In many areas of our lives we share struggles and triumphs with others, but our financial lives remain secret. Why? I think a lot of it has to do with shame. Everyone is comparing their own financial fitness with the parts of their friends and neighbors financial lives that they chose to share – the good part. It’s likened to viewing someone’s Face Book page and believing that the slew of smiling moments with groups of friends and family is a fair representation of their life. That’s not their life – that’s what they want you to see!
Talk to your kids – In our line of work we get the inside scoop on how many households with varied degrees of wealth and income, manage their affairs. One thing that is evident – wealthy families are more likely to teach their heirs about money management. If financial security and the skills to be self-supporting are important to a family, they will talk about it. Too many kids leave home to go to college without understanding basic financial rules of thumb: What portion of your income should your rent be? When is it smart to use credit to make a purchase? How much of your income should be saved?
Talk to your friends – When you show up authentically in a relationship, you accomplish two very important things – you make yourself teachable and you allow room for the other person to be authentic. When you are young and it’s hip to be broke, everyone is broke, but one friend gets a good job and buys a fancy car and then you stop talking about your finances. If you knew the truth, you might find that they are more broke than you. While you are living paycheck to paycheck, they owe more than they will make for the next six months!
Talk to your spouse (and your spouse to be) – It is interesting how we will date someone, become physically intimate, and even meet their friends and family without ever knowing their credit score or bank balance. Then we fall in love and resent our partner for their past financial flaws. What would be so wrong with talking about those things early in the ‘getting to know you’ stage? And how many marriages that have underlying financial problems wind up in divorce? More than those that don’t – financial stress is one of the common factors found in relationships that suffer from the big three: abuse, addiction, and adultery. Developing open and frank financial conversations in the beginning of the relationship is healthy. At the point when you decide to live together, creating a household budget will foster honesty and collaboration in financial matters.
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