, look, look at these pretty charts I put together this is how much more you can spend. And nothing but anxiety went over her face, she almost went white. And I said, Can you tell me more about you know what these numbers say to you and how you feel about that. And, and so we had hours of conversation over multiple meetings from that point. And it all went back to when she was a kid her dad would spend money they didn’t have. And so it just and they they were hungry a lot. There was constant uncertainty, there’s a package of emotions that came with the uncertainty and the power, that that story had created a money script that said to her, you can never have enough. And it’s you’re irresponsible. There’s a lot of self judgment. You’re irresponsible, if you do anything that brings you anywhere close to running out of money. And so it took us a process to unwind that. Oh,

Ed Coambs  13:25

wow. That’s so powerful joy, that that word responsibility. I feel like it’s not an emotion word. Right. But it’s a belief that then gets emotion connected to it. And we can feel pride. And we can feel shame. We can feel fear, we can feel sadness when we don’t hit that response responsibility marking What does financial responsibility actually look like in action. And that’s where like getting to know the client’s story really matters because it paints in that colorful picture of, and you give these great contrast teens, clients stories. The first mean, also now we have all this money from our business. So it feels like we can spend until forever and we’ll never run out of money. And you’re looking at like, whoa, whoa, hold on five years from now you’ll be done. And then you got the other side where, hey, you have more money than you could ever live on based on your current standard of living, you could double your spending, I’m making up the number but you could double it and you would still be fine. And so it really comes from both sides. And I think that that’s a real kind of miss that a lot of people don’t fully understand is that borrow money problems can be on either side of this like overspending or underspending, you know, because you’ve talked about that mythological like perfect line of like, ideal optimal spending based on my wealth that I have and the trajectory of my life. And it’s this perfect, beautiful one. I have like, I know, I can exactly spend $120,000 A year and I will be wonderful, I won’t have too much, I won’t have too little. If at all, that’s not reality either,

Joey Loss  15:07

right? Because not all yours are the same. I mean, life just doesn’t work that way. And you know what I’m talking with older clients who are settling into retirement, one of the things I talk about is, okay, you’ve achieved the money checkbox, your new, most finite resource, not fun to think about is your mobility and your health. Right. And so if we, if we look at the next 40 years of your life, and think that it’s going to be a straight line of spending, it’s just not. And in fact, you’re probably giving up some precious life experiences, if we look at it that way. So

Ed Coambs  15:40

Joey, you were talking about the juxtaposition of these two different families, one who had built a business and had a lot of money, and then all of a sudden, kind of the spending just really open up for them. And they thought, you know, we can kind of spend without ever hitting bottom. And then the other side of someone that worked very hard to also build up wealth, but was still living at a very modest lifestyle. And they were never going to spend what they had accumulated. Nor were they ever really, maybe it fully enjoy it. And so, you know, this is I think, our role as financial planners and thought provokers is just to invite people into what is your relationship with money? Why is it working this way for you? And and we have to remain endlessly curious, too, because it’s very easy to jump to a conclusion, well, they’re being stupid, or they’re being reckless, or they don’t care. But those are all judgments, we don’t really know until we start asking good open ended questions about why they’re doing what they’re doing and what their understanding is. And I think, you know, we talked about like, as early young CFPs, it’s like, you come in, and it’s like, you think your job is to just show them all the charts on the tables and give them the answers? And then they’re gonna magically just change their behavior. But that’s not actually how it works.

Joey Loss  16:56

Right. And, and the reality is, if you were to, you know, cast some judgment on them, they already know it, and they’re probably doing it 10 times harder than whatever I could do. You know, it’s just the way we’re wired. And so, yeah, I think there’s so much truth in that. And, and curiosity is probably the most powerful tool, you know, that’s the only vocation I’ve had, it’s my, it’s my strongest weapon is just asking more questions. It

Ed Coambs  17:22

is when I think, you know, especially, you know, what I would also add as those, like, with compassion, with curiosity with empathy, right? Like, when the questions are asked from that tone, it allows people to really open up and to become more self aware and more self reflective, which you were talking about a little bit earlier in this interview is, I think a lot of people have just never really had the chance to really talk about themselves and their experiences with money, they may not recognize the significance or importance of doing it. And anytime that maybe they’ve talked about it, they’ve just received judgment or advice. Right. And, you know, like judgment, I don’t think is ever helpful advice is sometimes helpful, like, Hey, Joey, you know, should we be saving an extra $500 a month and our 401k plan to reach our goals? Well, you can run the numbers and say, Yeah, you know, what, that would actually be really good for you, you know, you’re actually doing pretty good. But, you know, outside of that is like, Well, are you concerned that you’re not saving enough? What would it mean, if you didn’t save enough? What would it mean, if you save too much, and you didn’t enjoy your life today?

