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May 14, 2021 2:00 am
Conversations about money and inheritances can be uncomfortable. But wouldn't it be better to talk about it with family members while you can, rather than to leave it to the state to decide after you're gone? Ron Deal, director of FamilyLife Blended, walks through different scenarios, and gives suggestions about how to make wise money decisions.
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Is money ever the issue that pulls couples apart in marriage. Ron deal says he thinks money is a symptom more than a cause of conflict.
Every time you hear money is the number one cause of divorce is not true.
What is true is what's underneath money.
That's what creates conflict and how you handle money till somebody whether selfish or not and blended families, and you have these added things of so do I really belong in this family is your ultimate loyalty to your children or you providing for me seems to me that something more money spent on your children that it's been on my children.
That's the stuff we fight about and argue about and that's what ruins relationships. This is family life today. Our hosts are David and Wilson on Bob Lapine.
You can find us online in family life today.com it's important that couples in a blended family stepfamily have conversations about finances. It's important to know how to talk about them and what to talk about Ron deal joins us to help with that today. Stay with us and welcome to family life today. Thanks for joining us. I want to amend something I have said in the past, oh boy, this is a point when I said this and and there's part of me that I I still believe what I was saying, but it was it was limited. I have said the people in the past. I think it's wrong for a couple to come up with the prenuptial agreement right. You're getting married, there shouldn't be any prenuptial where you're planning for the divorce. I agree Bob right yet the safety net you say you thinking yeah well Ron I have a feeling you're going somewhere else.
Ron deal is here with us today were on welcome back to family life today. Thank you so is good to be is either contrary and he he thinks prenups are good work or to find out.
Ron gives leadership to family like blended and to the great work that's going on there. He's an author. He's a speaker he's been on family life today. A number times and we should say here at the beginning, anytime we have you on their folks are gone will blended families, so it sounds like family life is endorsing divorce so do you want to speak to that for just a second. You know were not endorsing divorce at all. Where were not endorsing any sin choice. Somebody may have made that led them into a blended family what we are talking about is the redemptive work of God in people's lives to influence where they are who they are woman at the well and had a very sordid marital life. We don't know all the details behind that but it wasn't pretty. And little cup of living water, and all the sudden she is preaching and teaching and bringing people to Jesus. We just think Jesus can have that redemptive work in everyone's life and that's what family blended is all about trying to meet people where they are and say how can where you are be in sync with where God wants you to be so on prenuptial agreement. Did you ever say like I said, nobody should sign a prenuptial agreement think it probably did. Early in my career I did and you know before we talk about whether we should or shouldn't limit. Let me follow up on the quick reactions that you guys are why did you think that at some point in the past. Thought I thought it because a couple going in the marriage sign the prenuptial agreement is hedging their bets that are saying I got a 90% confidence that this will work out but I better just protect things because things can go south and I want to make sure that I'm ready if they do, yeah exactly commitment or something really stepping on the water, trusting God to make it salad. I've got 1 foot in the boat. Then go the way I think I'm I'm good, it's almost like saying I'll leave include my parents and cleave to you but only my money are you yeah and so absolutely, and I do think the prenuptial agreements in general are planning to fail. But what if we could pull out the best part of what the prenup is intended to do and turn it into something that helps you succeed. It just will quickly limit quick story we tell in this book the source of any guide to financial planning. In 2016 a designer in the Netherlands actually designed ready for this.
He designed a house called a prenuptial house. It's two units designed like Tetris shapes that fit together now it's a houseboat so it floats on water, and then when the couple breaks up which inevitably is going to happen. They can each take their half of the house and float away all my word is a real thing. It's a real thing. Now what if we could take in a blended family scenario two adults who already have some assets, money, and something in the financial past and there. The two separated Tetris shapes and we put them together and we create togetherness for their financial future.
