How to Discuss Financial Changes with Family
Finances and family sometimes do not mix. It can get especially tricky if you have decided to make a financial change in your life like getting out debt, trying to save more, and start investing. Your immediate or extended family may not understand why you are making a change or "get it" but the good news is they don't have to! However, if you must discuss it, here's how you can speak to your family about your financial changes:
1. YOU HAVE MADE THIS A PRIORITY
When you change your bad money habits, you may not get applause from your family members. Your bad financial habits did not occur overnight, and more than likely you learned them from your family. If you are finding yourself being pressured to overspend you should inform your family you have made changes to your financial life. It does not mean you are seeking their opinion on the changes. You can tell them that you have made your finances a priority this year and will not be able to do some of the "overspending" activities any longer. This may bring about a wave of discomfort, but it's necessary if you are tempted to overspend when you are with them.
2. YOU DON'T HAVE TO AGREE
When your family inevitably gives you some push back, you can let them know it is okay if they don't agree with your new lifestyle changes. Let them know that their approval or agreement will not stop your financial changes from happening. You must remind yourself that their discomfort with your financial changes is a reflection of an unwillingness to change their bad money habits. It is hard to do when you may be looking for their support. There are many groups and online support centers if you aren't finding encouragement from your family.
3. SOME OF THIS IS TEMPORARY
If you are missing out on big events or can't fully participate in the holidays due to the cutback, you can let your family know that some of these changes temporary, especially if you're trying to get out debt. Not all the changes you make will be for forever, but right now it's a priority that you get on a better financial track. Once your debt has been paid down or you have met your savings goals, you will start to be able to incorporate some of your old spending habits into your new. Remember that temporary financial changes can lead to a lifetime of financial security.
4. YOU'RE IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL
If they start to pressure you to understand why you're doing this, you can be honest and say you are just not in a great financial place and you want to do better. Again, this may receive some push back especially if your family is not well-off and views you trying to better your financial situation as a slight against them. You can let them know this has nothing to do with anyone else; this is a goal just for you. You may also realize that there are a few family members that you just cannot discuss this with and that is ok! You may love them but not their opinions on your finances.
Making financial changes can be hard and can sometimes show you where you stand in your relationships especially with your family. When you try to make a difference, expect pushback but do not give up just because of it. In the end, you will thank yourself for trying to secure a better financial future for yourself. Your life is yours, and if you can tough out the criticism from your family, you will be able to live with the financial peace that they do not have.