Joey Loss  18:27

Right. Right. And I have kind of a footnote question on that. But it ties into the next piece, which is, you know, financial conflict is constantly listed is one of the top reasons for divorce, if not the top reason. Yeah. And so I’m curious, you know, based on your, your clinical experience, and the intersection with financial planning, what’s behind this? And why can it be so challenging for us to talk to our significant others about money?

Ed Coambs  18:56

Yeah, I think it’s a it’s a great question. I certainly have my answers to it. I think there are different conclusions, or different ways to look at this. I’m a big fan of saying, some some of this is a matter of perspective. But you know, what is? Why are couples fighting about money. And the one of the conclusions that I’ve come to is I like to look through the lens of the psychology of attachment. And just by way, if listeners haven’t heard this, as attachment theory is a study of human relatedness tie in to your first question is, how does our early caregiving experiences shape who we are and how we see ourselves in the world? And attachment theory has been studying this for decades now. And it looks at it in adulthood as well. And so I think, what I would say is why are people fighting about money is less about the money specifically and more about are we connected with each other? relationally Do you understand me? Are you there for me? Are you with me in this? Because what attachment theory helps us say is Not everyone feels secure in relationships. Well, that’s a bit of a. Yeah, no duh, not everyone feels good and intimate relationships. But it gives us some of the science and the language behind what happens when people don’t feel secure and relationships. So attachment theory says people fall into generally one of four categories of attachment or bonding. One is secure. One is anxious, one is avoidant, and one is disorganized. Now, on Facebook, there’s a lot of layers to this, but just on face value, if we listen to this secure, if I feel secure, and my partner feels secure, and who we are, as people, we generally have a positive view of ourselves and our partners, it is going to be pretty easy to enter into money conversations. And we’re going to also not feel like if we have a disagreement about what to do in our financial life or any situation that is going to threaten the relationship. Right. So you want to go on a vacation, and I want to save more money for retirement. That can be a real rub for some couples. I want to send the kids to private school, you want to send the kids to public school? I mean, you pick the topic, it doesn’t really matter. It’s about are we in this together? Are we with each other in this will you understand me will you understand me reciprocal, and the relationship? Well, so those folks like us that are they’re probably not coming to me. It’s the folks that have an avoidant attachment history. And then an anxious attachment history. I mentioned this fourth one disorganized, which is really just a combination of the two. They move back and forth in the way they experience relationships. But people that are more avoidant, as it might sound, they’re more focused on their individual relationship, they’re less close in intimate relationships, they learned in their childhood, that close intimate relationships are actually not that great. They’re not that nourishing that people don’t really understand you. So you can be in an intimate marriage or relationship and have an avoidant attachment style. It also means that you typically see yourself more favorably, and you see others less favorably power position. They tend to be more analytically oriented, as well. They shut down or minimize the role of emotion. So they want to be functional. Let’s look at the spreadsheet to make this decision.

Joey Loss  22:24

Right. And they may listen to this and say, well, Ed’s dropping all these wishy washy words. But I know if my partner would just blank. Fine, and we wouldn’t fight anymore, right? And so for people who feel that way, how, what are the next steps to start to really invite meaningful financial intimacy?

Ed Coambs  22:45

Yeah, well, and this is going to be challenging, I think to hear for for some is that first step is you may know that you already operate that way to some degree. But what I want you to invite yourself into is why you operate in that way. This is not just normal. But this is an adaptation to past caregiving experiences that you’ve had. And so what I am doing with couples, when they when one partner has that avoidant attachment style, is I’m trying to help them see and experience positive relational interaction. Oh, did you see your partner smile just now? Did you hear them ask you a loving question? Because that stuff bypasses them, a lot of the times they just don’t even see or hear. So even if the partner is being loving and thoughtful, and empathic, and all the good relational things, it can just fly over. But I will also ask them and hold them accountable for how does what you just say impact your partner challenging them to become more reflective? What do you notice happening with your partner right now? Because they’re, they’re lost in their own mind worried about themselves. And so I’m drawing them into becoming more curious about who this other person actually is not the story they have in their head about who they are. Right. So that’s the avoidant side. I’m also inviting them to continue to learn. Sometimes it’s just even learning the words that they want that they feel emotions for some really extreme cases, but then naming emotions, and then feeling emotions, actually feeling them in our body. Because emotions actually have a physical sensation connected with them. So it’s a long process. This way of relating experiencing relationships has been in their life for decades, by the time they come to see me.

