household budget

When Your Household Membership Changes

photo shows a family of 5 in silhouette watching a red and yellow sunset near a bench and a tree

Momentum carries us through many of life’s relationships. Practicing traditions and routines takes all sorts of decisions off our plate. It’s a type of comfortable efficiency. Then, sometimes, a big change occurs—and things shift. We can find ourselves suddenly reconsidering decisions that we used to be able to take for granted.

I’ve seen it unfold in your lives, clients, and certainly in my own. When my wife passed, I discovered that there were aspects of my lifestyle that suited “Mark in a couple” but did not fit in my new life as “Mark on his own.”

Upon the passing of or separation from a partner, some people realize all of a sudden that what used to be a two-kayak household is now a zero-kayak household. And they’re content with that.

It can happen when the home suddenly expands, too: it’s not just the birth of children that can change a household’s makeup. Perhaps that mother-in-law suite becomes literal, or maybe an adult sibling or adult child moves in to help manage things.

No matter how the membership of a household is changing, the new dynamic will most likely bring changes to the financial texture of life for everyone involved.

  • Are there are any lifestyle expenses that now make you feel, “I could take it or leave it”?
  • Do you anticipate changing your employment situation in a way that wasn’t possible before?
  • How might your tax strategies or insurance options change in this new arrangement?

Although many recommend waiting a year (or some other interval) after a loss or change before making big decisions, there are ways to explore in the meantime. Some people find it helpful to do their own research and talk with trusted friends as they explore options. Some prefer to work on their own personal development for a spell before reviewing their choices.

When your household membership changes, there is no right or wrong way to navigate these issues. Clients, if you’d like to talk through what this may mean for you, we’re game. Please write or call.


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When Your Household Membership Changes 228Main.com Presents: The Best of Leibman Financial Services

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Simple or Complicated? You Choose

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The object of a household budget is to end up with control of your finances.

If you Google “steps in budgeting” you will find results ranging from three steps to ten steps. Each one involves accounting for all of your outlays to the penny. The process must be repeated every month, and requires ongoing work to maintain.

Budgeting works well for some people, particularly when money is tight. If you might not be able to afford food unless you pay careful attention, you probably better pay careful attention.

But another, far simpler method works for many others. You pay yourself first, and spend or save what is left over. Paying yourself first can take many forms, but the most fool-proof methods are automatic.

• 401(k) plan contributions at work, by payroll deduction.
• IRA or Roth contributions, by automatic monthly bank account transfers.
• Investment account deposits by automatic bank debits.

You may need to do some arithmetic to see if your monthly investment amounts are likely to get you where you want to go. (We can help with this.) After that is done, all you need to do is pay yourself first!

Some of you enjoy keeping careful records of spending, and we would not discourage that. At a minimum, being mindful about our outlays makes sense. But for others, the simpler method may fit in better to your real life. It is a personal choice.

Simple or complicated? You choose. Clients, if you would like to talk about this or anything else, please email us or call.


The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

No strategy assures success or protects against loss.