Family Matters: Money Edition

Derey Alston

Family Matters: Money Edition

In our society today, there is an increasing gap between the wealthy and everyone else.  In my opinion, it is extremely important that we start discussing money more in our families and within our communities.  It is even more important that we start teaching our children about money at an early age. Too many of our youth are leaving home unprepared and not knowing much in regards to financial education.  Communicating about money within our families should become the norm. Here are some tactics that you can begin to implement as you start discussing money with your family.


Listen, Listen, Listen, and then listen some more.  Listening is not only important in communicating with your family but it is vital in any form of communication.  When discussing money, you should listen to understand each other. Repeat what the other person said to assure them that you were listening.  Most people are thinking about their response, instead of listening to what the other person is saying. Listening will help you to understand how your family member feels and at the same time let them know that you care and respect their viewpoint.

Be flexible and willing to compromise

In relationships with your family, spouse, or significant other, you must be flexible and willing to compromise financially. Want to spend those coins on a new pair of shoes, but your partner is relying on you for half the rent? Rethink and compromise. Ready to throw money at those last minute concert tickets? You might need to sacrifice this immediate want for a need. It is not enough to be budget conscious. When you’re in a relationship, you have to willing to sacrifice for the betterment of your future and loved one involved.

Be honest about your money situation

As  the saying goes, “The truth will set you free.”  In discussing money with your family members, it is best, to be honest, and transparent as possible. This is even more applicable for couples who are thinking of marriage and newlyweds.  If you have a $10,000 outstanding credit card balance, it would be best to let your partner know up front instead of withholding that information. It is also critical, to be honest about how you feel about money.  Many people have different perspectives on money given their backgrounds and upbringing. Whatever the case may be, you should do your best, to be honest, and candid about how you feel.

Express your wants, needs, desires, and thoughts

In so many cases, we make money a taboo subject. There have been times where I went weeks without looking at my bank account, just because I was afraid of what I was going to see.  If you are not willing to view your own finances carefully, you are going to be less likely to communicate your feelings with other family members. In order for us to improve our financial situation, we must express our wants, needs, desires, and thoughts.  We first have to be honest with ourselves about how we feel about money. Once we are able to do that, we can work toward expressing our feelings to our family members.

Set aside a predetermined time to have money conversations

Alexander Graham Bell quoted, “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.”  If you want your family to be successful in the financial arena, then formulation is imperative.  You want to be intentional in setting aside times for you and your family to discuss money matters.  Prior to the meeting, it would be ideal to create an agenda; however, this discussion is not something you want to rush, so if need be, take extra time.  Having an open dialogue about money with your family will surely be a positive step in the right direction.

Create and discuss goals

One of the things I have learned in studying successful individuals, especially those who have become financially independent, is that they are all goal oriented.  It isn’t enough to say that you and your family want to have a lot of money and be financially stable. You should take it several steps further and come to establish rough estimates.  In regards to accumulating money, philosopher, speaker, and author, Earl Nightingale recommends coming up with three figures. The amount of income that you expect to earn annually, the money that you would like to have saved, and the amount of money you wish to have for retirement purposes (Which should be a dollar amount of income you expect to receive monthly/annually through the duration of your retirement).

Challenges and obstacles will occur

Whether you have a normal family or dysfunctional one, challenges and obstacles are likely to rise.  When your family does encounter these roadblocks, make sure you address them and communicate during the process.  The worst thing that you can do, sweeps any issues under the rug. Remember to keep an open dialogue with your spouse, children, parents, or anyone involved.  

Creating these money discussions within your household is a great action step in your journey toward financial success.  In any relationship, whether it be business, family, or otherwise, communication is a major key. It’s no secret that many marriages end in divorce, largely due to finances or a lack thereof.  You can save yourself and your family a lot of trouble simply by communicating about money early and often.

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Family Matters: Money Edition