Is Money the Root of All Evil?

Posted by Leticia, 15 Jul 06

Did you know most relationship issues, marriage issues and ultimately divorces start with arguments about money? Listen in as Todd Creager gives you some sound advice how to avoid those arguments and establish some ground rules whether you are single, dating or already in a committed relationship.

Dr. Wright:
This is Dr. Letitia Wright for idcdating.com. IDC dating is where we're creating multicultural relationships everyday. Today, our podcast is with Todd Creager. Let me tell you a little bit about Todd Creager. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist. He's also a licensed clinical social worker. He works with premarital couples and couples on making their relationships better. Welcome to the podcast Todd.

Todd:
Thank you.

Your perfect partner could be online right now...

What are you looking for?

Dr. Wright:
We're going to be talking about couples and money today because one of the things whether you're dating or you are already a married couple, money is a really big deal and it's really important to bring everything together and make the relationships work. We want to talk with you about that.

Todd:
That's great. Many people believe and experts believe that money is really one of the top reasons why couples get divorced even above sex and kids and everything else.

Dr. Wright:
I see. What is it about money that above everything else is so difficult? It's difficult for people to talk about it. It's difficult for people to come to agreements and resolve issues about it. What is the big mystery?

Todd:
Money is not just about money. It represents a lot of things. It represents power, self worth, territoriality, and we're not really taught how do we deal with the fact that we're individuals but now we have to be a couple. We need to be a we. Money speaks to all those challenges. Really, there's a lot of hidden things it represents that people don't talk about.

Dr. Wright:
Okay. We don't talk about it in our family, so we never really...

Todd:
Right.

Dr. Wright:
We see our parents dealing with it but we don't really see it.

Todd:
Exactly.

Dr. Wright:
We don't see it enough to really learn the life lesson.

Todd:
That's right.

Dr. Wright:
If we're just a dating couple and we're beginning to come together and begin to mesh our life together, what are some of the things that we need to consider?

Todd:
What are the things we what?

Dr. Wright:
Want to consider?

Todd:
First of all, if we are getting married, we need to consider what is important to us; what are our values. How do I see what I want to do with my money? How much do I want to set aside for retirement? Do I want to go on vacation? Is that important to you? What are our values? Most people don't talk about it so they just get married and they start to live their lives and they have conflict and they don't realize that this is really something that we need to talk about beforehand.

Dr. Wright:
Okay. While we're dating, we need to figure out our values. What do we do? Do I sit across the table and say, "Hi! What are your values?" How do we even bring up this conversation?

Todd:
Probably you want to skip that conversation on the first date, but definitely at some point as the couple is starting to get more and more committed to each other and maybe when they're engaged, or when it just definitely seems like it's going to be imminent that we're going to get together, maybe move in together or get married, we do need to talk about it. What are we going to do about money? We have so many unresolved issues. What do I want to use my money for? What do you want the money to be used for?

Dr. Wright:
Okay. That's one area to be really clear of, how you use money, how I use money, and making sure that everybody can get their needs met I guess.

Todd:
Correct.

Dr. Wright:
Okay.

Todd:
Right.

Dr. Wright:
As couples, when you're counseling couples and they're complaining about money, do you find that they've never done this in the first place so that's the problem?

Todd:
Yes. Absolutely yes. That is the problem. For example some people their fear might be that they'll be taken advantage of. Maybe one person comes in to the relationship with a lot more money or assets than the other, so there may be a fear that they'll be taken advantage of, but they don't really want to admit that because that's not being a good guy. They'll try to (inaudible) meanwhile those feelings are building up in them. They need to talk about it. Talk about the tough stuff which I know we tend to avoid but it eventually catches up with us, so we need to talk about the tough stuff. How do we mingle our money? I have all this money, how can we both feel like we're both contributing even though I'm coming in with a lot more than you? Then the person that doesn't have as much may start to feel like their being controlled by the other person if they've ferreting out just a little bit of money. How do we do this so that you don't feel like I'm ripping you off but I don't feel like I'm in a cage.

Dr. Wright:
Okay. And figure out what to do. Now, when we're dating and I'd like to go back and forth between the dating and couples because on IDC dating, we have people who are dating and we have people who are committed couples. After we've kind of talked about where we want the money to go, do we need to talk about specific practices like I may have a savings that's automatically deducted, or do you really get into specifics on exactly how to do it or just general, what do you think?

Todd:
I think every couple is different. I know for example with my wife and I, we never have those kinds of conversations, it just didn't seem to matter.

Dr. Wright:
Okay.

