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When pursuing sex, love and relationships, it is critical for you to learn to screen out relationship prospects who are unhealthy for you, and to effectively communicate with those who prove qualified to engage in healthy, intimate relationships. That includes financial intimacy.

4 Financial Languages: The Secrets to Communicating About Money by Tarra Jackson, is an excellent resource designed to help you do just that. Not only am I recommending it as a strong addition to our Grown Zone Book Shelf, I was also honored to write the following foreword for the book:

Let’s get one thing straight from the beginning:

I am a purpose driven saver, with scaredy-cat saver tendencies.

Had I known this before I married the first time, when I was 26, I would have avoided the steep emotional and financial costs of both that union and a subsequent one. (I am now happily married to my wife and GrownZone.com Co-Creator Zara D. Green.) It is a commonly accepted reality that financial conflicts are the most common characteristic, whether as a symptom or the cause, of failed and dysfunctional romantic relationships, including marriages. The experiences of my first two marriages absolutely conformed to that reality—conflicting values and relationships with money between me and my erstwhile partners made establishing healthy, sustainable partnerships impossible.

I know that, in both cases, while we may have been speaking standard American English, we were speaking—and hearing—totally different financial languages. As we say in the Grown Zone, the consequences of unhealthy relationships are far more than just hurt feelings and broken hearts—the financial costs of a single failed marriage cycle, from courtship through divorce, routinely exceeds $100,000 for each person in the relationship, and far more than that for high-income/high-net worth individuals. I estimate that, in my case, the financial costs of my first two marriages—above and beyond the emotional and psychological toll—easily exceeded $350,000. And I’ve seen those costs spiral into multiple millions of dollars for the entrepreneurs, moguls and senior-level corporate leaders whose stories I have chronicled during the more than three decades (and counting) as a journalist, editor and executive at Black Enterprise. This is a major reason why the longest chapter in Loving In The Grown Zone, the critically acclaimed book about healthy relationships co-authored by my wife Zara and I, is all about financial decision making.

The critical importance of recognizing the impact of relationship choices on financial outcomes, as well as of financial decisions on the health of relationships—especially those involving sex, love and marriage—is also why I am such a huge fan of and believer in Tarra Jackson, going back to when I first read her book Financial Fornication: Avoid Financial and Credit Dis-Ease. If genius is the ability to distill complex concepts into a form comprehendible and of practical use to everyone else, then Tarra’s brilliance will be apparent to you as you experience the elegant and immediately actionable simplicity of The 4 Love Languages: The Secrets To Communicating About Money.