Can finances be a family affair?

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Throughout the year there are clusters of holidays and long weekends when family comes to the fore. These moments are often an opportunity to step out of the frenetic hamster wheel of life, we now have long weekends and, for some, religious holidays to spend with those nearest and dearest to us. Which got us thinking – how much does your inner circle feature in your finances?

We often think of finances as a solitary thing, something for you to sort out alone – sometimes paying bills, sometimes lying awake worrying at 3am. You may nod your head thinking, ‘well that’s the way it has to be.’ But think about this: that is exactly what your parents, friends and family and sometimes even your spouse and children are going through, too. Do you want your sister lying awake worrying about her budget, all alone? Would she want that for you?

What if it didn’t have to be that way? Finances needn’t be a taboo subject and can be something the family can discuss all together. Share these conversations with those closest to you; your partner, your kids, your siblings, your parents, your grandparents and your grandchildren. Learn from their insight and teach them from yours. Then watch and see if you don’t all feel much closer by the end of the conversation.

Here’s one great place to start: at your next close family gathering, or long weekend, ask everyone to share a goal or a dream that they have. Then discuss how you can work together as a family to help that happen.

Not only could this be very useful for you in terms of financially planning for the future (like knowing your parents-in-law want to retire next year or your son has his eye on an expensive university) but it can also help ease the tension everyone typically feels about money all the time. The more you communicate and relate, the more you can dispel myths and fears about your future, your finances and the life you plan to live. You can plan for them, together, without the angst or the isolation that comes with how most people do it.

Even better, you can perhaps prioritise making someone else’s dream come true.

You see, love looks like something, and if you are able to splash out on horse-riding lessons for your child, it will send a powerful message that her dreams are important to you. So go on, try being someone else’s dream come true.

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