So, you’ve met that special person, dated, and fallen in love. You trust each other, want to be together 24/7 and do everything together. Ahhhh, young love.
Now you’re faced with that age old question – do you join your bank accounts? Some might even say the decision to join bank accounts is an even more significant commitment than marriage.
Now that you’re part of a couple you might be trying to decide if joint or individual bank accounts are right for you, here are some things to consider:
Joint Bank Accounts
A joint bank account is a bank account that is managed and owned by more than one person. It functions just like a standard account, except it can be accessed and modified by more than one person.
Pros of Joint Bank Accounts
It Makes Things Easier: Having joint accounts with your partner leads to more simplified budgeting and bookkeeping. With everything in one place, you can more easily monitor what’s coming in and what’s going out.
Partnership: Ever heard the saying, “What’s yours is mine”? Well joining bank accounts shows you really mean it! It can also be a way to build and grow something together as a team.
You Can Save on All the Fees: I’m not saying that joint accounts don’t have fees, but with a joint account, you can minimize the number of accounts and therefore the fees.
Cons of Joint Bank Accounts
Secrecy: One major disadvantage of having joint accounts is that, since your partner can always see where/how you are spending money, surprises can be easily spoiled. You’re far less likely to receive a surprise gift, be surprised by a vacation, or have a successful surprise party thrown in your honor. But, I can think of worse things.
Overmanagement or guilt: If one partner is a spender and one is a saver, you may be in more frequent spats, hold grudges, or undergo a power struggle around joint finances.
Messy Breakups: Joint bank accounts can cause really messy situations in a breakup. Be sure of your relationship before joining accounts.
Individual Bank Accounts
An individual account is a personal bank account that is used by an individual. It is for personal banking as opposed to a shared corporate account or joint account.
Pros of Individual Bank Accounts
Maintain Your Independence: Many people feel what they earn is theirs and that they shouldn’t be accountable to a partner for spending their hard earned cash.
Complete Control: With an individual account, you have financial security and complete control over your own financial situation.
Protect Your Assets: If one partner has multiple or higher assets, it may be wise to keep them separate, especially in instances where the other partner carries a lot of debt.
Cons of Individual Bank Accounts
Bill Management: Managing who pays what bill and from what account can get tricky when you are managing a household from individual accounts. It is necessary to make clear what bills get paid, from what account, and by who.
Trust Issues: Trust issues can arise when you are unable to easily view finances, purchases, and income with your partner.
In Case of Emergency: I know, we don’t want to think about this, but having separate accounts can pose some issues if one member of the couple is incapacitated in any way. The partner may have a difficult time gaining access to the accounts.
What works for us.
What works for us might not work for you. My husband and I have all joint accounts. We do things this way because we believe it is all our money. Also, all of our bills and credit cards are in both of our names. It is important to us that we each have full access to all of our finances.
Every relationship and partnership is different, so what works for us might not be what is best for you and your family finances. Be sure you weigh the pros and cons of joint and individual bank accounts before you make the decision for your relationship.
If you are looking for assistance in setting up your family budget, I’m here for you! Let’s chat about 1:1 coaching and I’ll help you set up a systems and routines that will work for your unique family.⠀
In many families, all of the finances, bill paying, and budgeting fall squarely on the shoulders of one family member. I definitely understand that usually one person takes the lead on finances. But it is still so important for so many reasons that all members of the family are involved in money discussions and decisions.
Here are 3 reasons to involve your whole family in budgeting:
Both Spouses Should be in the Know
In any couple, there is usually one person who takes the lead with finances and one person who is happy to hand it all over. It is important that the spouse who is ready to wash their hands of the finances doesn’t completely turn a blind eye. They need to stay in the know!
One very simple, and easy to understand reason both spouses need to know what is going on with your family budget and finances is in case of an emergency. If, god forbid, the budgeter in the family becomes incapacitated for any reason, the last thing you are going to want to spend your time doing is sifting through financial records you likely don’t even understand.
To keep both spouses aware of what’s going on in the household financially, we suggest making time to meet and discuss finances. Have your “Money Meeting” minimally, once a month. If possible, I’d even suggest doing it once a week. As your kids get older, have them join in, too.
It is definitely okay for one spouse to manage the budget. But the other should be 100% aware of what is going on and have complete access to all financial documents and materials.
