Number 6 – Work Together
A good friend of mine owns a two-person pedal boat. The last time I got in the boat, my nine year daughter and two of her friends hopped in the boat with me. As you can imagine, I did most of the pedaling. By the time we circled my friend’s pond and arrived back at the dock, I was exhausted.
It can be tough trying to go it alone, feeling like you are the only one working to get out of debt and save money. If you want to succeed, you have to develop a plan which allows you and your family members to work together.
Talk With Your Spouse
Let’s face it. If you are reading this blog post, then you are, more than likely, the person in the household who handles most of the financial paperwork – paying bills, filing taxes, balancing checkbooks. As such, you probably feel overwhelmed, from time to time, with all of the responsibility you have. If so, take a few minutes, maybe over a quiet dinner, to talk with your spouse. Don’t argue, don’t condemn, don’t blame, just talk.
I’ve actually written a couple of posts about this subject -
Talk With Your Kids
I have three kids, ages 9, 4, and 6 months. Obviously, I have a different conversation with the 9 year old than I do with the 4 year old, but they both know that we “honor every dollar” that comes into our house. If you are heavily in debt, and worried, some of that worry is bound to rub off on your kids. Be reasonable. Don’t put more on you child than he or she can bare. At the same time, be as honest as you can and let them know that you – and the whole family – are working hard to save money. As kids get older, let them in on, little by little, to the realities of family finances.
Here’s a post I wrote a few months ago -
Become A Team
As corny as it sounds, when my two older kids get in an argument, I take both of them by the hand, and walk them to a quite place in the house. Kneeling down, to their eye level, I remind them that we are a team, and that we have to work together. The same holds true when it comes to managing family finances. The entire family has to be moving, together, in the same direction, like minded and determined. As an adult, you can cultivate a good attitude if you celebrate victories, those big and small. If your daughter receives a twenty dollar bill at Christmas, teach her how to save a portion, give a portion, and spend a portion. Let her have some freedom, but also teach her some responsibility.
Find Your Role
Do what you do best and let your spouse do what he / she does best. Support one another. I like graphs, charts, spread sheets, and calculations. So, in our family, I do most of the paperwork. My wife, she’s more of a people person, so she handles a lot of the human interactions – calling doctors, insurance companies, etc. This works for us.
Here’s a more in depth look at the subject of family roles