Listen to this article

Financial worries are often on people's minds. Finances can cause conflicts between family members and friends. Research studies even show being worried about finances decreases employees' productivity.

One of the things University of Illinois Extension does is help people manage their finances and relieve money-related stress. A nod to this conflict is why colleagues and I titled our new podcast series "Family Financial Feuds."

Recent podcasts include:

— "When Grandpa Gets Exploited"

— "Should We Get a Pet?"

— "Elbow Room: Multi-generational households"

— "Money Conversations with Your Kids"

We haven't run out of ideas for family financial conflicts yet! We talk about research-based evidence that helps us understand financial conflict, and we add in a little humor, too.

You can find Family Financial Feuds on Soundcloud (soundcloud.com/user-345375160) and iTunes. Let me know how you like the podcast and feel free to send me topics to cover in the future.

The other day, I was talking with some Money Mentor volunteers, and I shared with them a YouTube video (youtu.be/aZRFntCG9B8) by Zachary Sexton. In the video, Sexton summarizes a book by Michael Bungay Stanier.

The mentor volunteers and I had such a great conversation about the video that I thought it worth sharing. The video, "Say Less, Ask More: 7 Powerful Coaching Questions — WBP018," is simple but resonated with me.

Question 1 is "What's on your mind?" We all have different financial concerns, and these concerns change as we age. What's your financial concern today? At one stage of my life, I was concerned about having money left at the end of the month. More recently, I have been trying to balance how much to spend on a kitchen remodel versus saving for retirement. Other concerns have been more critical as I've worked through personal challenges.

Question 2 is "What else?" Perhaps something that isn't urgent but something that's been on your mind for a while.

Question 3 is "What's the real challenge?" Financial challenges could be about available dollars, but other challenges are often real. Is there agreement among partners? Do you have multiple, potentially conflicting goals?

Question 4 is "What do you want?" Clarifying can be good and insightful.

Question 5 is "How can I help?" Illinois Extension has a variety of resources. In our local communities, one resource is the Money Mentor program. Amazing community members volunteer their time to help others with money management. Mentors complete 30 hours of training. Assistance from a Money Mentor volunteer is free and confidential. Go to go.illinois.edu/moneymentors for more information or call 217-333-7672.

Question 6 is "If yes, what no?" In other words, if you're saying yes to one financial behavior, what are you saying no to? For example, the opportunity cost of my kitchen remodel is less money in my retirement account. On a more daily basis, small regular costs (whether subscriptions, fancy coffee drinks or something else) may mean not saving for a big goal. What's your "if yes, then what no?"

Question 7 is "Which question was most useful to you?"

If you share your financial decisions with another person, I invite you to ask each other these seven powerful questions.

By talking together, you may be able to clarify your financial values and decrease future stress.

And, I'd like to know which question was most useful to you? I can be reached at sweedler@illinois.edu.

Kathy Sweedler is a consumer economics educator at the University of Illinois Extension. Contact her at 217-333-7672 or sweedler@illinois.edu.