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Communication Guidelines

Preventing and overcoming money problems takes honest and candid communication. It also takes time and effort. Be willing to arrange a specific time when all family members can talk about money. Meet on a regular basis instead of waiting until problems occur. Choose a location where you will not be interrupted.

Here are some suggestions for increasing the quality of communication about money matters in your family:

  • Recognize that whoever earns the money does not also earn the right to dictate how it should be spent. Allow everyone to have input in financial decisions. Family members will be more satisfied with decisions if they helped to make them.
  • Clearly identify the issue at hand. Do not drag other points into the discussion that do not address the problem, concern or dissatisfaction. Is the problem one of spending too much money, spending it at the wrong time, or spending it on something you consider unnecessary or unimportant?
    • Let each family member freely state his or her wants, needs and personal feelings. Avoid judging or criticizing others. Encourage communication beginning with "I think" or "I feel." Talk about the present. Avoid phrases such as "you always" and "you never."
    • Listen carefully to the other person. Respond to statements by others with some indication that you understand. Or ask questions until you do understand.
    • Be willing to compromise and negotiate for a realistic settlement of differences. In many cases, family members must compromise. Making a contract or written agreement may help avoid misunderstandings.
    • Regularly scheduled time.
    • Limit to 30-40 minutes.

Values Affect Decisions

Begin communicating about money by identifying personal values. Values guide decisions. How you use time and how you spend money reflect your values. Also, the goals you establish mirror what you have chosen as important things in life.

More Guidelines to consider.