3 ways to talk to your family about money matters

by: Sonya Stinson

From a couple’s blow-up over an unexpected credit card bill to adult siblings feuding over an inheritance, the choices people make about money can often cause a falling out between family members.

Numerous research studies have shown financial disagreements to be one of the leading causes of divorce. In a 2014 survey by the American Psychological Association (APA), nearly a third of adults with partners said money was a major source of conflict in their relationship. The APA also pointed to other research indicating that attitudes about money are inherited from parents and other family members—and often people aren’t even fully aware of those feelings.

A Roadmap for Financial Peace

It’s important to recognize the roots of your own financial attitudes so you can work on developing better relationships with family members around money issues. Here are three tips:

1. Edit your internal script. If you grew up in a family in which you constantly heard phrases like “filthy rich” or “We’ll never get ahead no matter how hard we work,” those scripts may be affecting your current attitudes about money, said Susan Bross, who is an accredited financial counselor and member of the Financial Therapy Association. If you were taught to view wealth in a negative light, you might be subconsciously sabotaging your earning potential, for example. Or if you grew up in a family that never seemed to make ends meet, you might not see the point of working harder in order to save more.

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