I see this question a lot:
“How can I convince my spouse/kids/parents/friends to save more money?”
Here are my thoughts on this subject…
Convincing Your Kids
When it comes to your kids, do all the convincing you want.
In fact, you should be making your kids handle their money properly. Be heavy-handed and knowledgeable about where every dollar goes.
They are your responsibility until they are 18, so stay on top of things there.
At the same time, you want your kids to learn to make decisions and face the consequences of those decisions. Therefore, if we’re talking about “extra money“, let them take the reigns and be there to explain things to them when things go bad.
Don’t bail them out.
More importantly, show them how you’re saving. Open up the banking account details and show them your emergency fund.
Show them your retirement accounts.
If they see you preparing for the future (they certainly aren’t going to get this message from American Idol), they will believe in the concept more and see it as an option for their extra funds.
Convincing a Spouse
When we’re talking spouses, it gets a bit more tricky. You can’t force another adult to do something. If they want to act like an idiot, they will.
However, if that person took a vow to marry someone then they should be open to working towards the same financial goals as their spouse.
Obviously two people aren’t going to see eye to eye on every issue (especially when it comes to marriage and money), but you should work towards a middle ground and respect each other’s goals.
If your spouse isn’t doing that, then try to open up a dialog about finding middle ground. If you can’t, then seek financial marriage counseling.
The Zealous Often Break Boundaries
For everyone else in your life, you pretty much need to stay hands off. No convincing should be done. Encouragement when the window of opportunity is there? Yes. But convincing? No.
When you’re on a journey to improve yourself, whether for the spiritual, financial, or physical, it’s not uncommon to become a zealot somewhere along the way. You know what I’m talking about.
Let’s say you’ve seen some progress with your efforts. All of a sudden you’re an expert on the subject, right? It usually comes with good intentions (hey, I want everyone to experience this), but we often unleash our passion on the lives of others. I’m no stranger to this zeal and the boundary-breaking results.
It’s simply not your responsibility to convince others to save more. You are over-stepping healthy boundaries when you do that.
Unless it’s your kids or spouse, stay away from the topic. Let others make their own mistakes, and wait for an open door to provide encouragement. Be careful not to pounce like a lion with your encouraging though.
With that, I want to hear from you: how do you encourage others in your life to save more?