• Is your financial management and family management to work together?

  • It is well documented that money is one of the biggest catalysts for marriage problems. I believe the root of money problems in marriage is directly linked to a lack of communication on the subject coupled with differences of opinion by husband and wife or all members of the family. Differences of opinion are to be expected. All of us have different opinions about money, especially how it should be spent. Not appreciating other people's opinions about money leads to problems in the family, but mostly problems are attributable to a lack of communication about opinions. Unfortunately, instead open discussion about opinions are re replaced with sporadic, inflammatory, arguments where we defend our opinion.

    Arguments about money can often be avoided by having an open discussion about the goals of the family. The title of this article asks the question, "Are the financial manager and family manager working together?" In reality, these roles should not be held by separate individuals, but decisions for both should be made together. What often occurs is that responsibility for the family and responsibility for finances are assigned to individuals. Typically, the mother is busy taking care of the home and children while the father assumes responsibility for financial concerns. Each goes about their role, developing goals and plans as they see fit, independent of the other. In this situation, we now have a father with a fine plan to retire early and be happy, and a mother executing a fine plan to have a happy home and responsible well developed children. However, the two plans have not been properly merged. Now, when father sits down to update the finances, he sees a long list of expenses which in no way contribute to his long term retirement plan. This may include things like a new pair of shoes for little Johnny, a new pair of jeans for Suzie, Soccer team dues for Bobbie, and a trip to the day spa for Mother. Mother sees these as a necessity for Johnny, a confidence boost to Suzie, a developmental opportunity for Bobbie, and a necessary rest for herself.

    Is your financial management and family management to work together?

    What may happen now is that Father is frustrated that his hopes and plans for future wealth are fleeting, driven by influences out of his control. He attempts to regain control by initiating a conversation on the subject which escalates as Mother defends per point of view. This battle will be hard fought because both believe that what they are doing is right, but right for whom? The plan would be right for everyone involved if the familial and financial goals had been developed together by both the mother and father. Together both consider the needs of a healthy family and enjoyment, but also prepare for the future. If you feel like your goals are not being met and find yourself becoming more frustrated, then it is probably time to have a discussion with your spouse. This mutual discussion should be about goals, not about needing more money or about the budget strucutre. Sit down together and each write down what goals you have for retirement, for your home, goals for the children, etc. With written goals in mind a budget becomes meaningful because it becomes the map to meeting your goals. Create a budget with those goals in mind, making sure to allocate adequate money to meet the intangible goals of today as well as setting aside adequate money for the future. If possible, make saving money for the future automatic. This can be done through automatic paycheck deductions or through automatic transfers from your bank account. Automation is the easiest way to save and one of the simplest budgeting practices you can do, because if the money has already been transferred, it is not available to spend.

    In summary, remember that your opinions about how the family and finances should be handled are different than your spouse's opinions. Each of you grew up in different circumstances and has somewhat different goals for the future. A better family environment can be created by understanding the background and goals of your spouse. With this understanding, work together to meld all of your goals into a physical plan to be accomplished, and then design a monthly budget that meets these goals. By following this budget, your family can now work toward a clearly definable goal, and have harmony in the home, as it becomes the responsibility of each family member to ensure that everyone is achieving the goals of the plan.

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    Dr. Hoopes is an entrepeuner and an avid writer about money management. Follow the link to discover how much more there is to the Sweetly You Bath Body Company.
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