Author Topic: Monthly family meetings! Help!!  (Read 6470 times)

firelight

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Monthly family meetings! Help!!
« on: October 14, 2015, 03:52:05 PM »
I finally convinced my husband we need a regular family meeting to sync up about our goals, plans and to check in generally. He is skeptical but is playing along for now. To keep him interested, I need to be prepared so I can cover all the topics necessary quickly. Do you do monthly/regular family meetings? What topics do you cover? How do you track your goals? How do you keep track of what decisions you take and what the outcome of the meetings are?
Do you usually sit around a table with no distractions (like in an office)? Or discuss goals and plans as you do chores/walk?
I want a way to show my husband that these meetings are useful and that we'll gain a lot by having structured clarity around our lives. So pipe in with any and all ideas!!

Capsu78

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Re: Monthly family meetings! Help!!
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2015, 04:42:30 PM »
I'd want to have a bit of structure that started off macro and then reduces altitude to where you begin to hang some meat on the bones of your "financial kingdom"
While this link is about getting started on retirement planning, you might be able to repurpose some of these links to structure a couple of starting points with good non threatening talking points:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/retirement-planning-guide/

IE: the Week 1 questions are a conversation my wife and myself have never had until I read these blogs.

As for location, I like bringing up topics while we are driving- captive audience and all that.

nereo

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Re: Monthly family meetings! Help!!
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2015, 04:44:36 PM »
I finally convinced my husband we need a regular family meeting to sync up about our goals, plans and to check in generally. He is skeptical but is playing along for now. To keep him interested, I need to be prepared so I can cover all the topics necessary quickly. Do you do monthly/regular family meetings? What topics do you cover? How do you track your goals? How do you keep track of what decisions you take and what the outcome of the meetings are?
Do you usually sit around a table with no distractions (like in an office)? Or discuss goals and plans as you do chores/walk?
I want a way to show my husband that these meetings are useful and that we'll gain a lot by having structured clarity around our lives. So pipe in with any and all ideas!!
I'm curious why you think you need monthly meetings while your husband doesn't seem to think they are necessary.  That immediately suggests that the two of you might not be on the same page.

My suggestions are that, because you are the one instigating this, you will need to have all the information prepared but you also need to make sure that it is an open discussion and not one person telling the other what is going to happen.  I'd start with a printout of the last several month's expenses broken down by category and then some core goals you'd like (savings targets, reductions in certain categories, planning for major purchases/events).  Ask him what his goals are, and what he'd like to do.

In terms of where to do it - I think it would be most productive to carve out a specific time that works for both of you.  I'm a big fan of placing a time limit (say, 15-20 minutes) so that it doesn't devolve into accusations or spin off into tangents.  Try to do it someplace where you can both sit down and look at expenses and goals, and where you both can write on them with permanent magic markers - the kitchen table works great for us.  Make sure it is at a time that is convenient for both of you, and not when there's something else going on.

Finally, realize that you won't get everything squared away with your first monthly meeting.  If you can just agree on a few core ideas it will be easier to revisit the following months and focus your strategies.  Unless you have a "hair-on-fire" debt emergency or unless both of you are deeply unhappy with your current lives there is no need to make drastic life changes.  Most things can be addressed over several months - small course corrections.
g'luck.

Goldielocks

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Re: Monthly family meetings! Help!!
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2015, 04:46:51 PM »
How about a finance graph, monthly review, with spending, income, income from investments shown on it?   (Like your money or your life).

Reviewing your cash position monthly is a great way to start goal and "are we on track" conversations, or discuss those Concert tickets you want to save for in December....   or will just take 5 minutes if you have nothing to discuss.

Bruinguy

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Re: Monthly family meetings! Help!!
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2015, 05:02:32 PM »
I'd put a heavy focus on goals at first.  The two big topics are money and time.  How do you want to spend your money in the upcoming year (budget)?  What things do you want to do in the upcoming year (time)?

Once you have your long term goals, it is easy to figure out what needs to be reviewed each month. 

For discussions, I'd suggest assigning responsibility for actions to be accomplished between meetings rather than trying to work everything out during the meeting.  For example, if you have decided that you want to have a date night once a month, at a meeting you would decide who is responsible for making plans.  I'd suggest noting action items and reviewing them at the beginning of the next meeting.

mrmiyagi

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Re: Monthly family meetings! Help!!
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2015, 05:08:03 PM »
Personally I have tried the monthly meeting thing and it didn't last that long. It kind of felt forced - like work. Now I usually just bring things up while we're walking the dog or in the car.

