10 Money-Talk Tips For Families

1. Set aside a regular time to discuss money. By having a regular meeting, you will spend less time and avoid problems.

2. Don't blame each other for financial problems.

3. Keep each other up to date about all personal assets and debts.

4. Regularly talk about ways of managing your money better.

5. Divide regular financial tasks as evenly as possible.

6. Make sure you discuss and agree about the use of any extra money (such as tax refunds).

7. Involve your children in family money decisions.

8. Write short- and long-range financial goals together.

9. Respect family member differences and work toward decisions everyone agrees with.

10. Try to avoid these roadblocks to good communication:

• Ordering, directing, commanding: "I earn the money. I'll spend it any way I want." "You can't buy any more fishing gear."

• Warning, threatening: "If you bounce a check one more time, I'll knock your head off." "OK, now you've had it."

• Preaching, moralizing: "Some people never seem to know when to quit." "Your mother should have taught you the value of a dollar."

• Advising: "Why don't you try to be more careful?" "Use my record-keeping system."

• Judging, criticizing, blaming: "I would have thought you'd have known better." "Now see what you've done."

• Name-calling, ridiculing, shaming: "You idiot!" "You ought to be ashamed of yourself."

• Interpreting, psychoanalyzing, assuming: "How come your mistakes always cost big bucks?" "You were just trying to get back at me for what I did yesterday."

• Teaching, instructing: "How would you like it if someone did that to you?" "Do you know how much it's going to cost me to replace this?"

• Rescuing, intervening: "Give me the checkbook. I'll have to do it if I want it done right." "Don't invest in that company. Dad will think you've lost your mind."

• Expecting too much: "It's so obvious that you should have shopped around first." "Your brother always saves money because he plans things before he does them."

Source: Adapted from Cornell Cooperative Extension Service

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