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Finances- a Family Affair

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Now that you are on board to creating and following your budget, it's time to take it one step further; it's time to include the rest of the family in the financial picture. Many people are against involving their children in financial discussions, for numerous reasons.

Here are a few I've heard:

  1. They don't want their children to worry about money.
  2. They feel their finances are private.
  3. They don't want their children repeating information in the wrong place at the wrong time
I disagree. While you don't need to disclose the actual dollar amounts of your bills to your children, I feel it is important for them to have an understanding of how the real world works. They need to understand that leaving lights on raises the utility bill, or that making payments late makes them more expensive through fees and interest rates.
Rather than waiting until your children grow up and make their own serious money blunders, why not start them out with good financial habits. Once a month hold a family finances meeting. Have a little fun with it, create a "boardroom" style atmosphere if you like, or pop some popcorn and give everyone a piece of paper to jot down ways they can save money, or to add to their own goals.

This is a great time for reviewing your monthly budget:

  1. Which bills are coming in?
  2. What payments need to go out?
  3. Are there any unexpected expenses this month? Ex. Little Johnny's Field Trip at school to Stinky Pete's Zoo or perhaps little sally needs new leotards for dance class
  4. Did your family meet last month’s budget? If not, why not? Did someone leave the sprinklers on all night and your water bill shot through the roof?

If you neglect to hold yourself accountable and openly discuss what is happening with your finances, you will continue to stay in debt.
What I have learned from holding Family Finance meetings is that my children, now ages 9 and 12, are less likely to ask for a frivolous item, and are more focused on saving money. They understand that it takes an entire family working together to get ahead and although they are still just kids, they are learning sound financial basics that they can use for the rest of their lives.

(C) Liss Burnell 2008

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  1. Weeksmom04's Avatar
    WOW! This is a great idea - - I am soooo tired of my 15 yo telling us the mp3 player she has is junk only because it doesn't say "IPOD" on it! What a great idea!
  2. Liss's Avatar
    Yes.. my kids used to do that too. My youngest got it in his head that he "needed" a laptop computer for his birthday. lol.. KIDS. Sometimes they have no concept of money and how the world works, we have to show them so they don't make our mistakes.
  3. Unregistered's Avatar
    We are right in this situation right now. We are seriously changing our spending habits and I was thinking we should shelter our kids (11, 7, 3), but after reading your post, this does make sense to get them included in this process. My question to you is, how much do you disclose? How do you get a family finances meeting started? The kids are aware that we are having financial issues, so we want to get them involved, but we don't want to scare them either.
  4. faxonfive's Avatar
    My oldest daughter is 19 now and still lives at home. She is attending college and works. She shares 1/5 of the monthly expences due to we are a fmily of five. She learned real quick to turn that bathroom light off!!!
  5. blndemom23's Avatar
    I use to be in the mindset of not discussing finances in front of the children, but our 12 and 9 yr old know now that its just not feasible or right to think they could get something new just because they want it, especially in these terrible economic times. At first they didn't understand the WHY's because we just weren't telling them the money situation...and I got tired of saying, 'Because I said you aren't getting that!' and looking like the mean mom lol. So now, even my oldest daughter(12) helps out when my son (9) asks for something like a new ds game or something, 'We need to save for it, times are tight.' lol.So not only does it make them more responsible, but it also makes them aware that it's not because we are trying to be the bad guys by not getting them new things but rather because other things take priority now!