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Diminishing Financial Stress


Six steps to diminishing financial family stress

Dealing with finances can cause stress in any family, especially during tough times. Learn how to alleviate tension at home and put you and your family on the right track.
When it comes to families, financial strain often comes with the territory, but there are steps you can take in order to manage family financial stress. These steps may not be cure-alls, but they can certainly alleviate tension at home and put you and your family on the right track. 

1. Stay calm and get focused. Take a break from negative news reports and arguing with family members about finances.Instead, focus on where you want your family to be and think about the steps to get there.

2. Identify stressors. Determine sources of financial strife by brainstorming issues that cause grief, conflict or worry. Write each one down. When brainstorming with family members, avoid blame and stay as objective as possible. 

3. Create a plan and stick with it. Outline steps your family can take to address stressors and improve the situation. Be sure to include a budget in your plan. Pay close attention to money coming in and going out of the household in order to identify areas where your family can cut back.

4. Communicate. Explain to family members what changes will take place and why. Be honest, but be discriminating with details. Kids, for example, don’t need to know the ups and downs of your 401(k), but they do need to know that your family will ultimately be alright.*

5. Delegate. Ask each family member to help save money. Have kids come up with ideas for inexpensive activities or have them help clip coupons. Make thrifty practices like shutting off lights upon leaving a room a priority for everyone.

6. Get Help. No one can do it all on their own. Seek the help of a spiritual advisor, family counselor or financial planner. Even turning to a trusted friend who will listen without judging can make the load a little lighter. 

*Talking with kids about money is challenging even in good financial times. The articles below offer strategies for explaining the current financial climate to children of all ages.