Joey Loss  24:42

I was just gonna say, you know, as you talk about this, it’s so there’s such a, an important openness, it’s required. If people really want to change what’s happening in the household with their money. What I’m hearing is there’s just such a a willingness It’s an openness to try something different. And it’s gonna feel a little odd for people at first. But the but what lies beyond it is important, and it’s going to be new. You don’t necessarily know what it’s gonna look like when you start down the path.

Ed Coambs  25:13

But 100% to all know that. Yeah, yeah, it is vulnerable and risky work. And that’s what stops a lot of people from that forward progress. Because it feels uncomfortable, it feels uncertain. And you may even have some of the avoidant individual saying, Yeah, I actually really do want to get relationship, right, because what I believe about all humans is that we want to be relationally connected, right? But the winnings learned somewhere along the way, often through multiple expenses, that relationships are not nourishing or enjoyable. But they’re more utilitarian, if anything. This is where I think that people with an avoidant attachment often will partner with money over people. Because they can control Money, money doesn’t talk back to them. It doesn’t require them to be empathic. It doesn’t require them to understand their emotions. And you can stay in that abstract analytical side of things. And so that’s how I see a lot of avoidant partners interact with money.

Joey Loss  26:17

Yeah, that’s very interesting. And if I think back to client stories, I’ve seen the same. And, you know, one of the things that comes to mind is one of the things if anything gets me fired up, it’s seeing someone who sells products, you know, position their product as the Swiss Army knife to all your financial problems. And one of the things I’ve noticed is, the people most susceptible to this seem to be the ones looking for answers, but wanting to find the shortcut that doesn’t involve truly unraveling and rebuilding. What’s behind the money problems? Yeah. And that’s it makes these products sell themselves.

Ed Coambs  27:00

Well, and this, you know, I think this is a great point to come into, because I think this comes to us where money scripts, and manuscripts are these beliefs about what money can do for us that are only partially true. At least that’s how I see them, right. And there’s a lot of people that look to money as a source of salvation. And if I just commit to it, everything else, my life will then miraculously be better. And you get the product, or the net worth, or whatever the thing is, and then life is not miraculously better. Or maybe it very temporarily is but then you’re still faced with the reality of who you are in the white life is actually working.

Joey Loss  27:46

Right? Whether you’re wearing a JC Penney suit, or Versace suit, it’s still you and the suit, you know, at the end of the day, and what are the someone that comes to mind is, you know, if you’ve seen interviews of Elon Musk, he’s self admitted to being one of the most unhappy people. And he would not recommend, even though he can’t seem to stop himself from building all these ventures and pursuing massive amounts of money. He would not recommend it to anybody who wants to live a happy life, I find that so interesting.

Ed Coambs  28:16

Well, and this opens up a whole nother category. And I want to come, I want to tie this with attachment theory to some extent, right. So the other category is the anxious attachment, which these folks often feel lower self worth. And they’ll put other people on a pedestal. They’re prone to be more on the emotional side of things, and less on the logical side of things. And these are not absolute categories, or distinctives. But they’re trends and patterns. Right, and so they’re the ones typically the pursuing the relationship. So if you haven’t an anxious partner with an avoidant partner, the anxious person is always kind of chronically relationally. unhappy, because this person, the avoidant person is not there to connect with them in a way that they want. Now, some of their demands and requests become quite outlandish and pretty ridiculous. from an outsider’s perspective, but when you understand they’re trying to get relational needs met, and oftentimes, at a slightly deeper level, the way they’re trying to get it done is that at the emotional age at which they start having their needs met. Interesting, right? Because as babies, there’s a some way to get their emotional needs met, they cry, they throw temper tantrums. And mostly if you can feed them, rock them and put them back to sleep, they’re fine. Right? But they knew as kids grow and they get more sophisticated in the way they try to get their needs met, but there’s still core ways as teenagers, so on and so forth. So, you know, there’s can be a lot of growth that needs to happen for folks with these attachment injuries from an emotional perspective that didn’t have those emotional needs and the only way that we grow emotionally is through relationships, not the only way. One of the primary ways we grow is through emotionally mature relationships. So tying back to Elon Musk, I don’t know anything about his developmental backstory, right his childhood. But there are, what I do know is that there are many very successful business folks that are as drunk on business as the worst alcoholic. And they often are leaving their businesses in shambles. And people’s lives tattered while they’re growing their enterprises, seeking some ultimate sense of security, safety, validation or self worth. And yet, it just becomes more and more hollow. And if I just have a little bit more than everything will be okay. And if I just have a little bit more, and this is the pattern of addiction, you can fill in the substance or what’s also referred to as the process. And just gets more and more and sometimes more and more extreme. And so you start experiencing enough consequences that you actually have to stop and figure out how to take this internal journey in your relationship with yourself. And what’s really going on?