Todd:
We both came into the marriage working and making money, independent and it really didn't matter. Then when she stopped working and we started having kids, just what's mine was hers and what's hers is mine and she's pretty good with money. I didn't have to worry about her overspending, so there's really never been a conversation in our house, but for some couples, it depends. One person may tend to... Let's say you're dating someone and you see that that person tends to spend more money than they have. They have a high credit card bill, you already see those patterns and you're concerned about it. You better talk about it because now that you're merging funds, that person needs to work on that aspect of his or her personality so that there isn't resentment that builds up.

Dr. Wright:
What's happening with the person who is consistently spending a lot more than what they make?

Todd:
Usually people overspend for several reasons. One is that it may be that it's my way to feel important. Maybe if I buy fancy clothes that aren't needed but maybe I didn't get enough attention as a kid, sounds like a psychological jargon there when I say that, but that's pretty much what happens. This is the way I build my self esteem, so some people will shop for self esteem. Some people will oftentimes shop as they get caught up in this power struggle with a partner that maybe a little bit too controlling, sort of like "I'll show you. I'll spend whatever the heck I want." That could be another reason. Another is just like any other addiction. It could be a way to just soothe our stress and make ourselves feel better. The person has to learn ways to deal with it because it's a big problem. I've had couples come in where the husband finds out or the wife finds out that the spouse has spent thousands and thousands of dollars, and that's very damaging to the relationship.

Dr. Wright:
Very damaging to the relationship.

Todd:
Because it's not only the money, it's feeling betrayed.

Dr. Wright:
Yes.

Todd:
It's like an affair.

Dr. Wright:
Yeah. It's like well, all of our assets are gone and I didn't even know.

Todd:
Yeah.

Dr. Wright:
We have to be very, very eyes wide open in our relationships while we're enjoying this person but we have to make sure that we understand their patterns and we know what we're looking at.

Todd:
Yeah. You want to come up with some budget. Most of us need some kind of a budget which includes tracking the spending. That really is helpful to know where your money is going. That's just good for anybody especially when they're first starting out. Many times, when people first start out, they don't have a lot of money or they're not making as much money as they'll be making 10 or 20 years from now probably. It's important to start out that way and come up with some spending and saving goals and guidelines. Then you want to let your partner manage his or her own spending money. You want to try to set it up where both people are agreeing to be responsible because the last thing you need is one person overlooking and micromanaging the other person. That's where money issues become about power and it could be ways to act out anger and power issues in the relationship. You want to talk about it, make agreements that feel right to both people and then hopefully let each person monitor themselves. That's the best way to do it.

Dr. Wright:
It really doesn't matter how little you have to work with; people still need to have freedom even if it's just 10 bucks a month. It's their 10 bucks a month that they can do whatever they want with it.

Todd:
Yes. Each person has to have some sense of "Okay, I have some choice. I have some power here." Like I said, usually the money issues aren't really about money per se, it's what it represents to us on a deeper level, the power issues, "I don't have any control," "You don't care about me," all those things that money can represent.

Dr. Wright:
It can very easily go into you don't care about me, that sentence.

Todd:
Yes. Right. If you cared about me, you'd let me buy my next pair of shoes.

Dr. Wright:
Right. When you're working with couples, what are the points that it's like this thing is not going to work because the two can't come together? At what point do you look at that?

Todd:
Oftentimes what will happen is when one person, we try to avoid that as much as possible, but one person may just be they're so wrapped up in themselves. Like let's say they have what I would call a narcissistic personality pattern where it's all about them and they can't see that what they're doing is hurting the other person. But my job is to help them recognize that. It's in your best interest to not be so stubbornly holding on to your way. That if you're going to be in this relationship, it's in your business just to give a little bit. Some people need to give a little bit by letting go of money and some people need to give a little bit by saying no to themselves and holding on.

Dr. Wright:
Okay.

Todd:
If a person's unwilling, absolutely unwilling to let go more or hold on more, whatever their issues are, then you got to go into self protective mode and it's not good. But let's say the person who is more of the saver and more of the money watcher may have to just treat their spouse like a child. Take all their credit cards away and say "okay, this is the way I'm going to do it." But that leads to more problems.

Dr. Wright:
Right.

Todd:
Because now you're taking away their freedom, but on the other hand, it's sort of like an adolescent who keeps coming home late on their curfew and then getting mad at their parents because the parents are giving them restrictions. That's the same thing. You can't fault the parents for giving you restrictions if you're not following the curfew.

Dr. Wright:
Right.

