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Yours, Mine, Ours, Theirs?

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
May 13, 2021 2:00 am

Yours, Mine, Ours, Theirs?

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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May 13, 2021 2:00 am

You can tell a lot about what a person values by the choices they make with money. Ron Deal, director of FamilyLife Blended, says finances and personal values are especially complicated in blended families. Ron urges couples thinking about blending a family, to plan, plan, plan, for your financial future together. He lists practical tools to help make asset management easier.

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How you form a blended family can be tricky how you bring together two financial backgrounds to different bank accounts and balance sheets that can be tricky to run deal says that's a subject that a lot of couples never have a conversation about before they form a stepfamily. I think a lot of couples don't talk about this because the have the sense that it might bring up some conflict. This does not go there.

We don't have to were happy today and what we want to mess that up by talking about money. And yet if you don't you I think you push off inevitable disagreements or potential conflicts. This is family life today. Our hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson on Bob Pino find us online@familylifetoday.com this is a subject that blended families ought not avoid. You need to talk about money and finances. We need to know how to talk about it and you need to know what to talk about. Stay with us and welcome to family life to. Thanks for joining us and look who is in the studio with this good day deal steps in broad do the counseling thing with me in account back in these dark caverns secretly paid him to run. Welcome to family life today. Thank you so is good to be background gives leadership to family life blended, which is a part of what we're doing here and you been doing this is a decade now close to me.

I wish you were coming up on eight years so yeah it's been a while. Eight years here for the cool thing. I don't know how many people recognize this, but there's a lot going on under your leadership.

There is an annual event for blended families call blended and blessed which is coming up here in just a few weeks. It's April 25 that's a Saturday, you can find out more about blended and blessed when you go to family life to.com. By the way, great event last year and is just tremendous in our church.

Your lifestream did and they loved it. Yeah there's also event you do in the fall called the summit on stepfamily ministries, which is more for leaders and church leaders, and folks were doing blended family ministry exactly for lay counselors or people leaving the small group or children's ministry leaders or senior pastors who want to know more about blended families, and then you are writing and speaking. In fact, right now, you and Dr. Chapman have been going around the country and speaking together on how blended families in love languages kind of matchup yeah and that's because of the new book that the two of you have written. That is just now out and were to talk today about one of the. The big potholes. In fact, I remember Ron Windham when you and I first talked about this subject. It kind of blindsided me.

It was one of those. I never even stop to think about that money that there is what I never thought about is all the complication that come in when a couple meet and fall in love and there either Windows or there's a divorce, but there is another family or their kids or whatever. Now whose money is what and that gets messy, really quick. It does get messy very quickly. Quote in the book a firm in New York that that reported that half of their disputed estate cases were between stepmothers and adult stepchildren. While these are things that end up in court and people battle over stuff. We just give you, for instance, because you're actually right Bob I would do is to family ministry for about 27 years now. In one form or another and I spent about 20 of those years avoiding the subject today because I'm not a money guy is not my field of expertise. But I really didn't quite dive into it enough to realize all the implications for families until Greg Pettis came along and said hey man, we really need to do this and he became one of the co-authors and we brought in an estate attorney, David Edward so skin like the beginning of a bad joke. What happens when a family therapist. The certified financial planner and a state attorney walking. I think it turned out well, but if it was messy in the beginning I learned a time about this, and I realize all the things that I was missing here is just a for instance, David and Bob, you and Marion. I'm Scott make an assumption. The average couple planning their estate today.

Probably if one of you dies. You're probably leaving it all to your spouse. What if I told you that if you did that and then your spouse, your widow married somebody else, God forbid you can imagine that at this point in time, but your you guys are all pretty young and so what if a few years, five years, 10 years after you passed away your widow married somebody out. I think all of us and say if that was the situation we want our spouse. They met somebody infallibly want them to me about what I in the box in the ground again. If you have somewhere else without one thing about your kids joking course of the great and so you left everything your spouse knowing that there can provide for your kids. It's all good to be lifted them after they die. In the meantime.

Lo and behold they get married to somebody else and then your widow dies.

Do you realize all of your assets just got left to their new spouse and I don't like this and their new spouses, kids, that's true, not your kids.

