Sometimes financial planning goes beyond the individual. If you have a partner or a family, your saving and spending goals are part of a bigger picture. Additional household members don't have to make your financial strategy more difficult—it just means increased communication.
1. Have one conversation each month regarding your finances with your family members
Effective conversations depend on listening even more than speaking, and this is especially true concerning household finances. Since family members of different ages have different understandings, talk frequently to get everyone on the same page about how much is coming in, how much is going out and what the family priorities are.
2. Develop one shared household financial goal
Each month, when having your financial conversations, come up with a goal that you can all get behind. Whether it's short term (new TV set, anyone?) or long term (paying down your mortgage), decide what is in all of your best interests and pursue this goal together.
3. Develop one financial goal for each family member
Just because all eyes are on a shared goal doesn't mean the members of your household don't also have their own plans or ambitions. Different family members may be at different stages of their lives, educations or careers—and they should have individual goals to reflect this.
4. Set up a shared household savings account to support your savings goal
Now that your shared family goal is on the table, it's time to take action toward reaching it. This involves setting up a dedicated account, so you can stay on track. You can enable account balance alerts for everyone or keep them all informed during your monthly conversations.
5. Set up individual savings accounts to support individual goals
Accounts should be set up for each family member's goal as well because individual accounts will not only make the goals real but also attainable. There is no point in setting goals if you don't plan to reach them, and tracking progress—together—will help everyone stay accountable.