Back to the library
Financial • 4 minute read

Separating Finances and Emotions

Separating Finances and Emotions
By Aaron Briggs
Published by Ruby

Ruby helps you and your family work together to prepare and organize finances.

Sign up >>

Behind every financial decision, there is an emotional ingredient. These emotional factors can be on the plus or the minus side.


The highs.

You save up and finally take that trip of a lifetime. Euphoria!

You plan that grand family reunion and bring all the kids home. Triumph!


The lows.

You pay the electric bill and realize that it’s too high and you may need to cut back on the heat in winter or raise the air conditioning temperature during the summer. Fear.

Your spouse spends a lot of money on what you consider a frivolous hobby. Resentment.


Money is a lifeless thing.

It has no emotions, fears nothing, and cares for no one. It’s how we approach money that makes all the difference. If we look at money as a tool to accomplish our dreams and desires, we master our money instead of letting it rule us. And if we have a solid retirement plan to see us through, that takes away a lot of negative feelings.

There are a few scenarios in which emotions run particularly high where money is concerned, and both involve huge life changes.


The big changes.

The first is either divorce or the death of a spouse.

Financial experts advise their clients to do nothing substantial involving money for the first six months after a death or divorce. And for the second six months? Repeat what you did in the first six months.

Don’t sell a house or buy a new car until you get through the one-year anniversary of every major holiday or anniversary. It takes time to learn a “new normal” and it’s important not to act impulsively.


Beware of the voices.

Also, you’ll get a lot of advice from others. Unless they are certified financial planners, the best course of action is to politely thank them for their concern and then, once again, do nothing for 12 months.

Beware also of Googling financial advice!

Putting yourself into the online “wormhole” can be completely overwhelming. Also, a lot of what you’ll find are adverts that have been paid for by companies wanting to make money from your business. The best people to talk to are always professionals — particularly ones that are recommended by people you know and trust.



The other big life-changing scenario is deciding to sell the family home and downsize. There are a lot of emotions tied up in the home where your children grew up, where you celebrated memorable holidays and marked life events such as graduations and birthdays.

But once the kids move out, chances are you don’t need that 3,500-square-foot home. You may be tired of yard work and continuing maintenance. The cost of carrying that big house far outweighs the emotional attachment to it. You can use the extra money from downsizing to take nicer vacations or pursue a new hobby.

And if the kids complain that they won’t feel like they’re coming “home” for the holidays, remind them that their visit may be one week out of the year. And that there’s still an extra bedroom, just not the one with crayon marks on the walls.

Sign up for the Ruby Newsletter!

Sign up for the weekly Ruby Newsletter to get aging at home advice and financial guidance delivered to your inbox.

Your email address will never be shared elsewhere, read our privacy policy


How Ruby Can Help:

Ruby helps families get organized and enjoy financial peace-of-mind.

When a life-changing scenario occurs, Ruby is a tool that can help your family find financial clarity so that you can get organized, get prepared for a new future, and make sound decisions together.

Ruby allows you to create an online Circle – a secure space where you can transparently work together to keep an eye on money. Ruby’s weekly financial summaries help your family monitor what’s coming in and going out of accounts, easily spot fraud or missteps, identify trends, and keep things normal moving forward.

Share this with someone who may find it useful: