Blending Families and Finances - Page 3 of 3
Magazine Money

Blending Families and Finances

Photo by Quantrell D. Colbert

The couple have taken financial lessons a step further by transforming ordinary shopping trips into fun learning experiences for Semaya and Joseph. One child keeps a running calculation of what is spent and is responsible for checking items off the list while the other is responsible for finding the best value, Gipson Monroe explains.
“It becomes a game and an open discussion. At first a simple shopping trip would take hours as the kids learned to read packaging, compare prices, and follow a list and budget, but as time moved on they became quicker and more confident,” she explains. “The goal is to always return home spending less than we planned. When the kids do so successfully, they get to split the savings and add it to their personal savings account.”

How Hamilton & Gipson Monroe did it:

Be completely honest about your finances.
“Set goals, and most importantly, make budgeting and dealing with your finances something you do together. It should not fall on the shoulders of just one person,” Gipson Monroe says. It’s important to help each other stay accountable to the goals that have been set and compromise when necessary. Her motto: “Plan. Budget. Save.”

Include your children in the household budgeting process.
Gipson Monroe and Hamilton believe children must understand money in order to have a healthy relationship with it. They advise having a certain amount of financial disclosure with your children so they aren’t shocked if there’s a sudden shift in the household income. Allow them to sit in on family meetings where financial goals are set, and help them to budget their money. “We never tell our children they can’t have something because we can’t afford it. Instead, we assist them in figuring out if the item fits into their budget. If it does not, then we work with them on a plan to purchase what they want,” Gipson Monroe explains. This process helps children gain a better understanding of where they are spending their individual money and how the overall household is spending money.

Help your children save for their goals.
No matter the dollar amount associated with the goal your child has, it’s important to do plenty of research and keep your child engaged in the process. “Have more than one option to make sure your child understands and commits to the sacrifices that may need to be made,” Gipson Monroe advises. If your child’s goal will cost a significant amount of money, start a savings fund specifically for that goal and work with your child on planning fundraising events and identifying other means of funding to reach the target amount of money.