That's what we want to do in this book. So instead of a prenuptial agreement we harvested the idea and turned it on its head shook out all the negativity of it is my friend Greg Pettis as an in the book and created a togetherness agreement idea. It's this we plan together. How were going to merge both our money and our family relationships for the benefit of everyone involved with permanence. Now it's about planning to succeed, not about planning to fail. I love what you've done in the book the smart set them a guide to financial planning which you wrote, with a financial planner, Greg Pettis and at an estate attorney David Edwards so you got together the three of you. Your background focusing on relationships on what the Bible has to say about how our relationships are supposed to work out. Greg brings all of the financial expertise.
David brings the estate law together and you said how can we help couples who are either forming a blended family or are in the blended family address an issue that has potential to damage their relationship, their extended family relationships. How can they address it so that it can, it can go smoothly for them and for their kids and their grandkids ran right and we were trying to disarm the hand grenade that sit in their living room that nobody is really talking about or doing anything with I got to tell you I'm I'm really proud of this project. I'm not because of what I contributed. I think I helped pull a lot of pieces together, but Greg and David are true experts. There is no book like this. Secular or Christian-based there's probably three other books about blended family finances on the market. None of them deal with the relational dynamics of the family and how that influences how money is used and how money is thought of and none of them lay sin. Any value Christian ideals into the ideas of the book at all.
So this truly is a first. To my knowledge, and I think it's very practical. I just think it's really going to help. I'm talking to moms and dads today who are as her kids are growing up and getting married in the first marriage there saying before my daughter marries him. Honestly, I want some kind of a financial background check run on him because here's here's a reality.
Your son who graduated from college and maybe have a scholarship and so there's no student loan debt he's fallen in love with somebody who's got $40,000 in student loans and there to get married and all of a sudden her $40,000 of indebtedness is now your indebtedness. I bring that up because those are real-life issues that first-time families have to face, so let's go to a blended family scenario where the wife whose husband died. She was left a sizable estate and she's met and fallen in love with the guy who lost his business last year and had to declare bankruptcy and the kids are looking at this and gone know you're not marrying him. I don't care how much in love you are, because it does all of this become yours and we would say, well, if a husband and wife are falling in love and getting in, getting married, yes, what was each of ours individually is now ours together is that the right way to look at Lenny campaign hereby because we had a scenario with a friend that that is the exact situation she was in and when we have couples that are getting married. We would always advise them that it's a joint bank account right. I had no idea Dave, you felt this to because they are good friends later in our foot in her 40s. The wife last I felt such an emotional protection over her and for her kids that that was the question she had poor financial dealings.
He had some bankruptcy and she had a sizable inheritance and so that's what she came to us and said why do you think help you learn these to be a book out there two years ago that I am now I know exactly what I would hand her yeah okay so let's let's kind of take the layers because as we've Artie said there's above the surface money stuff and legal aspects of this. How do we manage that with the below the surface. Relational dynamics is really what you're asking about, like, okay, there are adult kids who don't trust this new man and what is he all about, and he seems to not manage his money well can we trust them to manage moms money, which is really our money like so where do we fit into this. Of those, that's below the surface and then there's relational trust between the couple. Like I love you. I trust you sort of like I feel some loyalty to my first husband. You can imagine that being a part of the scenario to care for what he cared about, to make sure it moves to our children in ways that honor them and honor him like you can get so stuck in the middle of all that stuff and so I think you sit down and you begin to kinda begin to pull apart and ask what is this about what is this about, but if let's say that couple come into the discussion with one solution week must have one pot of money at the end of the day. I think they limit their ability to be creative about how they love and care for one another seat.
The number of bank accounts is not the issue. The issue is how do we love and honor and care for one another. In this scenario when it is caring for one another were caring for kids, so it could be that they find a creative way to create a togetherness agreement that agrees that you and I as husband and wife are sharing this that we both bring and it might even be worked together deciding I'm going to help you with your debt.
That's a part of me marrying you as I married your debt, all right, but were also going to provide for our children. With this. Maybe there's a family business.
