Financial Intimacy by Jacquette Timmons: A Book Review

by | Oct 6, 2020

Because Financial Intimacy: How to Create a Healthy Relationship with Your Money and Your Mate by Jacquette Timmons was written while the 2008 financial crisis was unfolding, its lessons feel particularly relevant in what has been, with a few exceptions, a terrible, no good, awful 2020. 

As Timmons says in the introduction, bad news forces us to pay attention to things that are easy to ignore when life is going well. If you have the capacity to use this period of:

  • Instability
  • Uncertainty
  • Fear to pay attention to yourself
  • Your relationship to money
  • (If you have one) your relationship with your partner

digging out from the debris of this year might feel healthier and more purposeful.

Like any relationship, yours with your money takes intentional work. A central tenet of this book is that your relationship with your partner requires financial intimacy to be healthy. The structure brilliantly supports this by opening on a series of honest and diverse money stories that range from heart-breaking to hope-giving. Seeing parts of your own experience reflected in the first third of the book is liberating. This will help you to begin the hard work of recognizing and reflecting on the impact of your own experience before sharing it with your partner. Then you can intentionally be building something new together.

Who should read Financial Intimacy?

Although built around the concept of creating financial intimacy with someone else, the first two-thirds of this book are designed to nurture financial intimacy with yourself. Timmons’ book is a worthwhile read whether you’re currently in a relationship or plan to be single forever. 

Financial Intimacy belongs alongside Shannon Lee Simmons Worry-Free Money and Bonnie Foley-Wong’s Integrated Investing as a foundational personal finance book everyone should read. All three books insist that you have a relationship with your money (whether you acknowledge it or not). They demand that you examine and strengthen this relationship even before standard personal finance stuff like budgets, investing, or retirement. 

If you only have time to read one chapter:

Read Chapter Two: Your Story, You, Your Money, and a Little Bit About Your Mate…and don’t just read it – pour a drink, pull out a journal, and actually answer the questions Timmons poses. At the beginning of this chapter, she writes “I believe people talk about money all the time. They are just having the wrong conversations, rarely going beyond the superficial to the substantial and significant.” 

Chapter 2 will prompt you to have a substantive and significant discussion with yourself about your own beliefs, goals, and desires for a healthy relationship with money. If you never have a partner, going through these exercises is vital. If you have or want to have a partner, going through these exercises is…you guessed it…vital. 

If you only have time to read one paragraph:

“Money is akin to having a third party in your relationship that showed up on the first date, never went away, and is constant and absolutely necessary. Money supports your lifestyle. It also amplifies what is working in your relationship as well as what needs to be worked on. It unmasks how comfortable you and your mate really are talking about money and the emotions you associate with it.”

(Chapter 3: You and Your Mate, A Framework for Financial Intimacy)

If you only have time to read one sentence:

“Questions are what got you this far, wherever that may be, and they are what will take you to the next level, whatever you want that to be”

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