Standing in the mega gym shoe store, my 11-year old points to the latest pair of Nikes. She’s looking at style and I’m looking at price. Sticker shock sets in, $150 for a pair of tennis shoes that no doubt she would outgrow in 6 months. She gives me that look of that says, “Buy me this cool stuff so my friends will look up to me.” All the while my stomach is churning and I find myself saying, “But I wouldn’t spend $150 on a pair of tennis shoes for myself!”
As in any relationship, a healthy relationship with money requires boundaries. Sometimes the boundaries are over small things, like the cost of a pair of shoes and sometimes they are much bigger.
Like when your 27 year old who decides to forgo health insurance? Your 27 year old “child” may feel ready to live with the consequences of being uninsured, but are you?
What if your spouse cashes in “his” retirement for a new car? Since you are planning to retire together, part of your retirement income just walked out the door too. How is that working for you?
Often we aren’t aware of our boundaries until they are crossed. That leaves us unprepared and uncomfortable in making a choice. Do we choose to take care of ourselves? Or do we choose to take care of the other?
We’ll be happier in our personal relationships and in our money relationships if we take the time to discover the edges where we need boundaries before we get that sick feeling in our gut.
Here are some great questions to help you discover your edges:
- Who are the people in your life that you would care for if they could not care for themselves?
- What causes you worry and frustration over money?
- In the trade off of money for today and money for tomorrow, are you and your spouse/partner on the same page? Are you working on the same goals? Are you rowing the boat in the same direction?
- When it comes to your children, are you worried about how to pay for their education?
- How are you and your spouse/partner managing debt? Do you have clear agreements in when and why you use debt?
- What is your spending plan or budget? What do you want it to be? Are you and your partner in agreement as to your priorities?
- Are there money choices that make your stomach turn?
Once you know where your boundaries are, the next step is to manage them. Perhaps you need to buy health insurance for your 27 year old for your own peace of mind. Maybe you need a clear and direct conversation with your spouse about funding your retirement or the use of credit. Or maybe you need to be clear with your younger children that the latest toys, electronics and clothes consume resources that could fund higher education and what this really means.
If you have never done it before, it will feel awkward when you first begin taking care of your money boundaries. As you do, you’ll feel better about yourself and clearer about your choices. As you model healthy money boundaries, those around you will learn and grow too.
As your wealth advocate, if we can help you with this or any other wealth concern, please call or email us. We want to hear from you.