Maybe there's some were in a leave life insurance for kids that nobody gets to touch and the kids are going to get what's fair to them. But here's another piece of our ass at the house or some other 401(k). For example, that you and I share after my death. You can find creative ways of doing that, but sometimes that means you end up with two pots of money or three pots of money or two pots of functional day-to-day money, but then we have 401(k) account and we have this over here account in which we really have 10 pots of money but the point is that is being used to care for and honor marriage and children so you said it's a it's a little bit different is tell me if I'm right if you're talking to a first husband first wife one marriage you typically would say joint account does what it that's loving each other than to be in one that's trusting God.
But it's different. Now press and and you know what I think even the first marriage has layers like you know 50 years ago yeah well I'm skunked.
Nana and I in no way I was 19. She was 20. We had not. I know my dirt for barely surviving college. There was nothing to worry about her share whatever we just jumped in and went forward couples today or get married, 26, 28, they've acquired a little bit there to get a house. Nana and I are going to a wedding very soon. Where when you went to their online registry. It was not anything about kitchen utensils or a toaster. It was about pain for their vacation.
It was about pain for the resource that they were looking for day to aid in their job. They were to get a house. They were to go toaster. They were to get all the scum stuff because he is 28 and he's established and she's 26 and she's established and now they just can be merge and all that stuff like the world is changed right so that couple may need to have a togetherness agreement conversation around how they're going to merge their things blended family couples. Absolutely, it's got to be part of the conversation so as I look like if you sit down and say honey let's develop a togetherness agreement. How do you start what you do. One of her things are going to do in the book. There's an appendix called the own and O list everything you own and everything you owe.
Now if you were to sit down and just start making a list of all of that stuff and then slide it over the table to the other person there slide over to you. You know what you're doing it again transparent zero you're actually showing the other person. I've got $40,000 in college that I bought a car.
I should know but I've got credit card debt you have to own it and here it is. And if you marrying me your marrying this and now we have full transparency that is a good exercise for anybody care who you are. Now we get honest about one another and what marriage means and how we move forward with this and there's no surprises. He knows Susan is keeping a secret and then they surprise it on you and you're stuck with credit card that you didn't see coming. Well, that's just a betrayal of trust right and so you know transparency so the process starts there. Then you begin to kinda figure out all right this what we have to work with what we want to go. The book kind walks you through a process of figuring out those initial steps. Some couples as we said before, will figure out you know we need a little help with this.
When I share with those creative financial solutions are. We don't know what you tip us and we need to sit down with an attorney or a financial planner who does understand those pieces and together you find your way through you know it. It can be a much longer process. For some people just based upon their history and what they have and other people. It might be a conversation.
They have one afternoon okay we feel like we can move on Ron, I've heard you tell couples in a blended marriage, the priority in the marriage needs to be you call that the front seat relationship.
Yeah, the ultimate allegiance is to your spouse right.
Is that true financially. Yes, but that doesn't mean you stop providing for children and so it is a both and it is yes, you're in the front seat with me and we have kids in the back some of mine. Some of your like different combinations and how do we provide for them and think about their futures and what we want to give them like if I were to die today. My kids are not yet in college, how do I make sure they get to go to college think those are really important conversations that are part of our responsibility as parents, and if if we got married in our 60s both of us widows and we got adult kids and my new wife has some financial need that takes precedence over inheritance for my kids. Yes, but let me just say this. Some people can get nervous with the yes like oh this I mean after shift everything out.
None on its that's not all or nothing right.
It is about both and so the creative answer might be something like everything that I have in place in my will is basically staying the same. But I am to go out and buy as Greg and David have taught me the great financial equalizer is life insurance everything that I have is Artie set in my children to continue to get that but I want to go out by some or life insurance that just goes to my spouse, because that way they are provided for kids are proof.
There's lots of creative ways of managing that it doesn't mean you have to start dividing or splitting or even taking away from somebody so thinking it through together is the way to do that now. One of the awkward pieces of that might be apparent then going to their now adult children. For example, insane.
This has changed. Before I left all three.
You kids each get 1/3. Now you're each getting this percentage trying and here's why.
But here's what I want you to see him still providing for you and I'm leaving something to the grandkids through life insurance but I'm also providing this over here for my new spouse. So everyone is cared for. Think that's the ultimate message.