If you do stick to the monthly meetings, sure you talk about goals that your husband cares about. For example - my wife has no interest in retiring in her 40s (at least she says that now). However, she loves to travel. I used to get some resistance on cost cutting, but she bought in after I started framing our saving as a way to set up lots of vacations in the future.

use2betrix

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Re: Monthly family meetings! Help!!
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2015, 05:32:29 PM »
I think they seem to forced. Why not just discuss goals, progress, current position, etc., on a regular casual basis?

YoungInvestor

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Re: Monthly family meetings! Help!!
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2015, 06:06:03 PM »
I don't know about your exact situation, but monthly meeting would exasperate me. I feel like they would all be pretty much the same.

I'd just set up 15 minutes after dinner some night, and then update when a significant milestone has been met or if the situation changes or if there are any particular decisions to make.

Moustachienne

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Re: Monthly family meetings! Help!!
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2015, 09:43:19 PM »
DH and I hit our local diner for breakfast and sketch out our plans and goals on a napkin.   It's fun and casual to do a couple of times a year.  Structured meetings?  Just not how we roll.

firelight

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Re: Monthly family meetings! Help!!
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2015, 09:56:58 PM »
Thanks a lot for all the suggestions. I've got a lot of leg work to do before the meeting and we are going to take it one meeting at a time, doing more than once a month if needed and less if things are going smooth.

We do a lot of casual talking but my husband is just not into finances... Even though I tell him how much we save, he doesn't seem to make the connection between our savings and spending time outside work to do more satisfying things.

Also, my husband is a happy go lucky kind of guy.... He is very satisfied with what ever life gives him and wouldn't spend much time thinking of alternatives. While that is a very good and very rare trait, it also leads to frustrations on his part on the few times he pauses to think of what could have been. I'm trying my best with these meetings to make sure he actually follows on his wishes and goals rather than be content with his present case.


Astatine

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Re: Monthly family meetings! Help!!
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2015, 10:55:30 PM »
Hope you get what you want out of your meetings.

DH and I are both very unstructured type of people, so a planned meeting wouldn't work for us. DH also has zero interest in finances. When I've talked to him about finances, it's generally been focussed on the bigger picture. Ie the benefits to the both of us. Like, not having to worry about unexpected bills, the option to travel if we want to and for me, the sense of security that comes from not having to worry about money. Only then do I go into details, and that's generally ad hoc. Eg if we got him an aeropress for work, the amount it would save per year would be x. Etc

Kaikou

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Re: Monthly family meetings! Help!!
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2015, 11:13:36 PM »
....

Mmm_Donuts

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Re: Monthly family meetings! Help!!
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2015, 02:12:20 AM »
I got my DH interested in talking about our finances by doing a monthly report. I ask him to record all his expenses and investments, and I set up spreadsheets of our net worth that I update every 1st of the month.

Seeing the charts and savings progress has made him more interested in FI. Now we have a common goal, to live off our investments, so it's exciting for both of us to see this progress inch along.

The key was to keep him feeling involved, and setting goals that are mapped out visually, so every month is more of a fun check in on our progress. We don't really have an official meeting... It's all very casual, like over Saturday morning coffee.

Goldielocks

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Re: Monthly family meetings! Help!!
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2015, 09:06:50 AM »
How ironic.. I just received my calendar alert that my weekly meeting starts in half an hour.

It is cringe worthy..unstructured, at my dh's request.  Supposed to be to talk about upcoming week and kids and money, but hard to enjoy when forced.

wenchsenior

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Re: Monthly family meetings! Help!!
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2015, 09:27:54 AM »
My husband is somewhat disengaged from the day to day finances, which I handle. And thinking about money is somewhat stressful for him. So my approach when things have been tight and we've been trying to pay off a lot of debt or handle expenses is to develop a simple plan of attack myself, then talk it through with him while on a walk or on a road trip. That way, if things get stressful, there is distracting scenery. During these 'meetings', he can mull over my ideas, give suggestions, etc. This also tends to be how we plan ahead for a big purchase or expense.

Re longer term financial planning (retirement funding, etc.), mostly we discuss the long term goals in the casual way described above until we agree on a plan.  I then implement the plan. After that, we have a brief conversation during the first weekend of every month (nothing as formal as a 'meeting') where I update him as to how things are going, how much we have in different accounts, etc. Once per quarter, I print out a summary of this info, plus some simple visual aids like graphs, so that he can see our progress. During these monthly conversations, if we decide something needs to be tweaked, we make plans to discuss details on our next walk/drive, etc.

Very low key, keeps the stress level minimal, and he doesn't have to think about money except for brief periods at expected times.