It happens that easily. In fact, there's that there's a term it's called asset draft and unintended disinheritance you've just inadvertently disinherited your kids just because you didn't think about it and there's so many people that are already in that blended marriage.

Maybe they were widowed. Maybe they were divorced. Whatever the back story is dirty in that marriage and they've not done any planning around and they're just assuming everything works out in the end and that turns out to be one of the most dangerous assumptions people can make will take death out of the equation and let's say that there's this blended family that has just formed and it's a couple in their 60s and he had three kids and she had four kids and he was pretty well off and the woman he married was that money was tight.

The other three kids history kids who were expecting when dad dies working to inherit some some good money in the business. Yeah, whatever. Is this not get divvied up with her kids to write so is the rule that he leaves everything to her or what what imminent and imagine how disgruntled is exactly exactly just sat at a dinner table with the dip disgruntled daughter having she just sees this year and she's a wonderful Christian woman. She's like this is really hard the money we thought were going to get is now going to our stepmom and you know it's here's a me to question because sometimes the on the surface that sounds like she's greedy but what imminent money is never about really about what's above the surface. It's often about what's below the surface. So what could be going on in her heart. Is this about, I'm greedy, or is this about. I don't feel honored. I don't feel cared for. I'm beginning to think that mom or dad or whatever the scenario is is more thoughtful about their new spouse then about us as their children, and if there was ever a time back when mom and dad divorced when I was 10 or 20 or four and I felt uncared for, then this now reminds me that I've never quite felt cared for all along. It's almost like evidence, it's evidence writing it so it it's raw all of a sudden and then she's really disgruntled and money is always emotional.

It is, there's no way around it. So now you are really driving at some her emotions well and anytime we had you here. We've talked about the relational tensions that happen in a marriage relationship in a stepfamily relationship and those are very real. Take money completely off the table.

There still a whole bunch to deal with in terms of loyalty and past baggage and all of the things we talked about before, but again, now you throw money over the mix and you've just added a nuclear device that I'm thinking this can take the best laid plans of a blended family and sabotage limiting how passionate I've got about this at our last summit on stepfamily ministry. Greg and David and I did what we call summit immersed. We did a three hour workshop on the themes out of this book and I made this statement and I've never said this before but I'm saying it again now on the air. I think pastors have a moral obligation to force of a good use that word. Couples who are in blended situations or dating considering becoming a blended family. We have a moral obligation to ask them to help them to ask these questions to plan plan plan because this unintended disinheritance phenomenon is sad. You know were called to care for our child was first Timothy say you know if a man doesn't care for his family is not stewarding and providing for well if you just assume, honey, I love you and you love me and with the best of intentions. You just assume it's all gonna work out the odds are things are going to go awry at some point, maybe after you're gone and your widow is trying to do with your children or stepchildren. That's when it all hits.

You really have to do some careful thought and planning around this desert. There's a word for what you're describing. The Lord is nave. Yes, this issue is going to come up either before you get married or after you get married and so the question is where's the best place for it to come up and the answers before you get married because after you get married you want these things settled so you can get on with the business of forming a new relationship. It is just so many interesting things that I learned did you know for example if your widow and let's say you're under the age of 60 years spouse died young in life and you been getting Social Security benefits spousal benefits if you remarry before the age of 60. You lose your benefits but if you remarry after the age of 60.

You keep all of your prior benefits as as well as gain possible new but diffuse future benefit. Did you know that if your divorce from somebody your former spouse can claim benefits, Social Security benefits on you long after your divorce. Now that you don't know idea yeah you donate actually have to even know about the government is not gonna tell you about it. It doesn't affect your Social Security benefits or any new spouse. You might have their potential benefits, but a former spouse can make that claim. Sometimes people are are leaving money on the table and didn't realize that they could do it while I'm I've heard of Christian couples who are not married but there waiting until her 60 to have the wedding, but there still living like they're married because they're trying to hang onto these financial benefits and their gone well will were married in God's eyes, but just not in the states eyes until we turned 60 in bleat of the below the surface matter, there's do you trust God Right now. And ultimately that's with that comes back to but it is helpful if you at least know what the laws are and what the implications are.

Here's another one people saving for college and for the kids. There's a thing called FAFSA. Yeah free, we all feel the reapplication of federal student aid form right.