If you lead with that. One of things we teach people's lead with love. Look, the reason were making these changes is so I can provide for you. I love you. You're my child that's never going to change and not but and I'm providing for my new spouse. Love is not a zero-sum game, but money is so if I'm going to my my kids and send. I'm I've got a new wife coming to the picture. That means your inheritance is going to be diminished or gone from 1/3 to now, what's gonna wind up being 17 1/2% and they're looking at that hard dollars and that's costing for them have it. It's gonna require that my kids have some level of spiritual maturity and that they understand what it means to trust God and is there a way I can help shepherd that spiritually hate. There is cost to making choices and relationships. You can't choose to get married and expect that there not be any cost. Not only is there a cost in your money.
There is a cost in your time. There's a cost in your energy you used to have 100% of your grandparenting energy for your biological grandkids. Now you marry somebody and you have step grandkids. There is cost all the way around. And so there are some realities here that you do, you do have to face, and that's part of what we help blended families understand is when dad grandpa has made these choices that's forcing cost on children that they didn't ask for that create some tension that is part of the reality of this clears and obviously once you design this together. This agreement now there's a conversation that has you unveil that to the kids right that's right. And that's going to be emotional. It is semi because mom and dad made a decision and they're good with it, but now when I roll it out to my kids and I and by the web sinner listen is gone.
I was that kid. There was never conversation it was just like all that's money now goes to stepmom and what they had. My stepbrother and what statement did that make no value, said it was emotional. That's the below the surface. Comment that it has the impacts the impact you know is you felt undervalued and maybe that really wasn't what anybody would've intended right but that is what came through. If there what had been a conversation to say I'm acknowledging there's going to be some changes and we regret that these are what the changes are, but please know your valuable conversation is so important, I think it will be difficult, but I think even for the kids processing to hear their father or mother talk about that that's an act of love because dialogue can continue to happen and even their emotions can come out that you can continue to be resolved in time. The alternative is to not have that conversation you think about it when you're aging and starting to lose your memory, and Alzheimer's kicking in. And now people are single dad.
What would what did you plan for us and you don't remember it like everything gets worse right you just pushing off the inevitable. When you have those awkward but important conversations again here. The purpose you are helping your family merge. It might be a moment where it brings something to the surface that is difficult and need some forgiveness and work through. And yet, on the other side of that, you're not only dealing with the money stuff but more important, much, much more importantly you're helping to solidify expectations and relationships within your home yet. I was just thinking this is hard as a conversation would've been for me.
I was young college student with my dad. My stepmom and my stepbrother, whether it be sitting there or not.
That would been a really hard conversation but looking back, it would been doing been really helpful.
There's nothing talked about. I have no idea. I'm just guessing what I was think what I thought I was going to get and dad made a lot more money.
The mom so there's can be some money coming from him. But not anymore. And I know my dad well enough to know that if you had the conversation, he would look me in the eye and say I love you. I value you. But here's what I got a new financial and I think I would been like okay this really hurts, but I get it, but there was never that conversation so you just in the dark here sand that hurts, and there would've been some sense of rejection. If he tells you totally, but your send that would've been better than the ambiguity. Yeah I think so. As hard as I would've been it would been really hard. He could've at least had a voice in the situation of expressing your angst are your anger or your hurt, whereas in some ways there hurt would've been it would been communicated. I would've dealt with it and it would've stayed, but I never dealt with it because I every year. Now, 10 years.
Hey maybe yeah I think maybe maybe I should had the guts to go hey dad that I never did. I'm waiting for conversation. It never happen. So the the deferred hope Getting deferred and defer to get worse and worse. If part of the conversation happens at that moment time it opens the door for you to have further conversation at a later point in time. Again it is empowering which and I just got a point on here, which is another reason parents don't have this conversation.
They don't want to be held accountable. They don't want to acknowledge that there is a another ripple impact unto the life of my child because of choices made in the past. I'm not trying to throw guilt trips on people, but sometimes we run away from the responsibility of our choices and we should instead stand up and take responsibility and try to help those we love through the transitions. This is all messy and complicated and you and your co-authors have made it less complicated. You found a solution out ways for folks to navigate through complicated waters and that takes care of some of the mess.