Joey Loss  31:07

Yeah, and I think what I know, the lines, backstory, checks out that, you know, at least the ingredients were there, for this to be a version that he became, yeah, that aligns with everything you just shared. I guess for more relatable examples. I mean, in the chapter of life that I’m currently in, my friends and I were all recently married. And so people are making the decisions about combining money or not combining money. I respect people’s wishes, but I always make a strong case for combining money. And I think you know, one of the things I’ve noticed, your relationship with research is certainly much stronger in this arena than mine. But from what I’ve seen, it seems like there seems to be a significant correlation between households that combine their money. And think about it as a team unit, versus people that keep their money separate and the success of the marriage overall.

Ed Coambs  32:02

Yes, that that is my understanding reader. The research is the success and longevity of the marriage, the satisfaction of the marriage, and the overall household wealth. Right, like how much you accumulate, are all functions of how you collaborate or don’t collaborate around your finances, how you see it, you see it as all of ours and together are yours, mine, ours. And like you, I’m not pleased anybody that’s listening, please don’t hear any judgment for wherever you’ve landed, right? But what I do want to invite you into is, what are the money stories or experiences that have led you to, this is the right way to do it. And I can guarantee you that you have had family experiences that have led you to believe that this is the best way to do it either stated overtly. I think the more the most classic one is mom’s telling daughters, you have to keep some money aside, because that’s not to be trusted with it. And that often is based in reality. Let’s be honest, these teachings are based in real experiences, oftentimes, the question is, are they still relevant for the next generation? So if there has been mistrust, in past relational experiences around money, and you’ve been conditioned to think it’s better to keep some aside for yourself, that’s very understandable. But is there a pathway that we can find to building a deep enough trust with another human to truly share and be invested in your in your life and relationship and with money, and this is coming back through attachment theory. If you have insecure attachment patterns in your life, the likelihood that you’re going to end up divorced goes way up. Right, so this is why knowing your attachment history, and your attachment style is so powerful. It’s not fun to discover this stuff. Joy, I avoided understanding this material for probably a solid couple years after I learned about it in graduate school. Because I did not want it to be true that what happened to my childhood had some influence and impact on how I grew up, how I saw myself how I experienced relationships. But man even I don’t know, last week or two weeks ago, I was like How was my anxious attachment style activated when my wife and I were newly dating, and then she moved away for residency. And I was still back in Texas and that was like, I would get really anxious when she wouldn’t call me back within a certain window of time. Because I was worried that she was going to leave or reject me. She had a higher social status job in my mind than me. So this is also that kind of one up right. So how we give our partners social status can be influenced by our attachment style, not just our gender. A gender can be another contributing factor. So sorry. I’ve gone a little bit down a rabbit hole. So bring me back, where do you want this conversation to go?

Joey Loss  35:04

No, that’s helpful, I think. You know, I’m just thinking as I listen to you about my journey with money, and I think part of what opened my eyes to this is, you know, I had the financial planning training in college, I immediately went and started doing financial planning. And over the first several years of my professional life, I built up some credit card debt, which just makes me made me feel like the biggest idiot, it’s like, nobody has less of an excuse to be in this situation than me. And part of the, you know, some of that I’ll cut myself a little slack. And then I was living in DC, it was a very high cost of living area, my salary, you know, the competition there meant coming in as a useless new financial planner, and make no money and call yourself a wealth manager. So that was part of it. But I was just, you know, I bought things that I didn’t really need. And the reason why is I didn’t have a deeper understanding of what is the long goal here, you know, what is money is role in my life. And there were undoubtedly, you know, childhood experiences and sort of unknown emotional patterns that lead to some version of retail therapy, which makes me cringe to say about myself at the time. But through, you know, a combination of resources, including coaching, a little bit of therapy and some other things, I started to realize, kind of turn everything inside out and have a much stronger sense of what was important to me and the path that it was going to take to get there. And I think looking back on the last 10 years now, what really changed, I think, was the way that secondary emotions kind of showed up and impacted or did not impact my ability to follow through on things that I cared about. And it’s only after the fact that I can say that that’s what it was. But if you tried to say that, to me, on the front side of that journey, I’d be like, What the heck are you trying to tell me right now? All I know, is I got a credit card, I just had to spend less, why isn’t it simple? As simple as that, you know?

