Financial Fitness for the Family
As the weather warms up again and we start spending more time outside with our families–maybe even to work on our health and fitness–I want you to think about the impact that financial fitness can have on your life this season and in the future.
It’s drilled into us from a very young age that our physical health is vital to our overall well-being, and I don’t disagree—but why do we shy away from talking about our financial health? After all, stress, especially surrounding our finances, can be just as taxing on the body as being sedentary or overweight—not to mention its impact on our relationships. Talking to family members about financial fitness could not only help you get on track, but it could also have a positive impact on your health and set your children up for a more successful future.
Teaching my children how to set up a spending plan rather than giving them an allowance is one major shift we made as a family that had a huge impact. I found when we were giving our girls an allowance, I was banging my head against the wall trying to figure out why they didn’t care about the chores they were supposed to be getting done, and I began to question why we were even “paying” them to do things that should simply be expected as members of our household.
I think the practice of giving an allowance is just another thing passed down from previous generations that we should stop doing. We can do better.
Creating spending plans together is one way you can take control of your financial fitness as a family. Your spending plan will obviously look a lot different than the one you help your children put in place, but both should be aligned with your individual core values. One of the most important things we can give our children is the knowledge and understanding of how to create and follow a spending plan—and to also share with them the plans we have in place.
The biggest difference between a spending plan and an allowance is having more of an understanding around where our money is going and why we are making the choices we are making–rather than just having money and spending it without any thought. This doesn’t teach kids how their finances will work in the future. A spending plan will enable them to see how much money they have coming in and will teach them how to allocate it to the best possible categories for their current and future goals.
Talking to your children about their personal and financial goals is not something to push off.
They often have bigger ideas than even we do, so allow them to talk those through and help them to create a plan which will also guide them in the development of their goal-setting skills. This can open up more conversations to discuss their “income” and how to manage their “expenses.” Utilizing actual financial terms will also put them far ahead of the game and help them to start building confidence with their money. Plus, you may be surprised what you learn about your own spending and saving habits from talking openly with your children.
Teaching your children that it is possible for them to live well today while creating security for their future is a gift most of us were not given. They may not fully understand this right away, but they will. Teaching them that they don’t need to deprive themselves of that special toy or trip to the zoo will be valuable when they are looking at even bigger purchases as they get older—while also keeping in mind the importance of investing and saving. Managing money well is going to pay off exponentially when they can create a life they love while securing their finances for their future simultaneously.
Make financial fitness a priority and start having these conversations with your family no matter their age, especially if you’re on your own WELLth™ journey. It will inspire and influence them more than you know.