I’ve learned to separate my professional life from my personal life, but being a social worker means you often have to deal with cases that are as close as things can get to mirroring your personal life, not necessarily in the sense that you go through exact same challenges, but more in the sense that one can learn a lot from what other people go through and use that to make sure things go along a lot smoother at home. A common problem which even goes as far as tearing families apart is that of how they handle their finances.

It can become an extremely touchy subject because often it is indeed the finances which determine how a certain family’s life functions. If daddy must work late and works really far from home, it is indeed the finances which are keeping him away from seeing his kids more, a dynamic which isn’t only limited to the man in the family structure these days. This can apply to the mum in the household as well, with us modern women pushing this independence thing and earning our own money as well.

That’s where we have to look if we’re to keep it real by way of modern day family finances – we need to take a long, hard and honest look at the dynamics surrounding our finances. There’s really no use burying one’s head in the sand and putting faith in the “system” to have things work themselves out. The “system” is failing us and it’s up to each member of each household to bring their minds to the round table and contribute by communicating their desires, hopes, dreams, needs, etc, in addition to being honest about their individual financial situation with regards to how it ties in with those of the household.

When my husband and I met and long before we even thought about getting married we were perhaps a little lucky in this regards, in that we sort of grew into the life we’ve since carved out together, so there were no nasty secrets about some hidden debt or anything like that.

Even for us for whom the cards are laid out face-up on the table, things do tend to get difficult at times. Imagine having to make a choice between paying your insurance premiums and buying one of your kids the new school shoes they need during one of the worst months. I can only imagine what those spouses dealing with issues like shopping addiction or excessive expenditure on something like alcohol must be going through if it’s hard enough for those of us who are completely transparent about our financial situations.

That is indeed the key to having any hope of making it work with your family finances though. You have to be honest and transparent about your situation, no matter how painful it may be. At least that way you will never find yourselves in a situation where you blame each other aimlessly instead of working towards planning a viable way forward.