Begin communicating about money by identifying personal values. Values represent those qualities, situations, and material things an individual cherishes most. Values are a product of your past experiences, present situation, and expectations for the future. Some values and attitudes toward money can be traced to childhood. What were your parents’ attitudes toward money, use of credit, or “keeping up with the Joneses”? Was money a constant point of conflict, or perhaps a subject that was never discussed openly?

The attached worksheet, Money Talks, is designed to give you more insight into your values and attitudes about money. It also will indicate some of what you know about your family’s income and spending patterns. Make extra copies and ask other family members to fill out the worksheet. Do not let the other person(s) see your responses until the worksheets are completely filled out. Then compare.

Talk about points of agreement and disagreement. Can you see any differences in values and attitudes that may be causing conflict in your family? Can you pinpoint potential problems? Use the information to help with your discussion.

Living With Change

Change, confusion, and conflict are a normal part of everyone’s life. Changing employment patterns and roles for men and women, plus uncertain economic times, have caused us to rethink how we earn and how we spend money. It is easy for family members to be guided by messages from the world around them. Often, that can result in not knowing what is really important to each individual or family.

Managing changing financial situations is challenging. Clarify values, analyze possible causes of money problems, and develop skills in communication to make money management a satisfying experience for your family.