Sharing The Responsibility For Family Finances
Even though you may consider yourself the primary breadwinner for your family, responsibility for making a household run smoothly is something that every member of the family can, and should, participate in. When each person is involved in the financial aspect of daily living, everyone has a shared interest and will be more likely to participate in a healthy way that benefits the entire family.
Everyone who lives in a communal household, meaning families who share a living space, can contribute in a meaningful way. If the head of household assumes all the responsibility on their own, it will tend to potentially be a negative thing. It will create an unequal burden of stress on one person, when it is actually every person who benefits from that sacrifice. As adults, the primary responsibility will obviously fall on their shoulders, but it does not need to be exclusive. Every person should be aware of what things cost and how expenses add up in a daily household. This could include everything from how utilities are used to the consumption of paper products, water, food and gasoline.
Even the youngest member of the family can be involved in financial planning. Teaching a child to save money towards the purchase of a desired toy or video game will not only make them aware of what it takes to obtain something they want, but it also will empower them in a good way. It will become their own responsibility to create the resources to get what they want it life. This is an invaluable lesson that will follow them throughout their lives.
Resist the temptation to do financial planning in secret, away from the eyes of children or spouses. You do not want to unnecessarily burden those who are unable to contribute or make them feel stress over things that are not in their power to control. However, making everyone aware of potential financial setbacks will only make each person feel a mutual commitment to doing their part. If there is a family goal of taking a beach vacation, allow your children to do chores or activities outside the home which will contribute to the “vacation pot.” This should not only include their own spending money while on holiday, but also give them a stake in making the entire journey affordable. It will be appreciated and anticipated on a much greater level if they are involved in making it happen. When they save their own money to spend while away, it will also give them a sense of freedom in how they spend it, knowing that they put the work in themselves.
When dealing with children, or even with elderly family members who are perhaps not able to physically contribute as much as you can, make sure that each financial planning activity is age appropriate. The goal is not to create guilt or stress over money, but to foster good habits and empower each person to have a part in the life that you all share.
Try putting some of these things into practice in your household, and see the sense of pride and responsibility grow within your inner circle. You will also benefit yourself from not having to carry the financial burden entirely on your own anymore.