Getting your family to work toward common financial goals

Money is a Family Affair

by Terry Rigg

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If you are single and don't have kids, this tip won't mean much to you. For the rest of us that have others to consider when making money decisions, it just may make things a little easier.

I guess the best knock-down, drag-out fights my wife and I ever had was about money. No, it never came to blows because she's meaner than I am. Believe me, you can have a lot of fights in almost 40 years.

At some point, we realized that it wasn't accomplishing anything. We still didn't have any money, but we never earned a nickel fighting about it.

To get a handle on your finances, it is going to take a team effort. The whole family has to be working in the same direction.

My suggestion would be to sit down and talk your money situation over with your spouse and the kids. It's important for everybody in the family to know what is going on. You may be surprised at what the kids will come up with.

When I bought my first house, I made a miscalculation on how much I would need to come up with for the down payment. When I realized it, we had maxed out our credit cards and wasn't sure where we would get the rest of the money.

My wife and I discussed this with the kids and they offered to baby-sit and mow lawns. They came up with enough to cover the down payment. I'll never forget how proud that made them feel and how proud we were of them.

All too often, one person in the family is strapped with making the money decisions. This is a great idea and the best way to keep things organized but they shouldn't take all the blame when something doesn't work out. A family solves difficult problems everyday. Money is just one of them.

Terry Rigg has 25 years of experience counseling individuals and families concerning their personal finances.

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