smart spending

6 ways to avoid financial Groundhog Day

Repeated mistake: Forgoing family input
Repeated mistake: Forgoing family input © wavebreakmedia/

Linfield calls this one "the Lone Ranger syndrome."

"One person in the family decides, 'We're going to make all these changes, we're going to tighten our belt,'" he says. "But they don't talk about it, except to announce it as a fait accompli."

Weeks or months later, the new plan is in tatters.

Couples, families and financial partners have to "sit down and communicate," Linfield says. And that means you can include "anyone fifth grade or older."

"The person who's leading the charge needs to talk about their fears, goals and ideas for changes they want to make -- and share that with everyone in the family," he says. "It also allows for brainstorming in the group. It's important to listen to other people -- how they feel about money, what their ideas are.

"The tricky part, especially with children, is you have to include some of their ideas so they buy into the process," Linfield says. When children are included, "they're going to be more likely to help you follow through."

And schedule time when you can talk together and update each other on finances, says Linfield. It may be weekly or monthly. "Every family is different," he says. But, "you have to stay engaged."


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