“If you’re going to be a millionaire, you must have a high sense of responsibility.”(1) In his book, The Millionaire Choice (buy at amazon.com), Tony's suggested scale to evaluate your responsibility begins with your own level of perception. How do you see your personal level of responsibility? But what does it really mean to be responsible?
Dictionary. com defines responsibility as "the state or fact of being responsible, answerable, or accountable for something within one's power, control, or management." The definition adds this description: "reliability or dependability, especially in meeting debts or payments."
The Millionaire Choice defines it as you take responsibility for yourself and your actions so that people can depend on you to deliver on expectations and results.
The perception of responsibility has a measurement of give and take, with the opportunity of shared responsibility. You take care of what you can, I'll take care of what I can, together we accomplish much. However, when you have shared financial responsibility, the give and take teeter-totter can be agonizing for families. Whose responsibility is it to pay the bills? Whose responsibility is it buy the groceries? Whose responsibility is it to look ahead and prepare for the unexpected?
While traditional gender roles may have defined this duty in most families 50 years ago, there is as much variance of financial responsibility in families today as there is in the definition of a family. “Differences in financial decision patterns may have an effect on the wealth building of individuals. Individual financial well-being may not be the same as household financial well-being, even though economic outcomes are measured at household level.”(2)
The responsibility for financial actions in my household has come down to personal preference, available time, and goals. We make big decisions together and discuss our goals regularly. To give you insight into our conversations, we plan a menu every weekend for the week ahead. We look at our calendars, decide who will be responsible for preparing the meals on a given day, and that determines where we will fall on the scale of give and take each day. While these daily decisions may seem unimportant in building wealth, they demonstrate the decisions of responsibility a family makes.
Sometimes I do all the shopping, and sometimes we go as a family, split the list in half, and make it a game for our children. This is how our relationship thrives, and we are building a family culture of shared responsibility. “Cultural background and gender roles influence both financial decisions and family relationships.”(3) Your viewpoint may be drastically different for any number of reasons. However, it is essential to focus on the responsibility scale in this story. We share responsibility for the plan today, the vision for the future, and the unexpected events that may end up in a trip to Domino’s pizza.
While I have painted the picture of a perfect couple working together, we aren’t exempt from conflict such as taking responsibility for missed items. Hiding or avoiding a bill only delays the discussion, it doesn’t remove it. “Individuals may choose inaction instead of negotiating differences, sometimes making less effective decisions to avoid conflicts with family members.”(4)
Admitting responsibility for an unplanned bill should be met with humility and grace. My husband is from California and has a lead foot. As a result, he’s had a few speeding tickets over the years. The last time he was given one, our two daughters were in the car. No chance in hiding that one, they told on him immediately! He plans to talk with me but, sometimes other conversations delay the time when he takes responsibility for his actions. No one enjoys conflict. Taking responsibility means facing the consequences and adjusting the short-term plan to stay on track with the long-term plan. While my husband dislikes conflict, he understands that taking responsibility for his actions is the only way for us to be successful as a family.
As Tony explains, “You won’t get far in the world of success and creating wealth without a high sense of responsibility. The world is full of people who lack it, and as a result, the world is full of people who fail to find success in life.”(5) Giving and taking responsibility for the little things in your family will put you on the pathway to millionaire success.
If you would like to speak to a financial coach to begin your millionaire journey, visit money mentors or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
References 1. Tony Bradshaw, The Millionaire Choice: Millionaire or Not. You Can Choose. Morgan James Publishing: New York, NY, 2018. p. 20. 2. J. Kim, M.S. Gutter, & T. Spangler, (2017). Review of family financial decision making: Suggestions for future research and implications for financial education. Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, 28(2), pg. 255. doi://dx.doi.org.trevecca.idm.oclc.org/10.1891/1052-3073.28.2.253 3. Kim et al., p. 260. 4. Kim et al., p. 261. 5. Bradshaw, The Millionaire Choice: Millionaire or Not. You Can Choose. p. 21.