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    January 2013
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    Make Money Decisions a Family Affair

    Tammy Johnston

    Now that you have chosen your Financial Day and started to get a handle on what exactly is going on in your financial household I highly recommend that you bring the whole family into the discussions and decisions. In most households you have one person who takes on the job of managing the money. They pay the bills, look after the investment decisions, take care of the taxes, choose the insurance, and generally handle the financial aspects of the household. While this does work in some aspects it misses a few important points.

    When we are in a financially committed relationship both people need to know what is going on and where things are. Unfortunately ugly stuff like divorce does happen and it can be financially as well as emotionally devastating. Few things are more painful the being blind-sided on the money subject. Even if the relationship is great accidents and illnesses and death also happen. If the primary “money” person is taken out of the picture is the other person knowledgeable enough to be able to step in and pick up the slack? Having a loved one out of commission is difficult on its own. Add in financial confusion and it is much worse.

    Getting input and “buy in” from all the people in the house affected by our financial decisions makes for a happier household. When everyone knows what is going on, what our resources are, what are needs are, and what choices need to be made we feel part of the solution and not left in the dark. Having different viewpoints and ideas brought up help us come up with more creative solutions. If a family wants to take a vacation and everyone knows the family budget ideas for making more money and / or saving money can be put on the table. It is a creative problem solving opportunity.

    By bringing kids in on the discussions it gives us an opportunity to teach them about the realities of life. No, money does not grow on trees, and living isn’t free. We have certain resources, certain responsibilities, and with that we have to make choices. Wealthy people talk to their kids about money regularly. It is a fact of life and when we have better knowledge about a subject we make better decisions.

    We plan and discuss so many things as a family, but unfortunately leave the financial aspects off the table. By putting them out in the open we have an opportunity to all learn and make better decisions as a unit, and eliminate a lot of stress and grief around the subject of money.

    “Many people are in the dark when it comes to money, and I’m going to turn on the lights.”
    Suze Orman

    The MONEY® Network