At some point, I realized that there is no such thing as “normal”. Working with families means understanding that what’s perfectly reasonable and an inherent ‘fact’ in one family, may be unreasonable in another.
Despite all our financial differences, there’s a theme that is common in many conversations. It was recently explained in a perfect way by a client. They said, “My spouse and I have chosen ‘Peace over Profit’.
What they were describing was that they had both known for a while that despite good income and a wealth of assets, they were on an unsustainable financial trajectory. They also knew that if they discussed it or asked each other (or their children) to change their financial habits, it would cause turmoil in the family. It was easier to stay with the status quo than it was to make changes to their financial habits that would benefit them in the long run. Well, easier until it wasn’t.
Issues that keep being swept under the rug will eventually need to be addressed. The longer we wait, the harder it will be to have the conversation and the harder it will be to change habits.
It’s nearly impossible to separate money from emotions. We all bring our own history, stories, and biases into the decisions we make. But, when we take the time to have meaningful conversations and develop a plan to address our biggest dreams and worst fears, we gain freedom. We gain the opportunity to have peace AND profit.
This family has already taken some bold steps to get back on track and has included their children in the conversation. I have no doubt this transition will continue to be difficult for a time. I also have no doubt that they’ll never regret their choice to take back control!