How Does Money Influence Our Work-Life Balance?

Creating a “Team” Approach to Family Finances

Navigating finances within your family can get complicated — but it doesn’t have to be. Forging through a financial plan together and with intention can create better goals, boundaries, and mindsets.

For some guidance, we took to expert Scott Behson’s book Working Dad’s Survival Guide. Following are some tips to help you and your family start thinking about your financial team …

1 – Success Is the Freedom to Live by Your Priorities

“My over-arching philosophy when it comes to finances, work and family, is that the key to success is the freedom to act in accordance with our priorities.” To do this, Scott encourages his readers to be careful around the big financial choices they make, like the decision to buy a house. “Maybe instead of working harder and sacrificing family time, you can free up time by examining and reducing these large expenses.”

2 – There is a Lot to Gain From Smart Budgeting

Creating a budget, and revisiting it periodically throughout the year, has just as much value in the home as it does in big business. Scott realized this when his organization created a very conservative budget. He noticed they didn’t create a worst-case scenario budget, but a scenario where they assumed they’d only achieve 85% of their income goals. Then a few months later, when they had a better handle on their financial picture, they created a second budget. Upon the second review, they then realized they had much more liberty with their spending than expected.

“If we do 85% budgeting, we have more slack in our finances to accommodate unexpected expenses.” In contrast, “If your regular income and regular expenses simply equal out, your finances can be compared to a rope already taut. With no slack, the rope has no more capacity to be stretched further without fraying.”

3 – You May Need to Choose – The Biggest Bucks or Work Life Balance

“Among other things, jobs that require or strongly encourage extensive travel, long commutes, long work weeks… earn significantly more than jobs that are more stable, have more regular and reasonable hours, and do not make such time-based or psychological demands.” However, Scott also reminds us that jobs that pay less may have other non-financial benefits, like “more satisfying work, better work-life balance, less stress and more free time.”

4 – Create a Team Approach to Your Financial Goals

The best way to be on the same page? Talk through different options with each other to create a common plan.

“My wife and I talked about my transition from a long-hours, good-paying job with good benefits to going out on a limb and starting my own consultancy… We had some financial cushion, but it was scary. Now I can have a much more family kind of lifestyle, and we can share the load more easily at home. The fact that my wife and I talked all the implications through – what does this mean for our mortgage, for college savings, for health insurance, for her work? – made the transition so much better.”

We also know real and lasting change will only happen when societies support all genders to share in the work of earning income and caring for their families. Want help designing your Shared Care work-family solution? Check out our “Work Family Options Resource Book.”

Want to hear more about finances? Check out the below video to hear a powerful and vulnerable conversation we had about a “life centered” approach to finances from our Thursdays with ThirdPath webinar!

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