He does NOT respond well if I suddenly 'call' a meeting for a big financial discussion or spring a heavy financial decision on him. I got stressed out about LTC insurance recently and made this mistake. It did not go well at all, and we had to work through the same conversation on several different walks later on before the tension diminished and a decision could be amicably reached.

Cpa Cat

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Re: Monthly family meetings! Help!!
« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2015, 09:41:29 AM »
I download all of our bank/credit card transactions into Quickbooks on a monthly basis. Then I tell my husband the results. A couple of years ago, this led to in depth discussions about spending - we were focused on reducing our spending level, so we used the monthly update to refine our budget and attack areas that needed work.

These days, we're pretty much on track. It takes 5-10 minutes. He'll ask to see the detail of certain accounts so that he can recall what we spent money on. Sometimes there's not a lot to talk about if we're right on target with our budget numbers.

We usually spend time to discuss what I earned in the previous month and talk about my business a little bit.

There's no set day. I normally do our monthly books when I'm doing my clients' - the first week of the month.

Usually, he's interested and just comes to look at my computer screen when I say I'm finished updating the numbers. Once in awhile he just says, "Oh that's nice." When that happens, I print it out and give it to him or leave it on the dining room table to remind me to discuss it at dinner time.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Monthly family meetings! Help!!
« Reply #16 on: October 17, 2015, 12:43:04 PM »
We did this for about a year. YNAB made it super easy - basically just review last month and set the categories for next month. Before YNAB I made an Excel template that made it easy for me to plug numbers in, print it out, take notes as we talked, and then put any changes back into the budget.

We haven't needed this for a while, though, because we have a budget with set $ amounts per month that carryover and very rarely need to spend beyond those self-imposed limits.

Frugalwoods has a great post about "finance date nights" if you google it.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Monthly family meetings! Help!!
« Reply #17 on: October 17, 2015, 01:04:07 PM »
I either just bring things up casually at carefully selected times (Mr. FP has rules about when money can and can't be discussed; I love talking about money and have to remind myself that he does not want to do this when he has settled into relaxation mode) OR send him e-mails. Even if he's downstairs. Maybe that seems a little cold or remote, but for him, it's important not to be ambushed. If I send him an e-mail, he can choose when to read it.

Which is just to say, take temperament into account :-).

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Monthly family meetings! Help!!
« Reply #18 on: October 18, 2015, 05:46:01 PM »
DW and review finances more or less monthly, but that review is pretty much to review one month's budget and set up the following month's budget.  As far as reviewing investment plans and goals is concerned, we don't really do it.  Our retirement savings is pretty much on autopilot, and retirement is still a long way off, so it's not something that needs regular review.

We *do* hold a family meeting every week with the kids to discuss the week's schedule and issues/problems members of the family may have.  For us, it works best in the car on the way to church (it's a 30-minute drive).

Fishindude

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Re: Monthly family meetings! Help!!
« Reply #19 on: October 19, 2015, 02:37:13 PM »
I'm going to need a conference room at the house with dry erase board and big flat screen computer monitor. 

Mr. Green

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Re: Monthly family meetings! Help!!
« Reply #20 on: October 19, 2015, 03:13:07 PM »
I'm super structured about things but the idea of a meeting to discuss specific things makes me want to vomit. I feel like it should be an ongoing dialogue. My wife lets me handle all the money but I still talk to her about stuff all the time, so it never feels like work.

mustachepungoeshere

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Re: Monthly family meetings! Help!!
« Reply #21 on: October 19, 2015, 04:21:53 PM »
Our financial journey began when I started listening to Dave Ramsey podcasts. (I know his investing advice can be a bit off, but for a newly-married couple trying to get out of debt he was exactly what we needed.)

My husband hated the budget meetings because at the beginning there wasn't a lot of good news.

Six years on, I still do a written budget every week and will pick a morning my husband and I are in the car together to run through our budget for that week, including bills, debt (we are paying off his HECS), and any social or work commitments that might require extra spending.

Occasionally we will have 'big picture' talks, where we discuss our next step (i.e. after paying off debt, then what?)

My only requirement for those talks is that we are both fully present (no TV, no phones).

All those discussions have brought us closer to together and allowed us to better define our financial and lifestyle priorities. They have been invaluable.

firelight

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Re: Monthly family meetings! Help!!
« Reply #22 on: October 20, 2015, 09:24:30 PM »
We had our first meeting this week. It was more an informal discussion (but with me having all the relevant stuff open on laptop) and it was very good. We were able to discuss priorities for our goals and think about the time line. My husband was very pleasantly surprised at the amount of money we have saved for FI and is now very motivated towards it. Thanks all for your inputs!