Are we Mom broke or “actually” broke?

Are we Mom broke or actually broke

It’s SPRING!!!! I am so happy! To me, there is nothing better than the sun on your face, the grass between your toes and the company of good friends and family. I love spring!

This spring has been off to a busy housing market in Ottawa. I am seeing lots of unique challenges, interesting offer strategies stressed clients. Linda and I continue to do what we do best, helping clients feel confident in their decision and ensuring a smooth process. Spring is always a rollercoaster in the mortgage and housing industry.

I mentioned last month that some people are choosing to stay in their home, renovating and making it their dream home. If you are interested in looking at you renovation options, finding the funds and how the process works, give me a call, I’m happy to help. Currently, my renovation is almost done, I can’t wait to be back in my kitchen. Photos to follow.

Have a safe and happy long weekend.


The Solvent Family

Put a whiteboard in the kitchen, the centre of the home. The Solvent family like many families have a hard time staying on task; life creeps up on you. Last month the Solvent family took a long look at their debts and the tiny financial cracks, they found where the missing money was going.

The Solvent family took the time to itemized their credit card and loan debt on a whiteboard. Placing them in order of highest interest rate.

They also took the time to write what was important to the family, their values, their goals. They now had a visual plan of attack, an attack on their financial debt. The Solvent family got the kids involved. It is NEVER too early to teach your children about money. When you let your kids in on how the household finances work, they are less likely to worry or ask for unreasonable items on their ever-growing wish-list.

The Solvent family is using a targeting system, they’ve selected one credit card to focus their financial attention. Once that card is paid in full, they will move on to the next and the next until they have reached their goal(s). By using the whiteboard, they have a daily reminder of their goals, their accomplishments and their values. By including the children, they are providing the children with lifelong financial skills. The children feel like they are part of the solution and gain a sense of pride as they are an active part of the family. Kids are crazy honest; they can help keep you on track.

Language matters. When my son was 16, we took a trip to San Francisco for his birthday. It was meant to be a special time for the two of us, some mom and son time. Andrew was a bit off, every time I said, “let’s do this. Let’s go here.” He would respond with no, its ok.

Finally, frustrated, we had a frank talk. It turns out, he was worried about our finances.

“Why are you worried?” I asked.

“Mom, you keep saying, No. We can’t afford it when I ask for stuff, and now you’re spending too much money on this trip for me, we can’t afford.”

I had no idea that my choice of words was causing my kids to stress. The truth was, we had money, we were ok. I may not have had kid wishlist money the day they were asking. Or I may have defaulted to we can’t afford it as an excuse to say no because I didn’t want to buy or do what they were asking for.

For example, Kids: Can we have pizza for dinner?
Me: No, we can’t afford it.
Kids: Can we go to Playland?
Me: No, we can’t afford it.

What I really should have said, was no, it’s not in my budget right now. Or, no we can do something else. Or, yes, but not today.

By saying we can’t afford it, the kids thought we didn’t have any money. So I came up with new language when speaking to the kids about why I am saying no that reassures them that there is money for food, lights etc. and that we may not have money available for their long list of wants.

I also started explaining household finances and letting the kids see the bills. Using new language and including the kids helped alleviate some of their stress. Who knew kids could feel financial pressure! They feel your stress. They hear your stress. You are their mom/dad/parents, they worry about you.

Funny, moving forward, Andrew would ask, are we mom broke or “actually” broke? Asking me the question in this manner gave Andrew the security to know that everything is going to be ok.

Another trick that worked for me, when the electric bills were starting to climb, I let the kids know how much the bills were and what they can be. IF they conserved energy and saved me money, I would give them the difference in a night out. Who would you like me to give my money too, the electric company or you? It was a win.

If you would like help with the whiteboard concept, please give me a call or email. I am happy to help.

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