Recently, I have had the pleasure of getting to know quite a few new faces. Over the years I have grown to enjoy meeting new people and hearing about their lives. Often those conversations begin exactly how you would expect: “So, what do you do for work?” Work is an integral part of our lives so it is only natural that the subject of our jobs would be a source of conversation. However, the subject of family almost always follows (if it isn’t the first thing mentioned!) We ask each other where we grew up, who our parents are, what our spouse’s name is, and how many kids we have. Personally, I find discussions about family just as interesting as conversations about work and business. Particularly, I enjoy discussing the joys and trials of parenthood with other young parents.
You may think that this is a weird way to start off a blog post but I say this to emphasize the centrality of family in our lives. Our time is often dictated by the flow of daily life within our family. We begin the day together, work hard for each other, and spend time with one another. If you are anything like our family then you also share your struggles and sorrows with one another and lift each other up in your faith. I think that most would agree with me when I say that family is an indispensable part of our daily life.
Because of this, family plays a central role in all of the decisions that we make. Our family life determines where we spend our time and treasure on a daily, if not minute to minute, basis. When we make decisions as a member of a family, we have to think about how those decisions will affect our family members. Some decisions seem somewhat inconsequential like, “what are we going to have for dinner tonight?” Other decisions have more far-reaching effects such as, “where will the kids go to school?” or “should I take that new job offer?” Our relationship to our family affects our decisions both large and small.
This is obviously the case when it comes to financial decisions. In fact, financial questions are often amplified when family is involved. I have heard the (likely wise) advice from many not to mix family and money. Money can certainly complicated familial relationships and sometimes even cause conflict. Speaking as both a husband and father as well as a financial advisor, here are a few things to keep in mind as it relates to finances and family.
Keep everyone on the same page
Usually when I meet with a new family looking for financial advice one of the spouses is more engaged in the process than the other. This is normal and fairly understandable as we all have different roles and jobs in our marriages and families. Not to mention our different interests and skillsets! In a marriage however, I believe that it is important for both spouses to at least be on the same page financially even if one spouse has a better grasp of the financial plan than the other. This ensures that both spouses will be working in the same direction and reduces the likelihood of arguments relating to money. I am sure that most people reading this have had a disagreement with their spouse about spending habits. Getting on the same page from the beginning is a great way to avoid this!
Spend money where it matters
As I said before, family dictates where we spend our time and treasure. This is a very good thing to keep in mind as it relates to not only our overall financial planning but also our daily purchases. I know how easy it is to justify making small, unnecessary purchases that rack up over time. Before you know it, you have gone out to eat far too often and spent far too much on Amazon! I have found that it helps to consider, “how will this affect my family?” every time I go to make a purchase that is not absolutely necessary. Admittedly, I need to be asking myself this question a lot more and I am sure you do too!
Set goals together
At Provisio we talk about making goals with our clients all the time. Goals are what help us determine where we are going, how we get there, and whether or not we are on the right track. Take time to get together as a family or with your spouse and talk about your financial goals. Questions like, “are we saving enough for retirement?” are good but try to get to the root of what you want for your family. Talk about what is most important to your family and how you can use money as a tool to help you accomplish the goals that best support what is important to you.
Thanks for reading another one of our weekly blog posts! We appreciate you all and thank you for taking the time to read our weekly musings. If there is a topic that you are interested about that we haven’t coverage please let us know as we are always looking for ideas!