Financial Strategies for a Blended Family

Successfull MarriageOverall, financial strategies for blended families should not be that much different from strategies for a traditional family.  Hopefully couples have already talked about  such things as their current finances and their financial goals for the future.  In addition, they should have already created a budget to ensure their daily living expenses are covered after their marriage, with an eye toward saving money for future expenses such as a home or a large purchase such as another vehicle. Both adult parties of the blended family, in order to get off on the right foot, also need to understand there could be monthly expenses from prior relationships or marriages such as alimony or child support.  The best way to minimize issues with these types of monthly obligations is with simple acceptance.  Couples are better served by presenting a united front and tackling what might be a tight budget, together, rather than going into separate emotional corners and considering thoughts like, "it's his alimony payment, not mine" or "her ex should support her child, not me".

Responsible couples, whether they have a blended family or not, will be best served by following the sage advice of "don't sweat the small stuff".  Focus on unifying around the big-ticket items like housing, child care, transportation, alimony and child support.  Allow each other to have a certain amount of money for which one does not have to answer to the other -- and be prepared that it might be a small amount to begin with.

Couples who learn to embrace the unique financial challenges presented by a blended family and who brainstorm together to solve those challenges will find their relationship strengthening and deepening over time.

Spring into Attraction

Young Woman Standing with Arms Stretched Out --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis There's a spring in Katie's step, and she simply radiates positive, upbeat, can-do energy. She's "in the flow." Good things continue to happen in her work and personal life with seeming effortlessness.

Contrast this with Courtney, who puts in twice as many hours at work-super-long, hard hours every day-yet rarely achieves what she's striving so hard to create.

What's the difference? Hint: It has to do with Katie's ability to attract what she wants. However, this kind of attraction has nothing to do with looks.

Rather, it's about Katie's ability to attract abundance by living in a way that's in tune with her purpose, her passions, her most vital and alive self.

The law of attraction. It's not just some woo-woo theory, it's scientific: like matter attracts like. It's similar to a radio broadcast: when tuned into a particular station, you will only hear (attract) the frequency of radio waves that match that station's signal. And when that happens, everything seems easy, not a struggle.

"Once you change the way you are inside, the outer world changes," writes Joe Vitale, author of the The Attractor Factor. Vitale is one of dozens of authors who write persuasively on the subject, including Jack Canfield, Esther and Jerry Hicks and Michael Losier.

  • Get clear on what you want and why. It's not enough to know what you don't want. You can't get what you want until you know what that is! Getting crystal clear is where the "magic" of attraction all begins.
  • Imagine it. See it as happening. "Conscious change is brought about by the two qualities inherent in consciousness: attention and intention," writes Deepak Chopra. "Attention energizes, and intention transforms. Whatever you put your attention on will grow stronger in your life."
  • Keep yourself receptive. Exercise, eat healthily, play, and relax. Stress, exhaustion, sluggishness, etc., can all interfere with attraction. In the radio station analogy, they become the "static" that interfere with the "frequencies" of that which you want to attract. Though taking a day off to relax rather than working frantically may seem as difficult as stepping off a precipice, it can be just what is needed.
  • Listen to your intuitive nudges. Attraction isn't about sitting back and waiting for it all to come to you. Action is always required to meet goals and make dreams come true. Vitale writes: "Your job is to ask for what you want, and then to act on the inner nudges you get to do things, like make phone calls, write letters, visit a certain person, or whatever." Don't worry if your "nudges" don't make immediate sense. The "why" will reveal itself later.
  • Surrender control. This means to let go and trust. Let go of the particular way in which things will happen. Let go of fear, doubt, worry and disappointment. Let go of the notion of struggle. Trust that the outcome will be just right.

 

So whether it's a job promotion, landing that huge client or buying a new house, claim your dream. It's yours if you want it.

An Observation

Highlevel of thinkingOne thing I've noticed over the years, whether it's listening to myself or listening to others is that we all take ourselves just a little too seriously a little too often. Try this experiment the next time you're out in a crowd.  Try not to be too obvious and not to be rude, but listen in on the conversations of others.  Really listen. People love telling other people how they have been slighted, what he said, what she said, how dare they, how could they, THEY THEY THEY.

Funny how it's rarely WE. We don't say, "I contributed to and was part of a huge traffic jam".  We say, with a huff, "I got stuck in traffic" as if we had nothing to do with it.  As if there is traffic and there is us and the two are completely unrelated. What is that?  Where did we first learn that?  That internal putting on our dukes when we feel misunderstood, slighted, disregarded.   The separation of us and the other person.  

Couples come into my office and immediately go into defence/attack mode.  He did this, she didn't do that.  They don't want a therapist, they want a referee.  I'm tempted at times to keep a whistle around my neck. Huge disagreements are spent over minute details of times long gone.  "No, it was 3 months ago."  "No, it was 4 months ago".  "No, you said blah, blah, blah."  "No you said blah, blah, blah".  On and on.

Do you have a video of that time?  Did you record it because if you didn't, my guess is you're probably both right and you're probably both wrong. The stories don't matter, the content doesn't matter.  These are just trivial details.  Beneath all the words, the anger, the hurt, the pain...underneath all the spit, fire and indignation, are simply people that at the end of the day really don't need that much.

Oh, but we make it so complicated.  We all create OUR stories, why we are right, god damn it.  There cannot be compromise and there can't be another way to look at it, WE ARE RIGHT!

We have uncanny abilities to make mountains out of molehills and we will fight as if our lives truly depended on it.  And after a day of scratching and fighting our way with words, accusations and blames, we try to shake off the unkind words like built up dust and pretend they were never there.  But the damage has been done.

What is it we want?  What is it that we all so desperately search for, desire, long for?  And if we had this thing, we'd let go of our end of the rope, call a time out, make love and not war. My humble opinion:  We as human beings want to be seen and we want to be loved.  Period.   We want connection, we want to be understood.  And we are willing to go to hell and back to get it.

 I have heard it said that at the end of many people's lives, their regret is not in what they didn't accomplish, what money they didn't make, but in how they wish they had loved more fully and freely.

We are much more interconnected to one another than we are not, and if we could remind ourselves of this simple truth, our lives would be so much less complicated and much more filled with the love and understanding we all so fervently desire.