Do you know that they keep score differently than the IRS. Let's say you're the custodial parent of your kids FAFSA didn't care they're going to determine whether your child get student aid based upon how much time the child spent in either home two years prior to you actually filling out the form. In other words, you may be the custodial parent. The other family may be paying child support. They don't care about any of that. If the child spent one more night in your household then the other household then the determinations can be based on your income. If you have a higher income household in a lower income household coparents could simply get together and say you know what when we let Jonny stay at your house.

Two extra nights this year. While when he comes time for him to go to college will qualify for more student people. It's that simple.

But if you don't know those things. Then all of a sudden you've found yourself in a quandary tone a couple cylinder they I mean I know couple going through the first marriage rarely talk about money and then they get in like oh my goodness, are couples going into a blended family even thinking no, they're not like I think the assumption is I love you you love me wherever you have a family and what you somehow it all work out. I trust you to care for my kids. You trust me to care for yours and and I love those intentions. We want to build on those intentions in this book smarts the family guide to financial planning helps you put together what we call a togetherness agreement so that those intentions actually become fulfilled. But if you just assume that's where things get in trouble. The law isn't on your side. The law in the United States is very much biased towards biological kin relationships and so if you just assume that the monies gonna flow to your spouse who then floated this to your children after the. The stepparent passes away. What have you. That's not gonna happen, but you can make it happen.

That's the really cool thing in all this out Togetherness tremendous togetherness agreement allows you do that it's it functions basically like a will. It basically says hey here's what we intend to do to provide care and provision for one another for my spouse for my children before I die after I die were to have life insurance go here and on and the estate is going to go hear the family business is going to go to this child because they are invested in the family business. Video seems to care about that and so will have to worry about them having a role in this business goes their life insurance does this impact it.

In other words, it allows you to talk through and decide together.

See, there's a togetherness piece about how you're going to help money foster your family. This not inadvertently divided up and I'm guess in the low percentage of couples are doing this. I don't think anybody's doing yeah because were just introducing the concept like that Brando is that superexpensive today around my car. I think that would hold people back. I cash that's can cost thousands of dollars to get in the lawyer and estate planning person what keeps us from doing. I'm so glad you asked.

We actually think it we say in the book that many couples who may be of our of simple means and have a simple financial portfolio can just do this themselves, they can write it down, that it becomes a written document that they share with their children and the intentions are clear and altogether pay anybody. I do think other people are going to say well you know what we we have some things here would probably put a legal stamp on it.

Somehow we need to involve an attorney and you know you count those costs upfront and decide whether that's something you want to invest and I don't think it's a terribly expensive process. In fact, I know, for the people that that the early folks that we've had respond to us and tell us that they take an action along this need to hire attorney for a couple thousand dollars and it's done well and and if you're going to die without a will, it's better to have what they call holographic will just something you wrote out even if a lawyer is not there now that can run and legal challenges.

Later on, but it's better to have a holographic will do no will, and it would be even better to have a legal will the holographic will.

So that's kind of the hierarchy here. Yeah things are simple and you just want to write down. Here's our plan. The new witness of me both sign it and you get some other folks. Then you got something that says here here's our plan and if anybody challenges that you got a document to deal with if if you do have means and a sizable estate probably better to have a lawyer on top and you know it. One of the big mess. I think of money is.

People say well I don't have enough to we don't have estate I don't own much that we don't need to do this know that that's wrong you have something in even if it's grandma's dishes.

They got handed down to you, your kids are probably invested in where those end up so it's it's not just about the amount of the value of those things. It is about the emotional connection is Dave said earlier that we have to those things and what they mean to us, and how this demonstrates value of one another. I hear the kinds of complications that we been talking about here and I am instantly overwhelmed to the point that I'm thinking couples who were happy and pursuing a life together. All of a sudden they're not sure they can make this work because of the complication with this kind of a collective denial and you said nave earlier and out to say, denial, and I think a lot of couples don't talk about this because the have this sense that it might bring up some conflict. This does not go there if we don't have to wear happy today what we want to mess that up by talking about money.

And yet if you don't you I think you push off inevitable disagreements or potential conflicts and again we talk before on this program about the family relationship can bond and have great depth, but until they get there they tend to be fairly fragile. It doesn't take much for somebody to go home and okay, forget it.

