We Found a Common Language to Talk About Money

D.&B.T. - Washington

We approached Bhaj and Money Focus Program at a time when we had problems managing our cash flow. We needed a better understanding for our approach to managing money and understanding how each of us views our joint finances. Our values, habits, beliefs and communication around money were not very aligned. 

We had difficult financial decisions to make, resulting from coming out of a horrible economy. We both realized that a shared bigger picture vision and game plan was lacking when it came to money and finances.

Going through the family origin exercise uncovered differing ways we think about and approach money; which wasn’t at all surprising but it was helpful.  We are able to make a personal connection better by having appreciation and understanding about the different ways we think about money and formulate approaches and opinions. It used to be easier to NOT communicate – operating separately – and developing our own separate plans, which really isn’t helpful for the long term

MF Program gave us a better understanding of each of our approaches to managing money and how each of us views our joint finances, related to how values and beliefs differed.  The way we approached money, coming from different families, was not very aligned.

We did exercises independent of one another – which gave us and Bhaj insight into how we thought of each other and how we think about money.  This shined a light on where we were at without any blaming or finger pointing. 

Going through the family origin exercise uncovered the different ways in which we think about and approach money; this wasn’t at all surprising but it was very helpful to point out.  We are now able to make a personal connection better by having appreciation and understanding of our values.

Half way through the program, we are able now to communicate about money. We talk about it – independent of working with Bhaj – setting up categories and budget. Now we feel we can connect while talking about money. This is a big deal!

The main challenge with the program for us is moving through homework in a timely manner.  For example, we haven’t gotten Quicken fully operational yet.  We were going through a workbook – but the Quicken debacle got us derailed.

D – “To be honest, it is hard to keep up with the program because our lives are busy and we struggle with doing the homework.  Having said that, Bhaj still has made great progress with us!”

We initially reached out to Bhaj some time ago, when times were good and money was flowing. But being busy with a young son and with running a small business, we both believed that tackling the topic of money was not a priority so we abandoned the idea.  The overriding feeling was that times were good and if we keep doing what we are doing everything will be alright. Then, the Great Recession radically changed our perspective.

Looking back, we realize that having a financial game plan in place would have helped us better weather the bad times. We understand now that we would have fared so much better had we proactively taken the Money Focus program when times were good; the sooner the better.

Halfway through the program, we both check in weekly with each other and talk about money issues.  For example, we spend time during the week and talk about setting up Quicken expense categories, discuss spending patterns and their implications. This is a surprisingly terrific development!

Having a shared system for dealing with money has given us a common language from which to discuss the family budget and finances.  Looking forward to the future, we feel more hopeful and less frustrated; we are communicating now, working together and building a money system together with shared ownership.