Do you talk about money with your family?
Today, I want you to think about the conversations you do have with your partner and with your children and the impact that talking about money (or not talking about it) can have on your family finances.
To me, there are two different types of conversations you should be having about money.
The first is with your partner and they need to be more in-depth than the conversations you probably already have. Mr Frugal and I have never really discussed money in that much detail – we have a joint account and I oversee most aspects of our financial life. It’s me doing it for no other reason than I’ve always been the one with more interest in doing it so I’ve happily taken control and not really kept poor Mr Frugal up to speed on most things.
Over the past year or so, we’ve really made a conscious decision to make it more of a joint role. We decided that we both earn the money and we both spend the money so we should both be involved in managing it on a day to day basis.
Obviously that’s meant talking more about money and more about what we want from life – including retirement plans and what we’d do if the worst happened and one of us was left alone. We’ve worked together on a filing system so we know where everything is and we sit together once a month and file anything that’s come in during that month.
We’ve also made some investment decisions and actually have some long term goals now so we know we’re both on the same page working towards the same thing.
This has only happened since we’ve been talking more about money.
The second sort of money conversation I’d recommend having is with your children because you really need to get them talking about the subject openly so you can guide them into a sensible approach to budgeting that they can carry with them through their lives.
When our two were younger, we used to set a budget for the Summer Holidays for example and then discuss as a family what to spend it on. We asked them to decided things line whether we wanted one big trip out or lots of smaller ones and whether we wanted to try and do things that were free as much as possible to make our money stretch further.
Pocket money is another discussion point that we’ve revisited a few times during family discussions with the kids. At one point, Miss Frugal came to us and explained that she didn’t think she was getting as much pocket money as her friends were and that she would like a raise. We negotiated a raise with her that had some conditions attached that have really helped her with her budgeting.
My thoughts are that if you don’t talk about money enough as a family then you’re not helping your children get an all round understanding of how money works. One afternoon, back in April when Becky from Family Budgeting and I were sat drinking a cuppa in a country cottage in Wales, we discovered that we both thought the same thing. We decided to do something about it that afternoon and sat together and wrote a list of 48 questions designed to get you and your family talking.
The questions don’t have answers but they do encourage you to consider, as a family how you make, spend and save your money which in turn will help you to develop a problem-solving approach to money management and to hopefully take positive action to make a difference to your families finances.
We’ve had these questions made into a set of cards made up of two sections, the first being a section for an adult to adult conversation, and the second section is made up of questions for the whole family. The questions are designed to get you talking and to understand how each person feels and what they understand about the subject. I had my eyes opened when Mr Frugal wasn’t sure what we had in our emergency fund (very little right now) and that he wasn’t overly concerned about our retirement funds (he is now).
The questions allow reflection, constructive critique, and planning which I’m sure you’ll agree are essential elements to getting a family budget on track and creating an open dialogue around this important subject.
To give you an idea of what you can expect, here’s a cheeky video of our cards…
We see this particular set as a resource for families and we’ll be reaching out to places like libraries and family centres across the country so do feel free to forward the link to the Family Budgeting cards anywhere you think this would be helpful. We really do want to encourage families across the UK to talk about family budgeting more and your help in spreading the word would be fantastic!
You can buy a set of our FINK Family Budgeting cards here if you’d like to have a go but we’ll be launching a smaller, more budget-friendly set for individual families very soon so keep your eyes peeled for them – obviously, you can treat yourself to these cards if you want to though, we won’t complain. 😉
We were having a chat about them at the recent UK Money Bloggers conference and someone pointed out that they’d recently spent £20 on a self-help book but actually the insight from these cards would help so much more than any book could. This gives you real-life personal insight that is specifically related to your family so you’ll get much more value from it.
I’m going to pick one card a month and tell you about the discussion we had as a family and I’d love to hear about similar discussions in your family.
Do you talk about money with your partner and children?
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