I'm not a minute trying this relationship anymore. When you throw in a little conflict around money all of a sudden that can destroy a relationship that was somewhat fragile while we run into people that have literally said all right honey, this is our plan this out.

Working to manage things.

Let's not tell the kids I'll let you tell my kids. This was my decision after I'm all man, you really had that yes while and it's like okay what's below the surface that this is a guy who's afraid to set boundaries with his kids to say, look, this is what's happening this is what's not happening and then to deal with any potential response from their children and their throwing that off on their new spouse know and I can set really value about money he say in your book that most conflicts are not about really money their very values underlying it's a vision that I love think that's what's really going on there.

Right yeah I just about dollars.

Can I just set the record straight.

All right, every time you hear monies number one cause of the every time you hear that or see that in an article or what it is not true right is not true.

What is true is what's underneath money.

That's what creates conflict right because money makes a statement about what you value or who you value and how how you handle money tell somebody whether you're selfish or not tell somebody whether you're really mindful of them or somebody else do you really care for us those of the statements money makes in blended families and you have these added things of so do I really belong in this family who's your loyalty to is your ultimate low loyalty to your children or you providing for me right. There's power issues in money who gets to spend money who who doesn't get to spend it without asking permission. So there's control issues and money. There's acceptance issues. It seems to me that some more money spent on your children. Then it's been on my children. Do you not accept much. It's what money means.

That's the stuff we fight about and argue about and that's what ruins relationships I have recommended your smart stepfamily book. I don't how may times to how many people back almost anytime I meet couples or in a blended family. I have you read the smart stepfamily good because that'll help you in so many areas.

If I have a number two book to recommend. I think it's probably this new book because of the level of complexity, but part of me says you gotta read this before you get remarried before you form a blended family. I'm wondering how this works with couples who are two years in the blended families already been formed.

It's like I'm not sure we want to crack open this book is now all of a sudden we may come up with a bunch of disagreements and then we go through a tough season an arm newly formed blended marriage which is already having some challenges.

So let me talk about the below the surface stuff there and then come back to the above the surface below the surface.

The insecurity feel around the subject ought to be telling you something. I'm not exactly sure what that means but is trying to tell you something so listen to that party that's going I want to go there, why not what's the fear what's the concern. If we go there. It might send the wrong message.

Yeah, you're right. You need to communicate clearly about what it means and what it doesn't mean about what your decisions are going to indicate about your values, maybe that insecurity is I'm not sure how others feel about me or my place in the family so you're really asking family merger question how far along of which have we come in this new blended family. Those are important and we say in the book when you find those below the surface issues you need to attend those first so that's the first conversation is honey do you feel insecure in our marriage, what happens if you as a spouse is thinking this is really important. I want to read this book together honey go through this and the other spouse has no interest. They don't want to talk about it.

What should the one that's wanting to do this what their role.

What should they do. I want you to get curious about what's below the surface, not critical. Hey come on, we gotta get it in a fight.

So tell me what's holding you up around this conversation. What concerns do you have about it go below the surface try to help them sometimes. The other your partner didn't even know what their insecurity are furious and so you gently ask and try to draw it up so that you together can deal with that first. Only when you get past that, can you then go above the surface and go right, what's a good plan for our money. It's it's kind once you do the hard work below the surface to the above the surface stuff just becomes a function of making some decisions finding out the financial options that you have available and just a quick sidebar the financial world has some cool stuff that allows you to find creative solutions if I could just share what this my favorite. I have learned so much in the rest of this book Q tip never heard of a Q-tip to clean my ears. No qualified terminal interest property trust course know that yeah yeah did you know back to the original question we started with like what if my assets go to my widow and then to their widow into their kids. Did you know a Q-tip is something you can establish that says when I die all the assets go to my spouse when they die. These assets go to these children. This child, this child, this child, my stepchildren, everybody's provided for from your grave. You can dictate where your assets go.

It's awesome.

It provides for everybody.

Everybody feels affirmed.

Everybody feels valued and cared for, and it's all set up ahead of time. You don't have to hope that it all works out. Will an average financial planner or an average estate attorney be able will will they handle these issues. They will blended families.