Todd:
We say with responsibility, you get freedom. You have to do that with adults too.

Dr. Wright:
Right.

Todd:
Ultimately, the worst scenario is the person says I can't live with you anymore and they breakup.

Dr. Wright:
All of that really can be avoided if we just work it out ahead of time.

Todd:
Yes. Most of the time, when I'm working with couples, I find that as soon as they understand that this is not so much about money but it's about feelings, fears for example, and angers, then they start to realize it. They start to deal with these feelings in a different way because that's what happens with money. People use money to work out their conflicts and it's not the best way to workout their conflicts. They need to understand...

Dr. Wright:
Let's go over that. Let's slow down right there.

Todd:
Sure.

Dr. Wright:
People use money to work out their conflicts.

Todd:
Yes. The person for example feels like they aren't respected by the other person, then they may act out by spending. If a person is afraid, maybe a person came from a family where their parents never had any money, then he makes some money, this is the man, he may have a tremendous fear of becoming poor, hitting the poverty line because maybe he went through that with his family. So when he's being too controlling, the spouse may say "you really are trying to control me" and I help the spouse to understand he's just in a panic mood and help the person who is very fearful to get to relax and remember that this is a new situation, a new relationship. You need to let go more and help them become uncomfortable in a sense so that they're not so uncomfortable later when the wife finally says "I've had enough of this."

Dr. Wright:
Right.

Todd:
They have to learn to stretch beyond their own fears. Yeah, once the couple realizes that the money issue is usually more about something else, their perceptions of each other soften up and they begin to compromise more where maybe before they didn't.

Dr. Wright:
Okay. What kind of language can we use with our loved ones? Do we go "I see that you're trying to compensate, so I'm going to give you a little slack." Do we want to put it like that or are there some words we can use to acknowledge, but yet kind of soften our response?

Todd:
Yeah. Probably as I talk with you, I'm thinking that simplistically, the money problems usually happen when one person may be letting go too much or one person is holding on too tight. Let's say the person who is holding on too tight and the spouse wants to talk to them. "I know that it's not your intention to make my life miserable, but you are. I know it is because you're really afraid. You're just afraid." Or the person can ask "what do you think? What's the worst thing that could happen if I spend money more than you think I should?" Let the person speak and if the spouse can listen, "I understand that's how you feel, I do, and I know that's what happened. You saw your mom put you all into bankruptcy but I'm not your mother and I promise you if you let go somewhat, I'll manage. I could even show you this. If you find in two months that I'm putting us into bankruptcy, then that's a problem, but it's not going to happen." You want to talk to that person with a sense of first of all your intentions are not bad. You're not trying to make my life miserable even though you are. But really, let me reassure you it's going to be okay. I mean that's really what you want to do to the person that's holding on too tight. Just speak plain English. So basically, the formula is this is how I'm feeling. I'm guessing this is how you're feeling because you don't really want to make me miserable but let me reassure you, how you would talk to the person who lets go too much and spends too much is a similar thing. You'd say "I know you're not really wanting to make me anxious. I know that's not your desire, to make me feel terrible about what's going to happen with our future. However, the way you're spending is making me very anxious and I need your help." We don't usually say things like that. We usually scold. "You're spending too much." Or "you're just so cheap." We judge and we...

Dr. Wright:
I'm sorry if it makes me laugh. "You're so cheap."

Todd:
"You're so cheap!"

Dr. Wright:
But something to that extent.

Todd:
If you said to someone "you're so cheap." That person is going to say "Well, okay, I'll be nice to you." No. They usually just get cheaper.

Dr. Wright:
(Inaudible) less.

Todd:
You think I'm cheap, watch this. You want to just basically say make typical communication 101, I statements. I am feeling anxious. I need this from you. When a person hears the phrase "I need," they're less apt to get defensive and they may not stick their heels in a little deeper. They might be able to start to move "you need me. You need me to be more responsible because you're anxious. You're not doing this because you're trying to control me. Okay."

Dr. Wright:
Right. Once we understand our mate's angst and really, really how they're feeling, it's kind of easier to not hold on so tight, and make a compromise.

Todd:
Right. Sometimes the person is able to do it, sometimes you do need a third person like a therapist to coach to help people move because people cling to their comfort levels and oftentimes what makes one person comfortable makes the spouse or the girlfriend or boyfriend very uncomfortable. We've got to share in the discomfort somehow and that sometimes we could do it on our own and sometimes we need some assistance on that.

Dr. Wright:
We can definitely dissipate it a little bit and then if we're still not making progress, then we just need to sit down with a professional and we'll work it out.

