Creating Boundaries Around Money
It’s no secret that money impacts every area of our lives, including our relationships with the ones we love most. Many of us have even seen disagreements over money, wreck loving relationships among people we know. The truth is, it doesn’t have to be that way. Boundaries around money are the key to maintaining our most cherished relationships.
Relationship With Your Spouse
Without a doubt, the relationship between you, your spouse, and money is the most important relationship for achieving long-term financial success and happiness. This is the foundation that will either allow you to maintain other relationships, or completely tear them apart. Sit down with your spouse over dinner and find a common goal you want to work toward. I’m talking big picture. Think long-term. Dream a little! What is something you both want for the future? Maybe it’s a dream home. Maybe it’s to put your kids through college. Maybe it’s to be able to retire at an early age and travel every year. The goal can be anything, but what’s important is that you both agree, and that it is big enough to provide financial direction. Nothing will give your finances more synergy than working toward a common goal with your spouse. Once you have a common goal and you make a plan for getting there, you and your spouse will be well on your way to creating boundaries together for your friends and extended family.
Relationships With Friends
Surround yourself with people who have similar goals. It’s hard to stay on track toward financial success if your friends are constantly pressuring you to do things that you didn’t budget for. You’re going to do things with your friends that cost money, and that’s okay! Just make sure you plan for those activities so they don’t derail your progress toward your goals. More importantly, be okay with saying no. You don’t have to do something every time you are asked, and a good friend won’t hold it against you if you explain that it’s not in the budget. Making plans with friends that are free (or at least much cheaper) can be just as fun, so get creative!
Relationships With Family
Have you ever felt pressure from family to do something that you really couldn’t afford at the time? Whether it be a family vacation, a trip home for the holidays, or simply another family dinner out, we’ve all felt an expectation when really all we could think about were the dollar signs attached. The only solution to this is boundaries. Set boundaries with your parents and siblings and let them know that while you love them, the well-being of your immediate family comes first! That sometimes means saying no to things that pull you away from your common goal. As military families, we can often feel the weight of expectation to spend our vacation days returning home to see family. Maybe you love making that trip home for the holidays and you plan for it throughout the year. If so, that’s great! But if not, don’t be afraid to say you can’t do it every year. Sacrificing for the purpose of making strides toward your family’s financial success is not selfish. Just like we can’t give to others if we’re not taking care of ourselves, we can’t give to our extended families if we’re not taking care of our own first.
As you can see, being on the same page with your spouse is the foundation because you both have to agree on how you will handle these situations with friends and family. Saying no to something you might want to do in the moment is hard, but having a common goal and a clear plan on how to get there helps to answer those questions for you along the way.