Overall, I think both spouses should be in the know about the finances, whether one or the other physically manages it.
Teach Your Kids Valuable Skills at an Early Age
Looping your kids in on your budget is a good way to get the kids learning what it takes to run a household at an early age. This is a lesson they won’t ever forget.
I totally understand the desire to hide weakness or difficulties from our kids. Of course, we want to shelter our kids from any unnecessary stress and allow them to be kids for as long as possible. But, they should also enter adulthood with a realistic idea of how finances work.
This is why we recommend speaking openly about money, costs of different things, and bills in front of and with your kids. We also recommend including your kids in spending decisions starting at a young age, and inviting them to your money meetings as soon as they are old enough to grasp what is going on.
Since our kids were 4 and 6 years old, we’ve had them use piggy banks to start teaching them the concept of earning and saving their money to pay for things. Now that they are 9 and 11, we’ve been working on introducing the concept of budgeting to them.⠀
Kids that grow up in a home where money is discussed openly and honestly, become more conscious and responsible with their own spending and expenses.
One day, your future daughter or son-in-law will be thanking you for raising such a money conscious child.
What’s the Big Deal, Anyway?
This might be the simplest reason of all to get the whole family involved in budgeting. Ready for it… why not? What is the big deal? As far as I can see, there is no downside to getting the whole family involved in budgeting. It brings partners closer together, eliminates placing blame, makes everyone aware, and helps develop responsibility in kids.
Budgeting is not something to be feared or hidden. If you have family members who avoid budgeting, it’s likely a sign that they NEED to be budgeting. If you make budgeting a big scary thing, it will feel like a big scary thing. In reality, a good budget is actually pretty simple and easy to follow once you take the steps to put one in place.
Make your budget fun and speak about it openly – your whole family will rally together and really bond over budgeting. It might sound crazy, but trust me, it’s true – just look at my family!
If you are looking for assistance in setting up your family budget, I’m here for you! Let’s chat about 1:1 coaching. I’ll help you set up systems and routines that will work for your unique family. You can find out more about my family budgeting services here!
Back in 2008, my husband and I were young, naive, and nearly 100K in debt. Two years into our marriage, we found ourselves living paycheck to paycheck and barely making ends meet. We had no emergency fund to fall back on and we had no clue how bad our spending habits had gotten.⠀
We got ourselves into a huge mess and we didn’t know how to get out of it.⠀⠀
Many families are going through unprecedented and unexpected financial difficulties right now. With most states issuing shelter in place orders and businesses closing aside for essential personnel, we’re seeing a spike in unemployment like never before. Many people who never imagined and never planned for losing their jobs are now finding themselves unemployed and unsure of where to go from here. ⠀
Is There a Lesson to Learn from Being in Debt?
Believe it or not, waking up to only $10 in the bank was a blessing in disguise for us. It taught us a lot more than we ever expected.⠀⠀
We had to really dig deep and ask ourselves if the kind of life we were leading was the kind of life we wanted our kids to grow up in. Only then were we able to make some changes that have lead to us living the debt free life we now enjoy.
What Happens When you aren’t Financially Prepared for a Crisis?
A crisis can take many different forms. It might be an unexpected medical expense, a totaled car that you still owe on, a house fire, or an unexpected layoff. It could also be a global pandemic that cripples the entire nation leading to a complete financial crisis. If I’d said that last one a few months ago, I bet you’d have looked at me like I had three heads – but here we are.
Needless to say, our current situation was not anything anyone was expecting. And, it’s hard to prepare for something that you can’t even dream up in your worst nightmare. But, when we aren’t prepared for a crisis, that is when we are most vulnerable .
If you have been caught off guard in this crisis without an emergency fund, you can use this time to really evaluate and reprioritize your family goals. It may not feel like it right now but maybe it is also your family’s blessing in disguise.⠀
How Can I Get a Budget in Place Quickly?
If you’ve found yourself in a tough spot financially for the first (or maybe, second, or third) time in your adult life, it’s not too late to take action. Don’t throw in the towel. With a little hard work, some tough decisions, and some smart budgeting, you can get yourself out of this mess.
But, the first thing you’ll have to do is let go of blame. You can’t begin to make the necessary changes in your habits if you are holding onto blame – of yourself or others. Then you’ll need to establish a reliable budget and to stick to it.