Ed Coambs  37:12

Well, I think you really highlight something that’s so important for your listeners to pick up on right is some of what join our target today may be like, I get it, I’ve been there, I feel grateful to be on the other side, some of you may be hearing this and being like, I don’t even really fully get what they’re saying. Like I don’t quite understand it yet. And that’s okay. Because part of this journey is a learning journey. And part of that learning journey is learning how to the language that you can use to describe what’s going on with you. But it’s so much like you talking about emotions and secondary emotions. And I was like, I wonder how Joey define secondary emotions. Um, I want to check with him on that. So I’m gonna ask you about that in a second. But like, literally learning emotion words like fear, anxiety, shame, joy, they were not in my vocabulary. And I did not pair the that word with my experience or with another person’s experience. That doesn’t mean that it wasn’t happening. But I didn’t, that was not language that I actually even had. But having language to describe and identify the emotional experiences you’re having is part of mental health. Right? So if you can’t identify that you’re having this feeling emotion happen, you just, it’s just happening to you. That’s kind of a disappointing experience. Or the fact that other people may be having their own emotional experiences, and their own triggers and things that are setting them up to respond in that way.

Joey Loss  38:47

Absolutely, and without the any sort of vocabulary, or understanding of how that can happen and what might be behind there. There’s no way to look at another person who’s doing something you disagree with in your relationship and, and have any sort of empathy for it. And a curiosity, right, because it just looks like what it looks like, if you don’t have the vocabulary, and it’s not what you want it to look like. And that’s annoying.

Ed Coambs  39:15

Oh, man, isn’t it annoyed? Mad? It’s like, why give it your what’s the I think the phrase is why can’t they see it this way? What’s wrong with them? Yeah, and it’s like, maybe there’s nothing wrong with it. Maybe it’s something with you. Maybe it’s also them, but it’s like, that’s that whole empathy. The technical word that I’m coming up with is like theory of mind. And that, you know, this is super nerdy thing, but just Google theory of mind. But part of mental health is being able to imagine that this other person I’m talking with actually has their own mind, their own set of experiences. And it’s its own unique constellation. Right. And so you’re a financial planner, and I’m a financial planner, but that doesn’t mean we had all the exact same experiences or see things all the exact same way. So if you say something that’s different than the way I see it, it’s like, oh, that’s cool. I’ll know more about it. Right? Or is dangerous, threatening? And when we don’t understand that?

Joey Loss  40:16

Absolutely. And yeah, I mean, I just every time we kind of go on a aside journey in this conversation, I just come back to the power of curiosity. And I think that people are so interested in diagnosis and action, from their own hands, that when you skip this step of curiosity, you’re just, maybe you get away with it for a little while, but certainly not for long. And it shows up in the money, I just think it’s funny how money, it always boils up to the surface and the surface is money.

Ed Coambs  40:52

Well, you know, because I think money can take on every single human meaning and emotion that we have. And it does. Right? Like we as humans, we have this complex constellation of emotions and values and beliefs. In every one of them manifests through money, and on the money. We use money to express our love. For others, we use money to control people. We use money to shame people. We use money to celebrate people

Joey Loss  41:31

that are positioned ourself above people, right? I have my car in your driveway, than your neighbors and give them right, enjoy whatever that is,

Ed Coambs  41:40

and money. proximities like social status, right? This is why we are so enamored with famous people, and we give them such high position. And, you know, I mean, this opens up a whole nother conversation that, you know, I still continue to think through but at the end of the day, I think the thing that I continue to remind myself is no matter. And I’ve worked with some of the poorest people in the world have been to the Philippines, I’ve done microfinance lending, and I’ve had the chance to not work with billionaires, but certainly multimillionaires. And what I know, all the way through is they’re human.

Joey Loss  42:18

Yeah, it’s amazing how similar and you peel back the account balances. It’s how similar here, right?

