Let’s talk about money, Honey…

Do you talk about money with your spouse? With your kids? Do you talk about money to your closest friend? Does your family talk about money?

And when you do, do you differ in opinion? Approach? Content?

Your money journey initially begins with you as an individual and is influenced by your childhood interactions with money… or lack of it. Every day discussions and actions over the years have resulted in the way you now think about money. From a very tender age, your relationship with money began getting defined.
If you are like over 90% of the rest of us adults, no-one really sat you down and put structure around money lessons. Yet however, you learnt something about it that influences your decisions and actions relating to money today. Two individuals may come from a background of lack, yet react differently when blessed with money… and go on to teach their kids conflicting messages on money matters… then the children develop a certain attitude about money that continues to define their lifelong relationship with money… the vicious cycle !

Different family cultures, different money attitudes. From savers to spenders; givers to receivers.

Are you conscious about your relationship with money? Are you conscious about your money personality? Are you conscious about how your past is affecting your present decisions for you, your spouse and you children?

Your personality and your past and present realities create different energies that define your money behaviours. Married? Multiply that by two!

So here you are now. You didn’t grow up in the same home but here you are together, raising kids and having key financial decisions to make! Now what?!
A good place to start is to introspect on your money attitudes. Try and remember your early memories about money and write down the emotions that are aroused with those memories, how you have reacted to those since and then identify what you need to change as you strive to meet your future financial needs. Again I ask, “married”? Then do that exercise for him and her and then have an open discussion about it.

Second, get yourself a financial education. Start putting structure, deliberately, around your money decisions. Get to know what works, how and when to engage in matters money. If you have kids, invest early in their financial education as well. Get the right pointers for your family as soon as you can. Increase your awareness. Education is cheap, experience is expensive.

Third, have frequent money dates. Go on… say it! “Let’s Talk Money, Honey.” Talk about attitudes, backgrounds, expenses, dreams, EVERYTHING! Talk about it and make the discussion about money an easy discussion. The easier the discussion the faster and more concrete the planning.

Whilst these three pointers are not exhaustive, you will be well on your way to a healthy money relationship with your spouse and kids once you complete them. Look out for more!

Dolly Sagwe-Onyoni – Finance Director at Oracle (EA), is passionate about financial education as a key life skill for the 21st Century. She has over 17 years’ experience in the finance industry and has participated numerous financial literacy seminars organized by the Financial Times, Citi and VISA International. Dolly has provided personal financial coaching to young adults, at workplaces and to married couples for over 10 years.Reach her on dolly@lifesmartinc.com; FaceBook “Let’s Talk Money, Honey”.

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