Here are some simple budgeting tips:
- You need to know exactly how much money comes in each month and how much goes out.
- Develop a system or process to pay down your debt.
- Begin to spend within your means.
- Add to your savings each month.
Following these simple steps will help you prepare for the next crisis.
How Can We Prepare Financially for a Future Crisis?
Please believe me, having your finances in order and being prepared for a financial crisis does not make you a DoomsDay Prepper.
The number one thing to do to prepare for a future crisis is to begin saving money in an emergency fund. Open a savings account and begin to add to it each month. Look into accounts with the best perks, like higher interest rates and lower fees.
Start small if you need to. Make sure that you are working to build it up each month and only taking from it in the case of an actual true crisis.
I Can Help You Out
Having been where you are now, I know the range of emotions you’re going through. I know I never want to be back in the place and I don’t want you to be either. That’s why I’ve made it my goal to help others take control of their financial situation through budgeting.
If you’d like budgeting support, let’s chat about 1:1 coaching! I’ll help you set up a systems that will work for your unique family. Info here! Get your info here!
I think it’s safe to say that kids, in general, know they need to wash their hands when they’re dirty. When my kids were young, they learned a few techniques for washing their hands. They would sing Happy Birthday twice or the ABC Song. It’s pretty simple to explain to our kids why they need to wash their hands if they’re dirty. Just like we wash our dirty laundry and dirty dishes – we also need to wash our hands when they’re dirty.
But what about when their hands aren’t visibly dirty? Like, after coughing into their hands or touching a surface that may have germs. How do we explain the need to still wash our hands regularly to avoid germ spreading to young children?
If they can’t visibly see that their hands are dirty, it can be hard for them to understand the need for thorough hand washing. ⠀
Here are two simple tricks to teach your kids how germs are transmitted:
Do an experiment or show your kids a video that demonstrates how easily germs can travel.
Here are some great resources to help with this:
How Far a Sneeze Can Travel Video by Science Insider
Germ Experiment – How Do Germs Spread by Home Science Tools
Why Washing Your Hands Stops the Spread of Germs Video by Kelly Rose Sarno
Help your kids to identify high risk germ sources in their daily environment.
Here are some great resources to help with this:
The Germiest Places at School by NSF International
9 Places Germs Hide in Your Home by Readers Digest
While knowing how and why germ spreading happens, hand washing is – hands down – the most valuable action we can take to prevent the spread of germs.
Here are some fun activities to do with your kids that will teach them just how important washing their hands is in preventing germ spreading. ⠀
The Spray Trick:
Grab a water spray bottle and fill it with water. Get some paper and line it on a table or counter top. Pretend to sneeze or cough and at the same time, spray some water to mimic what actually comes out of your mouth/nose if you don’t cover your mouth.⠀⠀
Now, do the same thing but this time, cough and spray the water directly into your hand or elbow crease as if you had covered your mouth/nose while coughing/sneezing.
Compare how much of the water was caught in the hand or elbow fold and how much landed on the paper. Have your children note how many less germs were spread by covering when coughing/sneezing.
Also, have them look at the “germs” caught in their hand and encourage them to thoroughly wash their hands post cough/sneeze. ⠀
By having them see this in action, they are more likely to be aware of it the next time they cough or sneeze.⠀⠀
Touch and Tag:
Ask your children how many objects or places around the house they touch every single day. Remind them of how easy it is to leave germs on these surfaces each day as they touch them.
Go around your house and tag or mark each of these areas with a label or sticky note to remind your child that they’ve just touched a high risk germ source. Encourage them to wash their hands after coming in contact with high germ sources in your house and at their school. ⠀
When we role play germ spreading, I pretend to be one of my kids and do exactly what I have witnessed them doing (or not doing). I have the kids role play as the adults and instruct me of what I should be doing to reduce the spread of germs.⠀⠀
- First, I role play what my kids do or don’t do after blowing their noses.
- Next, I role play touching loads of surfaces around the house and then NOT washing my hands.
- Then, I role play washing my hands too quickly, not thoroughly enough, or without soap.
- Finally, I role play coughing and sneezing without covering my nose or mouth⠀⠀
I then ask my kids what was wrong with my actions and how they, as adults, would correct my behaviors. My kids love getting to be the adult and telling me what I’ve done wrong!⠀⠀
I hope this helps a bit as a way to teach your kids how important it is to prevent the spread of germs. I’d love to hear the creative ways you teach your kids about germs spreading. Leave me a comment with your best tips and tricks.