I'm glad you asked. Yes, they will know what a Q-tip is they don't necessarily know the below the surface issues.

One of our goals in writing this book it. We've Artie started getting feedback from this. I had an estate attorney tell me you know, I've spent 40 years helping people plan their states and I've never thought about the relational matters going on below the surface.

Well, until I read this book so were helping financial planners in it and attorneys understand relationship dynamics were helping couples understand both of those things. In particular, what's above the surface and in the financial so here's kinda how I feel. I feel like I'm saying everybody should have this book. It's kind like everybody should have a pet snake at their house and I don't mean you will say that you need this book and this is medicine.

Maybe not a pet snake. You need to shot you need to go get an immunization and yet it's going to sting. Maybe for a little bit but this is this is about your health as a family going forward. And if your mother is widowed and she's seen a guy yeah they need this book.

You're only good news, yes, but rife your pastor a ministry leader, a marriage ministry leader in your will. Helping couples doing premarital counseling. You need this because it's going to help you ask better questions and help them move into a space that they probably are naturally not going to get it's also going to help you talk yells out this issue because it's one of those issues I go if I don't talk about. I don't need to think about it in this book of say we not only gonna read it, we can have communication is can change everything right and bringing out underlying issues can be scary, but it can be a good thing that can bring healing.

I've got a friend who's a financial planner and I must send a copy of this to him. I get two brothers and artisans that I'm imagining that everybody he works with. He's gonna say we've all gotta read this because this is what were dealing with day-to-day as we try to help people with their financial future. We've got copies course runs book the smart stepfamily guide to financial planning, written with Greg Pettus and David Edwards. You can go to our website. Family life to a.com to get a copy or you can call one 800 FL today in order by phone again. The family life to a website is family life to a.com or call 1-800-358-6329 that's one 800 F as in family L as in life, and then the word today asked for Ron deals book the smart stepfamily guide to financial planning. When you get in touch with us and then I know you're probably not think about the fall yet, but we are. We are making plans for October to be hosting the summit on stepfamily ministry as a are you ready as a live event.

Remember those live events where everybody gets together in the same room and and we can have fellowship together working to do that in Atlanta in October. There is information about all of this on our website@familyliketoday.com. If you are involved in stepfamily ministry or if you'd like to start a stepfamily ministry in your community or in your church. Find out more go to family life today.com to find out about the upcoming summit on stepfamily ministry in October, 20, 21 in person live together sounds good that we want to take just a minute here and say thank you to those of you who are quick to respond.

We've been talking the last couple weeks about a matching gift that's been made available here at family life during the month of May. Every donation we are receiving this month is being matched dollar for dollar.

There's a matching gift fund that's got $250,000 and it actually has a little less than that in the mall because as donations are coming in.

Those funds are being matched dollar for dollar. Thank you to those of you who have already called or already gone online and made a donation so we can take full advantage of this matching gift opportunity if you're a regular family like today listener today is a great day for you to call or go online and make a donation because when you do the impact of your donation will be doubled thanks to the matching gift that's been made available to us and were to send you a couple of thank you gifts will send you two books one for husbands and one for wives. The one for husbands by Aaron IV. The one for wives is by his wife Jamie.

The books are called complement the surprising beauty of choosing together over separate in marriage and along with those two books were to send you a flash drive that includes five conversations that David and and I have had recently about some of the major lessons I've learned about marriage and family over the 28 years I've been cohosting family life to what we just sat down and talked about what has stuck with me and all of the interviews and all of the conversations we've had here and we recorded that so we want to send you those flash drives with also pulled out some of the programs that have had great impact so you can listen to those again the flash drive and the books are yours when you donate to support family life to again you can do that online@familylifetoa.com or call one 800 FL today to donate. Thank you for helping us take advantage of this matching gift opportunity and we look forward to hearing from you and we hope you can join us again tomorrow.

Working to continue talking about blended families and finances. This is really important if you know somebody who's in a blended family called them and urge them to tune in tomorrow to listen to these podcasts. It'll be really helpful for them.

I hope you can be with us tomorrow. 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.

I'm Bob Lapine will see back next time for another edition of family life today. Family life to a is a production of family life of Little Rock, Arkansas.

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