Because finances are often cited as the number one
reason for divorce, financial planner Sophie Blais-Yalbir says it is
important to think about the type of relationship you have
regarding money and finances.
“Keep this topic at the forefront of your
marriage,” she said. “If you have a hard time talking
about finances, bring in a third party – a priest,
counselor or financial planner. Schedule a time to
talk about it – weekly, monthly – whatever works best
She suggests setting
some ground rules to talk about money.
“Find a time that works.
Don’t wait until there is a problem or major spending
spree that’s happened before having a conversation about finances. The goal is to have a relaxed and calm
conversation when there isn’t much going on. Share how you
feel about money, your hopes and dreams about finances. Encourage
your spouse to do this as well.”
Couples should discuss how their parents dealt
with money, what it meant to their families while growing
up, and how it impacted past relationships.
“Know thyself and then be
honest with your spouse,” she said. “If you are independent,
you may feel it’s hard to be taken care of
financially or vice-versa. You may want to be
taken care of financially, but you are the only one
working or you are earning more than your husband. You may resent his negative spending habits.
You need to be honest with your own feelings first.”
a few of Sophie’s ideas to help keep communication lines
clear and to facilitate working together.
1) Discuss your goals and dream together
2) Remember there is no “I”
in “TEAM.” Use references such as “we, the family, or
us” as opposed to “I, me or you.”
3) Be supportive and
help one another to improve. “If you tend
to go a little crazy on shoe spending, ask your
husband to gently remind you (not lecture) of the 20
other pairs in your closet,” she said. “If
he likes to go out on an annual fly-fishing trip,
even when times are tough, gently remind him of the
families’ financial commitments and upcoming expenses. Tell him that the
two of you can start saving for next year because
you know how important it is to him.”
4) The key to financial security
is to manage cash flow and know where the money
“Agree to disagree in some areas, but be united on
the major items such as living expenses, spending on the
kids, big ticket purchases, etc.,” she said.
5) Play to your strengths
and designate one bill payer. “It’s easier, as long as
this person shares how things are going and updates the
other on what needs to be done,” she said.
Tips for Teaching Children about Money
What type of relationship do
you have with your kids regarding money and finances? Do
you deny them nothing, and only deny yourself?
Are you open with them? Are they free
to make age-appropriate money decisions themselves? Or do your children
think “money does grow on trees?” Are you worried that
your older children are ill equipped financially to make it
in this world?
children, Sophie suggests:
bank system -- SAVE, SHARE, SPEND.
$5 budget - $2 to save, $2 to spend, and
$1 to share.
“This teaches kids at an
early age that we are called to share what we
are given,” she said.
sharing their money, let the kids decide how to do
it -- in the collection basket at church, buying something
for a friend who they perceive to be in need,
or sharing with their siblings.
Set up a bank account for the
Have them be part of the process
of depositing money.
“They need a basic understanding of
‘family commitments,’ and they can receive some additional money for
extra jobs,” she said.
them save for special occasions like a trip or an
item them really want.
Encourage entrepreneurship to teach kids about taking some
risks and using their gifts with a “business sense” –
lemonade stands, selling cookies at a garage sale, art shows.
Talk about “wants” versus “needs”
and “rights” versus “privileges.”
Help them set their
money goals. Sophie said, “If they are leaving home and
are off to university, ask them these questions: ‘Where do
you see yourself after the university? What will
it take to get you there?’”
Saving for School, Saving for a Car,
Again, talk about
“wants” versus “needs” and “rights” versus “privileges.”
Share the family budget.
way for an older child to understand budgeting is to
actually see one,” she said.
Review what it costs to run a household.
Share good books
or good information on the internet.
The Bottom Line is “have the
same rules apply as with a spouse,” she said. “And
remember, the best conversations happen when there is no crisis.
some good books and Internet sites below:
-The Second Life of Money: a Kid’s Guide
to Cash by Kira Vermond
-Your Kids Can Master Their Money: Fun Ways to Help
Them Learn How by Ron and Judy Blue and Jeremy
Talking to Your Parents
“Some of you might be
wondering why having discussions with your parents is even necessary,”
“I ask all of my clients about their parent’s financial
situation – why? It could impact theirs! Almost
½ of the adult children who have a parent living
with them do not discuss finances, and many people have
little or no knowledge of their parent’s situation.”
Having this conversation can
help them secure their financial future, she said.
Sophie suggests asking the following the questions: “Do they have
enough to see them through to retirement, since people are
living longer today? Do they have plans in the event
that something happens to one or both of them? What type of care are they looking for? What happens in the event of an emergency?”
Sophie acknowledged that having this
conversation requires some finesse and good timing.
“Many of our parents grew up in
an era when you did not talk about money, so
they may not be comfortable having these conversations with you,”
she said. “Parents have no obligation to talk to you
about money – not legally, and maybe even less emotionally.”
Following are some of her
ways to make this talk easier:
Use yourself as the example – share with your
parents what you and your spouse have done regarding your
own finances and planning.
If you are open
about your own finances, they may be more comfortable to
share with you.
example, such as saying you have a friend whose mother
is really sick and now she’s worry about what the
future holds for her mom.
And this made
you wonder about your parents’ situation...
Aging boomers and healthcare figures prominently in our headlines,
and this can be the door opener for a broad
Next time you read something in the
media, talk to your parents about what you’ve read and
ask them what they are doing in this area.
If they can’t
talk about it, perhaps they can write it down.
“If the words can’t come out, ask them the
jot down their thoughts, where specific documents are kept, and
any special wishes they may have,” she said.