Not Funny: I love jokes, I love to laugh and enjoy life to the fullest. Just ask my family, it’s just the way I am. Of course I have my own brand of humor and not everyone gets it. That’s why I am not an internet sensation. But the other day I shocked my family and they thought – not cool, not funny dad. And I was serious, it was not meant to be a joke.
If you have read my recent post I have sort of left behind the funny cute family jokes, pranks and fluff post I usually put up. I have traded my parenting post for – I need to fix my finances, like right now post. So when my wife asked if she could make a deal with me – I called my children over and asked them to be witnesses. What? Really dad? Yeah – I did that.
People think its funny when I say that even between family you need to write down what happens (like minutes to a meeting) and that you need contracts. Say what? Yes, you do. “Not cool. Don’t you trust me?” and “Not funny dude.” Yes I get that reaction a lot.
Not Funny – is not keeping your word
Normally I don’t do this with my wife but times are changing and the older you get the weaker the memory (or loss of memory becomes an excuse) and is used to get out of doing something you promised. Many of the arguments couples have is due to “you said” or “I didn’t say that” discussions. You know, the “I don’t remember saying that!” argument that occurs more often than not.
In my family we have this running joke about my wife – say what you mean and mean what you say. The reason I say this is because my wife will say something (totally off) and when you correct her she says “You know what I mean.” No, I don’t know what you mean because you said one thing while meaning something else. So most of our discussions revolve around what I heard her say and what she “meant” to say. Or in some cases, what I said compared to “what she thinks” I said.
So when it comes to our finances, it’s not funny, nor humorous but dangerous not to have a clear understanding of what is expected. We agree to do something and one party decides to do the opposite. That creates chaos. What it also creates is an endless argument of who said what and I don’t remember saying that. So my belief has always been – if you are going into business, even with family. You should have a contract. At least have something written down that everyone signs off on and agrees to. This is what was said, what party A agrees to and expects. This is what party B agrees to and expects. That way you have a clear understanding and no one can say – I did not say or agree to that.
Sure it was strange to have the kids sit in as we haggled over silly points “But I want this…”. But it was necessary. If I have learned anything in my long life – my word is my bond but “your” word (other peoples word) is not. People remember what they want to remember. People perceive things, they see things how they want to see things. What you say may not be what you mean. I know because I have been guilty of this at times. So to avoid the arguments (to a degree) you agree to write it out in plain English (your language) and sign off on it. This will insure that this is taken seriously and no I am not being funny – not funny at all. This is serious enough to put in writing.
Not Funny, disagreements not Fun
My wife and I agreed to the terms we both set forth and I wrote it down on paper. She read it, my daughter read it, my son even read (disinterestedly – but he read it) and we all agreed that what was written was what we agreed upon. Oh here comes the not so funny part. I made everyone sign on the bottom of the page, yes I did. My wife asked me why was I going to such extremes with this. My daughter asked why was it all necessary. I explained to them, as seriously as I could, so that we all understand what was agreed upon. I want to relieve stress in our lives. I want to know that what we said is what we do and no one can say – “that is not what I said.”
Of course this may not completely stop the – oops and the blatten breach of contract. But at least I can point to the contract and say, not funny – this is what you agreed too.
Teach my son – What to do with your dollar
How to answer – Dad how do I become RICH
Creating Family Harmony through the Use of Contracts: www.smalleymarriage.com
Loan Agreements With Family And Friends: www.debt.org