Outside the Box: How yours and mine becomes ours: Navigating finances in blended families

by | Oct 30, 2023 | Stock Market

Managing the family finances is a leading cause of divorce. If nuclear families can’t get along when it comes to money, is it really a surprise that a blended family often has even more challenges?  “The additional outside forces such as ex-spouses and the biases and heightened emotions brought into the relationship from prior failed relationships can make managing money in a blended family especially hard,” financial expert Mikel Van Cleve says. Van Cleve, currently a Ph.D. student at the Texas Tech University School of Financial Planning, focuses on how blended families manage money. He adds: “No decision is simple, especially when kids are involved.” 

I attended the most recent Financial Therapy Association Conference, where Van Cleve and a fellow Texas Tech University Ph.D. student, Ashley McWhorter Keamo presented their academic research on this topic. They emphasized that blended families can come in various forms — one spouse having kids from a prior relationship(s), both spouses having children from previous relationships, and possibly having a child(ren) together. Each form presents unique challenges.  The National Survey of Remarried Couples found that 73% of remarried couples do not have a specific plan for money management, even though 66% have concerns over unpaid bills, debts, or settlements. This corresponds with what we hear time and again at Modern Husbands: couples don’t talk about money or they don’t know how, despite facing financial difficulties.  The foundation of any successful financial plan is open communication. …

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