Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Learning to make financial decisions as a blended family

Now that you are no longer single, you need to learn to make decisions as a family. Before when it was just you, you could easily make financial decisions that only impacted you. Now, you have several people to worry about and that may include a blended family. A blended family is a whole different ball game when it comes to financial success. Often times, you have child support to worry about and other financial hurdles to jump over.

Plan a budget for a blended family
Learning how to make a budget after a divorce or a remarriage does not have to be hard. You can sit down with your spouse and figure out a budget for the next 12 months. A budget is something that you do not want to divert from because it will help make your life a lot easier, and it will help make your remarriage a lot more successful. Make a list of your financial priorities and stick with them when you are creating your new family budget.

Make a list of where the money goes
After a remarriage, the two adults in the relationship need to sit down and make a realistic budget. Write out each category in which the family money will go. For example, write out mortgage, utilities, groceries and etc. You will want to make sure you do not forget a category. You also need to make a list of the incomes that are coming in each week. After all, you cannot make a budget unless you have actual income coming in.

Find free money in the budget
Making a budget is not easy, nor is making financial choices in a blended family. There are always step family members involved and you need to find a way to make everyone happy. You have to find some free money in the budget, that way you can find fun things to do. Sitting in the house and watching TV all the time, just will not cut it.  Give each person in the family an amount of money each week. Each person may use this money how they want, but the parents are in charge of deciding the cash amount that is fair for everyone. Make sure to stick with the amount and do not make purchases over that amount.

Prepare for the worst
Always talk about the worst-case scenario that could happen in life. Ask questions like, “Should we have separate accounts” and “Who should be the beneficiary of our money?” You always want to ask questions like these, especially after a divorce. Prepare for the worst now, so that you may enjoy life a little better later. Do not be afraid to talk about death because it’s a natural part of life, and it’s something that needs addressed after a divorce and before a remarriage.

Learn to make better financial choices
When you learn to make better financial choices in your blended family now, then you can all benefit later. Making a budget, finding spending money and talking about finances after death are all part of learning to make financial decisions as a blended family.

For more information, contact The Blended and Step Family Resource Center, for guidance on managing your blended or step family.

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