How I Use PocketSmith to Talk to My Family About Money

Couples who talk about money with each other have stronger relationships. The same applies to families! Ruth The Happy Saver shows us some of the tools she uses to have productive financial conversations with her family.

Families that succeed with money have someone taking charge of the family finances. Let’s call this person the Family Chief Financial Officer, or CFO, if you will!

Family CFOs can’t do their job alone. They need the support of the rest of their family - their Board of Directors - to make sure that everyone in the family is headed in the same direction, at least where money is concerned.

Whether it’s a formal monthly ‘board meeting’ or an informal chat around the dinner table, it’s really important for the Family CFO to tap on the Board of Directors’ expertise and knowledge, to build up their family for the future.

Understand your audience

It’s the Family CFO’s job to work out how to communicate with the diverse group that makes up their family Board of Directors. Think about who you’re talking to, and what their motivations are:

  • A wife who is looking to cut expenses in the ‘teenager department’ of the company
  • A husband who has a list of family expenses coming up he is seeking funding for
  • A partner who has just received a pay rise
  • A five-year-old who wants more Lego
  • A teenager who wants a new laptop
  • Or a young adult looking to head off to university or work

It’s a tricky task for the Family CFO to manage all of these personalities and the expectations of each. Alongside regular conversations around money, you can also use PocketSmith to speak directly to each of these different personalities, by pulling information out of PocketSmith in a way that they can each relate to.

Start the meeting on your Dashboard

The PocketSmith Dashboard is the best starting point for any family meeting. If each person in your family has come to the kitchen table with their list of priorities, then the Family CFO can dive into any of their questions.

For the family member who is saving up for a particular thing, whether it be LEGO or a new TV, you can create a bank account and budget category that can track their progress towards their goal amount.

A quick check-in of the Forecast Calendar can give that family member a specific date for when they can make their purchase and will show them that their regular savings are getting them closer to their goal.

If you have a family member who is a visual learner, then the Earning and Spending pie chart that you can color code is a very useful tool for sharing a lot of information in one simple graphic. The active budget section of the home page with its clear color coding is another powerful tool to show this family member if they are on target or not.

And if you are lucky enough to have a number lover in your family, you have plentiful information at your fingertips to share with them too and you can share a monthly Income & Expense report or a detailed Cashflow Statement. You can forecast ahead or look at percentages and breakdowns, it’s really up to you!

Customize content for different learning styles

Whether you’re a big picture thinker or a lover of fine details, PocketSmith is a really versatile tool for handling your family’s finances. Yet it allows you to provide information to each family member in a way that they like to engage with money. You can go broad - with budgets that track a whole area of spend such as ‘Groceries’ - or you can go deep and track small yet significant areas, like ‘Christmas holiday’.

It’s up to the Family CFO to curate these family meetings. With a little bit of prep work beforehand, you can give your family the tools to enable each member of your team to reach their own money goals. Sharing access to PocketSmith with them will go a long way!

You can even create separate dashboards to help communicate better with different family members!

If the Family CFO wants to really talk to their partner about money and also bring the whole family onboard with discussing their money decisions, the key is to get each family member involved in the decision making process around money. When you do this you will be able to move the entire family in the direction you need to go!

Ruth blogs at all about how she and her family handle money. What’s the secret? Spend less than you earn, invest the difference, avoid debt and budget each dollar that flows through your hands. She firmly believes that if you can just get the basics right, life becomes easier from there on in.

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