Financial Fumbles for Your Kids

Worried coupleThis morning’s paper featured an interesting article from the New York Times about marriage and finances. I have touched on this topic before in “Setting Expectations,” but it is worth re-visiting.

The article said. “…most couples do not want to talk about money before they marry.” It went on to explain why that is such a terrible decision.

I have to agree, and will add that if you do not talk about money with your children and make it clear that it is a highly discussion-worthy topic, you will do them a lifetime disservice.

My husband and I were a bit atypical for our time when we married, but very lucky that we both tend toward transparency and full disclosure. He was 28 and I was 27 when we met, and we had the advantage of education, careers and some investment experience under our belts when we decided to make a life-long partnership.

One unusual thing we did was to write out our expectations.

We had a list of topics that ranged from fidelity and family to finances and future dreams. We wrote them out separately, and then compared to see where the similarities and differences appeared. It was an amazing experience and I highly recommend it to any couples who are contemplating engagement, marriage, or even living together. You may find your values align well, and your chances of success are high…or you may discover a fundamental difference in the way you view life and the way you want to live. It is better to discover that ahead of time, when you can discuss and compromise or find that you cannot compromise and this is not the match for you. And of course, it is far, far better to make these discoveries before you bring children into the relationship. Any divorced parent will tell you that.

So, what are the things you should teach your children to discuss with their potential partners when it comes to finances?  

It boils down to their risk profile.   Continue reading

Herstory – Why I Started Blogging

Tulsa Teen Years
A little background…I am a child of divorce; lots of divorces. I had little faith in the long-lasting nature of marriage and had watched my mother struggle to raise two daughters from two different failed marriages on her own. She had little education and no parenting tools to speak of. Tough stuff.  I also had an aunt who was a child abuser, and it frightened me that anger like that might exist in me as well. I was never much of a “baby person” and I never had the marriage day fantasies like some of my friends.

Then my husband came along and changed everything.

He came from a tightly knit family with long, successful marriages and in his worldview, marriage worked, he definitely wanted children and I was the one for him.  Since he is a brilliant and determined man, he patiently earned my trust and love and finally my agreement to consider having children.

In my typical business/mortgage banking style, I presented my contract negotiation positions:

  1. I would consider having a child after a couple of years of independent wedded bliss.
  2. I would consider having a second if, and only if, I liked the first one. (ha!) and…
  3. In a divorce, since he had the superior education and family support and resources, he would have primary custody of the children.

No. 3  sounds cold doesn’t it?

But think about it; that is something every woman has to consider before she brings a child into the world. Continue reading