Ed Coambs  42:26

They have a belief system about themselves, they have a belief system about others. That’s where we started to see difference. But they have emotions. They have feelings, physical sensations in their body. That’s where we see differences in people. Like what which ones get expressed, which ones are not okay. There’s variety there in culture and in class. Right, even emotional display rules can be conditioned based on social class. So I’m not saying that we’re all the same. No way. But we have the same underpinnings psychologically speaking, and they adapt and molded to fit our particular culture in place. Our brains are incredibly malleable to the context that we grew up in. And this is another part of that money transformation is if we grew up in one money context, and we go to another money context. Psychologically speaking, it’s no different than if you moved from the American south to the American northeast. Oh, maybe I’m still in America. But sometimes it’s like, I grew up in the American South, and now I’m living in Japan. Or I’m living in South Africa, or I’m living in Nigeria. And each money context has its own cultural context with it, its own set of language. Right. I don’t know about you, but I get into some money conversations with folks. And I’m like, I have no idea what the hell you’re talking about. Excuse my. Yeah, I mean, they may be talking about some commodities option. I’m like, and they’re, you know, so deep in and all these words, and I’m like, okay, really? No, because I don’t deal with commodities, you know, whatever the thing is. So that’s also something we want to keep in mind is that, like, it feels like there’s just this one universal language to money. But there’s dial money dialects, if you will.

Joey Loss  44:20

And there’s something that came through as you’re sharing that is, it’s so easy for us. I almost think of advice in the world of dealing with your own personal finances, is to find some tree and just stare at it, when looking at the forest is probably actually going to help you yield a better answer. But there’s so many, I mean, even just think about the Super Bowl, you’ve got DraftKings, you’ve got all these other things, right? And just like oh, man, if I just hit that parlay, you know, for good. Or that man? How awesome would that be? Or, you know, in the investing world, for a lot of us it’s usually there’s one spouse it’s more interested in investments and It can become a huge distraction and advice to just obsess over Apple or Microsoft, when the answer is actually how does my wife or how does my husband feel about this? And you know, what? Are we positioning ourselves for something that we both care about, in a way that’s going to help us follow through with this in a peaceful way? And enjoy the ride?

Ed Coambs  45:23

Yeah, absolutely.

Joey Loss  45:27

Well, I know from previous conversations, we can go on for hours. And I don’t imagine this will be the last conversation we have. I certainly hope not. Yeah, I hope not as well. But thank you so much for coming on the podcast. And I guess before we go for listeners who are interested, how can they follow or see what you’re up to? And and what work you’re doing? Yeah,

Ed Coambs  45:46

absolutely. I’m super active on LinkedIn, and Instagram, from the social media standpoint. I also have a course for couples called the couple’s guide to financial intimacy that’s on my website, healthy love and money. So if you’re like, well, some of these ideas resonate. I’m curious about developing a deeper relationship with my loved one around money. encourage folks to check that out. Absolutely.

Joey Loss  46:09

And I think it’s just so helpful to have a structured process for exploring that. And I took a look at that earlier. And I noticed, you know, it’s good for both an individual who’s just trying to figure it out for themselves and also as a couples tool.

Ed Coambs  46:22

Yeah, it’s valuable for for individuals and couples, because what I know now is, you know, individuals reach out to me and say, what you work with individual and say yes, because you’re still a relational being. You still have a family that you grew up in, you still have friendships and other people that you’re interacting with, that are shaping your mind experience. So let’s look at that.

Joey Loss  46:44

And for everybody healthy love and money is the brand of the of his podcast is firm. That’s any, any platform if you’re looking for him, that’s where you’ll find them. All right. Awesome. Well, thank you. This is fantastic. Thanks for coming on.

Ed Coambs  46:58

Thanks, Joe. I appreciate the work you’re doing with your podcast. Awesome. Thank you.

Joey Loss  47:07

Thanks for joining us. If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to subscribe to the show and share the episode of Friends or family that may find a conversation helpful or interesting. Show Notes and episode transcripts are available on my website at low financial.com/podcast. I want to give a special thanks to bow deletions for the music score and to the podcast man for producing the show. We’ll see you next time.

Disclaimer  47:31

The Wealth Unplugged podcast is sponsored by Flow Financial Joey’s Registered Investment Advisory offering Financial Planning and Investment Management services to clients across the United States. The opinions voiced in this material are for general informational purposes only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual security. To determine which investments may be appropriate for you. consult your financial advisor prior to investing. This information is not intended to be a substitute for individualized tax advice. Please consult your tax advisor regarding your specific situation.