This may not be the silver bullet that makes everything easy. But this book the sparks that family guide to financial planning will make things better than they would otherwise be that we can't guarantee its outcome be sunshine and unicorns right but we can guarantee that if you press into this and you do what's here, it's going to go better for you long term in your relationships, and in how your money gets handled. I'm so grateful for the time it took to put all of this together and for your co-authors and the expertise they bring into this to because they have a financial planner and the estate attorney coming alongside somebody who understands the relational dynamics as well as you do.
That's just a gift to the body of Christ you so thank you for this. Thanks for the time on family like today. Thank you.
We got copies of Ron's book of the smart step family guide to financial planning eroded with Greg Pettus and David Edwards. You can go to our website. Family life today.com order your copy or call to order one 800 FL today in the book is called the smart step family guide to financial planning, take control of your blended family finances go to family life today.com to order your copy or call 1-800-358-6329 that's one 800 F as in family L as in life, and then the word today, we didn't talk about this today, but Ron just wrapped up an event. This was three or four weeks ago called blended and blessed that data had an audience actually all around the world. People who tuned in to get help for their blended relationships and there is a second event that's coming up in October actually gonna be in Atlanta and this time it's gonna be live if you live in the southeast anywhere near Atlanta. Plan to join us in October for a two day event called the summit on step family ministry.
This is for those of you who are involved in ministry to stepfamilies. If your family pastor local church. If you'd like to do outreach events for blended families in your community. If you just looking for ways to help people who are in stepfamilies. The summit on step family ministry is the place to go for that. All the information about that event is up on our email@example.com you can go there for information. It's in October 2020, 21 in Atlanta and again it's gonna be live so go to family life today.com to find out more about the upcoming summit on step family ministry. All of us are hoping that this summer is going to be a lot different than last summer was as we worked our way through Cove 19 last summer and and had to cancel a lot of family plans a lot of events, things got shut down for many of us last summer were hoping this summer, maybe things can be a little different here in family life. Summertime is always a bit of a challenge for us, because during the summer months, we will often see fall off in financial support for this ministry. We just see donations go down a bit in the summer and knowing that we had some friends of the ministry who came to us and said we'd like to give you a boost. We will agree that will match every donation you receive during the month of May, dollar for dollar up to a total of $250,000 and maybe that extra cushion can help you whether some of the challenges that often come during the summer months.
We are so grateful for their generosity but to take advantage of their generosity.
We need you to be as generous as you can be as well. You can make a donation today and when you do your donation is going to be doubled. In addition were to send you a couple of thank you gifts for your support will send you two books by Aaron and Jamie IV Erin wrote a book for husband's Jamie wrote a book for wives. The books have the same name. The name of the book is complement the surprising beauty of choosing together over separate in marriage and then along with those books will send you a flash drive that has five extended conversations that Dave and Anna and I had recently. Looking back at the last 28 years of family life today almost 29 years now. It's hard to believe some of the main themes that have had an impact in my own marriage and life over that time. We just talked about what I've learned in 28+ years will send you a flash drive that includes those five conversations along with some of the programs that have stood out to me during the years will send you both the books and the flash drive.
When you make a donation today to family life today.com to donate or call one 800 FL today to donate and we do look forward to hearing from you. And with that we can wrap things up for today. Hope you have a great weekend. Hope you and your family are able to worship together in your local church this weekend and I hope you can join us on Monday when looking to talk about femininity and womanhood. Abigail God is good to be here to talk about what the culture has to say about womanhood about what the Bible has to say how does get confused sometimes how we should think clearly on these things. I hope you can tune in for all of that. I don't think our engineer today. Keith Lynch got some extra help today from Bruce Goff and our entire broadcast production team on behalf of our hosts Dave and Ann Wilson about the pain. See Monday for another edition of family life today. Family life today is a production of family life of Little Rock Arkansas crew ministry help for today hope for tomorrow