Discussions about money can be difficult. Much depends on what money means to you (Power? Security? Status?) and what it means to your partner and your family members. As tough as these talks may be, they can pay off in the long run if everyone is open-minded and honest. Discuss money issues on a regular basis with these guidelines in mind:
- Take a democratic approach. Try to include everyone in financial discussions, even your children. Family members will be more supportive of decisions if they feel that their opinions have been taken into consideration.
- Identify problem areas. If your family is spending too much, try to determine the root of the problem. Maybe you’re overspending in one specific area, like eating out or buying clothing, for example, or you’re spending too much at the beginning of the month, leaving too little for the end of the month. Nail down the issue so you can address it directly.
- Watch your language. Try using “I” statements when discussing the problem, and avoid using “you” or blaming statements. For instance, instead of, “You’re spending too much whenever you get your paycheck,” you might want to say: “I get stressed out at the end of the month because we spend all our money in the first two weeks. Is there anything we can do to avoid this situation?”
- Listen to everyone. Try to validate people’s feelings. For instance, you might say: “I know going to the movies is important to you. But maybe we could spread the experience out over the pay period, rather than going to three movies in one weekend.”
- Settle on a clear solution. For instance, your agreement about movies might be: “OK, it’s settled then. No more than two movies per pay period, and no more than one movie per weekend.” Write down the agreement so it’s clear to everyone.