Communication is the process through which we transfer information to each other. Although modern forms of communication have increased (emails, texts, letters, social media), connecting with each other is still at the foundation of our humanity. We just have to talk. We especially have to talk when it comes to our household finances.
Family communication, in particular, melds us together in profound and lasting ways. Without it, the family would inevitably disintegrate.
Communications simple secrets.
Effective family communication requires every member to pay attention to what others are saying, how they’re saying it, and to identify the feelings behind words and gestures.[i] Genuine listening is the most overlooked aspect of good communication. It’s the part that makes communication two-way.
Talking about money.
Every household has a budget of sorts. It may be a rigid, tightly structured, highly detailed plan or a more carefree, open-ended, and vague financial construct that gets little oversight or review. Or, more likely, it’s something somewhere in between. While budgets or financial strategies are often assembled based on personalities and preferences, they do require mutual input from family members.
An appropriate division of labor that designates who manages the budget or who pays the bills is important. But an arrangement where one partner or family member oversees the finances while the others are kept in the dark is unproductive and unhealthy.
Communication (and consensus) is necessary to bring vitality and direction to families and finances.
While simply discussing family finances is good, budget meetings become even more effective when they’re done with regularity. Holding monthly (or more frequent) meetings will help coalesce your visions and shape the goals of your family.
Here are nine steps for a successful family financial meeting:[ii]
Schedule it. Put the meeting on your calendar. It should not be spontaneous. Hold it at a mutually convenient and appropriate time.
Set the timer. You’re not running a marathon or a congressional hearing. Make it short—30 minutes or so—and sweet.
Eliminate distractions. Turn off the TV. Put your phone away. Make sure the chores are done. Make your meeting an investment of time.
Include some delicious distractions. We’re talking snacks, which make meetings more enticing.
Go prepared. Bring pens, papers, or whatever other tools you’ll need to develop and monitor your family budget and finances. You can use online budgeting tools or apps.
Order in the court. Or the budget meeting. Follow a progressive meeting plan, such as listing income first. Then proceed by dividing and segmenting money into individual categories: donations, utilities, debt, fun stuff.
Allow for objections. You’re trying to create a team plan to financial management. You may have other priorities and preferences than other participants in the meetings. Discuss them and reach an agreement. Find ways to compromise.
Watch the clock. If you’re having trouble or facing challenges, consider addressing contentious matters at another meeting. Stick to your allotted time.
Rules of engagement. Budgets are wonderful tools to reach your goal, but without a way to track spending, it’s just a piece of paper or online platform. Put your budget to work for you by making sure you plug in income and spending numbers regularly and consistently.
If you would like to discuss your current financial plans or budgeting strategies, we’re happy to talk.
Important Disclosure Information
Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Dechtman Wealth Management, LLC [“DWM”]), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from DWM. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. DWM is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the DWM’s current written disclosure Brochure discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request or at www.dechtmanwealth.com.
Please Note: DWM does not make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, or relevance of any information prepared by any unaffiliated third party, whether linked to DWM’s web site or blog or incorporated herein, and takes no responsibility for any such content. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly.
Please Remember: If you are a DWM client, please contact DWM, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services, or if you would like to impose, add, or to modify any reasonable restrictions to our investment advisory services. Unless, and until, you notify us, in writing, to the contrary, we shall continue to provide services as we do currently.
Please Also Remember to advise us if you have not been receiving account statements (at least quarterly) from the account custodian.
Join our newsletter
"*" indicates required fields