Todd:
Absolutely. But many people can try to really work this out on their own and recognize that we have to grow up and mature. We can't insist that it's going to be all our way because it's all my way, then it's not your way at all and that's not going to work in a couple.

Dr. Wright:
Okay.

Todd:
Eventually, you're going to get back at me somehow.

Dr. Wright:
Okay. That's great advice. This has been Dr. Letitia Wright. I've been here with Todd Creager. We've been talking about dating and money, couples and money because IDC dating is where we create multicultural relationships everyday and people have got to figure out how to work with money. I am very glad that we've had Todd Creager on the line. He is also found at Toddcreager.com. Would you spell that for us?

Todd:
T-O-D-D-C-R-E-A-G-E-R.com.

Dr. Wright:
.Com. You can find him if you need to talk with him, to move your relationship forward or just want to talk with him about yourself. You don't have to talk about the relationship, he is available. Thank you so much for joining us.

Todd:
You're welcome.

Dr. Wright:
Thank you for listening. Again, this has been idcdating.com relationship podcast and we've been talking about money and couples. This is Dr. Letitia Wright. Remember, ignoring one's conscience is neither safe nor right. I'll see you next time.

Responses to "Is Money the Root of All Evil?"

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  1.   Cocokisses says:
    Posted: 09 Feb 07

    Its paper that I want more of!

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  2.   texasbest says:
    Posted: 12 Jan 07

    Money is just paper...

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  3. Posted: 09 Jan 07

    Its very sad our world has come to this...

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  4.   Fala says:
    Posted: 09 Jan 07

    If money is the root of evil - does that make me an angel since I don't have any?

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  5.   Coco says:
    Posted: 08 Jan 07

    Money is only evil when you don't have any!

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  6.   JohnMW says:
    Posted: 23 Dec 06

    The first or second thing that I'm always asked when meeting someone new is, "What do you do for a living?" Which really means how much do you make. I no longer try to date because of the money thing. I'm disabled and have a very small fixed income. Women do not see me as an option because of my lack of income.

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  7.   sweetest1 says:
    Posted: 20 Dec 06

    I agree with Fala---X-mas has nothing to do with presents...giving or getting!!

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  8.   fala says:
    Posted: 18 Dec 06

    Money is definitely the root of all evil during the holidays. People are so busy trying to buy the perfect gift that they forget what the holidays are all about.

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  9.   mossimo36 says:
    Posted: 13 Dec 06

    Great interview...money is a big issue for a couple but not that difficult to work through with compromise.

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  10. Posted: 13 Dec 06

    I COULDNT AGREE MORE

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  11.   gms77 says:
    Posted: 04 Dec 06

    nO THE love OF money is the evil aspect!

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  12.   yoby says:
    Posted: 02 Dec 06

    money is just something we all need for living , nothing more then that!

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  13. Posted: 20 Nov 06

    of course it is. money is what makes the world go around.

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  14.   Coco says:
    Posted: 20 Nov 06

    Seriously, make your money work for you. It only seems to be evil when those who don't have it, want it, and those who have it allow their greed to make them want more. Seems like a vicious cycle to me.

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  15.   JADE74 says:
    Posted: 19 Nov 06

    Money is not evil.Its loving money more than anything else.

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  16.   marquez097 says:
    Posted: 08 Nov 06

    Its amazing what money does to people. It turns them into things they are not and usually shouldnt be.

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  17.   whytb0y says:
    Posted: 01 Nov 06

    money is the root of evil , it makes people freedy , it changes those who suddenly get it , people steal kill and lie to get it , companies destroy lives and land to make more money(profits)

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  18.   yoby says:
    Posted: 13 Oct 06

    well money is money love is love truth is thruth

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  19.   RayneDelay says:
    Posted: 05 Oct 06

    Ignorant greedy people are the root of all evil.

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  20.   embraceme says:
    Posted: 02 Oct 06

    money is the root of all evil look at what money has done to some of the men .. lets take a closer look ok... now it takes money to buy a hoe lol.. it takes money to gamble.. it takes money for a man to get a wwoman..hmmmm.. ok for women it takes money to buy fake ass hair nails and breast and lord knows what ever else she wants.. i think this world needs to do away with money and give freely from their hearts lol.. yeah i know not going to happen.. just a thought lol

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  21.   Sweetheart says:
    Posted: 24 Sep 06

    I agree with Jade. What really makes me upset people misuse the verse from the bible. Read 1 Timothy 6:10

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  22.   sweetest1 says:
    Posted: 24 Sep 06

    Money comes and goes... it doesn't break up anything!! It's what PEOPLE do with money that causes issues!!! Stop blaming inanimate object for your problems people-- you control your money and what you do with it... we make the decision who we marry and have to live with our decisions every day... people blame bad decisions on money because its ewasier than saying 'dang I messed up!!'

