Don’t let a financial crisis ruin your family

With 10.7 million Americans out of work in November 2020 (and 3.9 million of those workers unemployed for 27 weeks or more), many have been forced into tough talks about money as a result of the pandemic.

Whenever your life changes significantly, it is a good time to review your financial plan, because things like marriage, divorce, a new baby, or a career change can profoundly affect the situation in your home and cause you to reconsider who is responsible for what. Whether you’re sharing expenses with a roommate, a partner, adult children, or parents, now is an especially good time to talk about money. Here are some ways to facilitate these difficult conversations. Feel Your Feelings First. Few had 2020 that they thought they would, and no one knows when normalcy will return. Mark Reyes, a Los Angeles-based certified financial planner who works for Albert, a financial wellness mobile app, experienced a major disappointment: Earlier this year, he and his wife called off their wedding after more than two years of planning. , choosing to elope in his aunt’s backyard. Although they feel they did the right thing, “we regret our wedding,” Reyes says. “We plan a lot and work very hard for a special day.” Point out that it is okay, even necessary, to process those emotions; Burying them can make it difficult to meet financial goals because you will continue to fear the unexpected. “My wife and I were real about how we were feeling,” Reyes says. You’re also seeing a lot of emotional turmoil from customers, he says. Your company works with people who have been laid off, and those who have lost their jobs may feel that they have also lost part of their identity and what they thought was their role in their home. “Just because there is no income or that you are not earning income does not mean that you have no value as a person,” Reyes says. Reyes says his company helps those clients with practical steps, like identifying and reducing nonessential expenses and looking at side jobs as a way to get into the next month. But giving yourself the space to feel sad and angry can also help. Let the process of expressing your concerns take you back on the path to setting financial goals and dreaming again. Don’t Miss Out: Vaccine Distribution Will Take ‘The Best Of A Year’: “Get back to what’s realistic and important to you in these tough times,” Reyes says. Passionately Renegotiate Home Responsibilities It’s an ancient recipe for resentment: One spouse loses his job, but the working spouse still bears the heaviest burden of household chores. Or both spouses work from home while supervising the children in a remote school, but one of them feels they are interrupted more often and unable to focus on their work. (And let’s be real about which work gets interrupted the most by many couples of the opposite sex: it’s mom.) Chores don’t just include cooking and cleaning. Managing money also takes time, and all adults in the household should be involved. According to UBS UBS, + 0.85% in Financial Services’ Own Your Worth 2020 Report, 49% of women give in to their spouses when it comes to financial decisions. The report also found that due to the pandemic, more than half of women take over responsibilities such as childcare, cooking and cleaning, while nearly three-quarters of men handle finances. See also: How to Talk to Your Kids About the Capitol Robbery Depending on the situation in your home right now, the division of labor may no longer make sense, and that means it’s time to talk. Of course, these conversations can get heated. Nathaniel Ivers, an associate professor in the counseling department at Wake Forest University, believes that interpersonal conflicts arise from your desire to be understood by the other person, while at the same time, you don’t understand where the other person is coming from. . He recommends using “I statements” when discussing hot topics. “If you say, ‘I am overwhelmed by the additional responsibilities that I have now,’ that will sometimes elicit compassion,” says Ivers. “But if it comes to pointing fingers, the last thing you get is compassion and empathy.” Set limits when helping your loved ones financially If a friend or relative needs money and you are in a position to help, you can do a world of good at a difficult time. But this can be difficult if lending or giving money means you will have a hard time paying your own expenses. “It is so challenging. You want to help, you’re helping, but you only thought it would be once or twice and now it’s been six months, ”Reyes says. “That is a very difficult position to be in.” Read: My co-worker owns 10 houses, 9 of which are rented. How did you get a stimulus test while I didn’t? Instead of providing unlimited help when you can’t afford it, offer to pay for specific things, like a month’s rent or three months of electric bills. Your loved one gets some relief, while you cover a predictable expense that you can budget for over a period of time. “You have to be firm but kind,” says Ivers. “What I would say is, ‘I can help you with this in particular during this time.’ That’s where the limiting piece is. “More from NerdWallet Sara Rathner writes for NerdWallet. Email: srathner@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @sarakrathner.