All in the Family

Family Dinner TableWhy is it that communicating with those we love the most can often be so difficult? Talking with our spouses, our parents and our kids about money can be difficult for any number of reasons. More often than not it evokes unpleasant memories from childhood.

Most of us have been taught that it is not polite to talk about money, politics or religion. It has often been said that money is the root of all evil. So with that in mind I’d like to share a series of tips on how to take the sting out of our conversations about money. I will leave you with your own thoughts in regard to politics and religion.

Money causes more strife than just about anything else. I encourage you to reflect on your personal reactions when it comes to talking about money.  Enjoying an honest and open communication style about money is the first step toward freedom from financial stress. When we are stressed about money we tend to do just the opposite. We withdraw, shutdown and clam up, shutting out those we care about.

The family dynamic is a complicated thing. Our own parents may not have had a healthy relationship in regards to money or maybe it was simply not talked about in the house growing up. Parents sometimes want to shelter their kids from financial concerns and thus only discuss family finances behind closed doors. Parents want to feel as if they are still in control. Some parents may be concerned that their kids will judge them harshly or worse take advantage of them. Some seniors don’t want to burden their kids so they pretend that they have everything under control.  While some adult children don’t want their parents to worry so they try to hide their economic reality.

The list goes on. Relationships between siblings bring their own set of challenges. In a lot of families parents tend to rely on the eldest child but this is not always the best choice. Sibling rivalry is a very real thing, trust me. I too have brothers and sisters and money has proven to be a difficult topic for us. Some of you may feel embarrassed or ashamed depending on your current financial situation. Our financial past can have a big impact on our financial future. You may have worked really hard to get out of previous financial distress and are afraid of slipping back into old habits or repeating past mistakes so you become defensive. You may be one of the many success stories and are proud of your financial management skills. If that’s the case then good for you!

We don’t live in a vacuum so that puts us all in the relationship business. Healthy relationships require honest and open communication.  As financial professionals we see how difficult it is for our clients to talk to each other about their financial future, their hopes and dreams as well as their fears. In this series I will look to explore ways to educate your kids about money and hopefully change the course of your family’s money future. I will provide insight on talking with spouses and significant others about all things financial and some thoughts in regards to our aging parents and their money wishes.

Part 1 of 4

Part 2:  Your Aging Parents and Money
Part 3:  Raising Financially Savvy Kids
Part 4:  Yours, Mine and Ours

photo by: Arbron

About Mary Jo Lyons

Mary Jo Lyons, CFP® is a registered assitant with extensive expertise in designing financial strategies to help clients achieve their financial goals. Have a financial question? ASK MARY JO!

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