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  23.   JADE74 says:
    Posted: 22 Sep 06

    Money is not the root of evil,its how its used that makes it evil.But anything can be evil.

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  24.   Natural72 says:
    Posted: 21 Sep 06

    Well I believe the LACK of money is the root of evil.

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  25.   euroecuboy says:
    Posted: 18 Sep 06

    I think money is a root of most evil, from my experience

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  26.   iceburger says:
    Posted: 17 Sep 06

    Some people actually for in love with the money one has, and lie to them that they love them. Once married, it becomes the root of all troubles.

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  27.   mossimo36 says:
    Posted: 14 Sep 06

    Great article...I enjoyed it thoroughly. All the riches in the world pale in comparison to the thought of finding my true love...

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  28.   EMBRACEME says:
    Posted: 13 Sep 06

    I THINK THAT PEOPLE SHOULD WORRY LESS ABOUT WHAT YOU GOT AND WHAT YOU CAN GIVE ME AND SPEND MORE TIME ON GETTING TO KNOW THE HEART OF THOSE INVOLVED.. LOVE ISNT AND SHOULDNT BE EVER ABOUT MONEY OR THINGS OF THIS WORLD.. TO FIND A LIFETIME OF HAPPINESS ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS STRIP AWAY THE THINGS OF THIS WORLD AND STAND NAKED AND SEE OPEN YOUR HEART AND GIVE YOURSELF ALL TO ONE PERSON AND SEE AND FEEL THE LOVE..

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  29.   Fala says:
    Posted: 12 Sep 06

    People worry too much about money. It's more trouble than it's worth.

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  30.   auroraxxx says:
    Posted: 12 Sep 06

    another valuable article

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  31. Posted: 10 Sep 06

    Isn't it the LOVE of money?

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  32.   Dora says:
    Posted: 07 Sep 06

    I think more should read this article. I know so many people that have had great difficulties resolving their money issues, including myself.

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  33.   maria says:
    Posted: 30 Aug 06

    money is indeed the root of all evil, a woman had to cheat on her husband to get the money for her son's medical bills when her husband travelled overseas and falled to support them. she wouldn't have done it if she didn't needthe money so badly.

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  34.   Coco says:
    Posted: 28 Aug 06

    I don't think money is the root of all evil if you know how to use it. I am a single parent who has a beautiful home, car, job, I actually have good credit! I spent a lot of time when I was in my 20's trying to make my money work for me. I took lots of classes, and now I am debt free and loving it. I even have a great college fund for my daughter who wants to go to Harvard or Princeton. If you know how to work that cash, there is nothing evil about it if you are making your life better in the process!

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  35.   Justice4all says:
    Posted: 23 Jul 06

    The article while good reading is completely off base, money is NOT the root of all evil, nor is the LOVE OF money the root of all evil. Money is just evil's tool the root of all evil is knowledge. FOLLOW ME... If you take a bill any bill (one, five, ten, or twenty) lay it in front of you it will do absolutley nothing, it only becomes dangerous when someone picks it up, with (evil) intent to use it. Money takes the place of everything we as humans hold dear to us (honesty, respect, loyalty, trust etc.) Think about it.. name one thing that money itself has created. Still thinking aren't you! Well you might as well stop because you won't be able to come up with an answer. Everything on this earth was created by man's hands! Money is an everyday reminder of just how weak the human race has become, We depend on it instead of each other, and since we've fooled ourselves into beleiving that we can't survive without it, when it's included in a relationship (personal, or business) the end result is usually very drastic, because unfortunatly when and if the money runs low so does the love!

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  36.   Pumpken says:
    Posted: 20 Jul 06

    This note came at the perfect time, as I am in a money issue with someone whom our relationship has been mostly via online and we are planning a meeting. The money issue as already reared it's ugly head. You gave some excellent advise that I am going to use from now on. Using the phrase "I need", and what it represents is a useable approach to take as you've pointed out.

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  37.   steele says:
    Posted: 18 Jul 06

    We all need money to get on with our day to day living so money can't be the root of all living. Its when money becomes our God, thats when we start having problems. Therefore let me just say that its the LOVE of money thats the root of all evil!

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