To learn more about germs spreading and other common kid emergencies like fevers, heat exhaustion, fractures, and constipation, download our free eBook, Mom’s Little Handbook to Common Kid Emergencies.
It was recently brought to my attention just how rare it is to find college age kids and young adults with what I consider to be basic life skills. You know, like being able to balance a checkbook, cook a meal, do laundry, or communicate effectively.
So, over the past few weeks, we’ve been exploring the life skills our kids are desperately in need of now, more than ever. We began by talking about personal finance skills, moved into cooking and cleaning, and last week, we touched on relationship skills.
This week, we’re exploring Self Awareness Skills. You might be thinking – what even are self awareness skills? At first glance, you might think that they are things that shouldn’t have to or need to be taught, but I assure you – they do need teaching!
We’re talking simple skills like knowing how to prioritize tasks, keeping focused, and basic etiquette – plus much more. Without these very necessary skills, our kids will lack the self awareness they need to succeed and prosper in our ever changing society.
PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS
It is so necessary for our kids to avoid developing a helpless mentality. There’s nothing worse than watching your child whine that they can’t do something – especially when you know, if they just tried, they actually can do it! Kids who whine that they can’t become adults who never developed problem solving skills.
It is up to us as parents to help our kids develop and understand their inner resourcefulness. Kids, and adults for that matter, don’t need to know everything, but, it helps if they have a skill set that allows them to figure things out. And, if they can’t figure something out, we can guide them in discerning how and who to go to for help.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR CALLING, PURPOSE & MISSION
Understanding your higher purpose, your “calling” and what drives you helps set a foundation for everything you do.
Crafting not only a family mission statement but discussing what a ‘calling’ or ‘gift’ is with each child, will help them to start thinking about who they are and what their purpose, talent and gifts are at an early age.
HOW TO PRIORITIZE AND WHAT YOUR PRIORITIES ARE
We all have to learn how to prioritize the most important things each day, so we can take care of the most necessary (and often the toughest) tasks first. In the ER, doctors and nurses call it triage. It’s being able to assess a situation, size it up and figure out what needs to be tackled first.
Show your kids how to assess the situation and then do the big, bad, tough things first. Get them under control so you can move forward.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR VALUES
Similar to understanding your mission, understanding your values (and refusing to compromise on them) will give you guidance through any decision. If honesty is one of your values, then next time you’re put in a compromising position you’ll never be tempted to lie—because you know honesty is so important to you. If family communication and connectedness is a top value, then you’ll use that to guide your decisions that affect your kids.
Teach your children to write out their values and refer to them whenever they’re facing a tough choice. You should do this, as well. Your kids will learn this practice from your example.
HOW TO FOCUS
This is twofold: first, how to focus on a task when you’re facing a deadline or when you need to get something done; and second, how to focus your direction, your actions and your goals so you’re always in line with your values and holding true to your personal mission.
HOW TO HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR
Parents of tweens are aware of the time in their development when kids start to “get it.” Suddenly they can detect subtle tones in conversation, they learn to be sarcastic and yes, sometimes even funny.
Some adults still struggle with this, but finding the humor in any situation (and even the joy in the toughest ones) will get you far. Humor can help us deal with pain, stress and problems in life, and can help us find the silver lining. That is why this is so important for kids to learn, to help them through difficult situations as well.
Gone are the days of Emily Post and worrying about being judged for failing to use the proper fork at the dinner table (unless your family is VERY formal). Understanding basic etiquette, however, is still relevant and vital in today’s society. Politeness is about consideration for the feelings of others and making sure you don’t do something that offends or frankly, grosses people out (like chewing with your open – just gross).
Instilling self awareness skills in our kids may take some more time and energy while our kids are young. Ultimately, focusing on these skills now will bring your entire family the happiness and contentment you want for the future. For more information on how we model self awareness skills and other life skills in our home, check this out.
If you’ve enjoyed this series and you’re looking for more support in any of the areas covered, let me know. Send me an email with your questions and let me know what life skills you are focusing on with your kids! Don’t forget to grab our awesome FREE resources for teaching personal finance and cooking, cleaning, and laundry!