You Do It!
If there is one thing that comes through clearly in the “Relating With Money” lesson it is that we all need support and encouragement. We need each other. If you are married, you need your spouse in order for this money thing to work. If you are single you need someone to hold you accountable. So many people that I know use the “you do it” philosophy when it comes to money. I have too.
When Alana and I first got married, she was the one who controlled the finances. That was until we had a few too many of those “money fights”. This is when the sparks flew! She finally said, “Okay…YOU do it then!” Macho me, said “Fine, I will!” Needless to say we still had money fights after that. Yep, the one who was accusing messed up, and Alana chimed in with an, “I told you so”, and she was right. I deserved it!
The person that handles the money is ALWAYS responsible for what goes wrong. The burden of such an important part of our lives should not be carried by one person! Dave Ramsey says that we should work together so that we agree on everything beforehand. Agreeing on everything from the start eliminates the possibility of placing blame. Agreeing on the budget and intensely following the plan reduces money fights dramatically.
Same Page? We’re Not Even In The Same Book.
How do I fix our financial problems if my spouse is not on board? That is not an easy question to answer. If this is the case for you then as Dave would say, “You don’t have a money problem as much as you have a marriage problem.” In which case, marriage counseling would be the likely solution. All of us can be selfish little whiners when we want something, so I am not leaving anyone out. I have done it and so have you. The truth is that it is immature and irresponsible to think that you should be able to do your own thing with the money, regardless of who earned it. When you got married you agreed to be a team for life. Your spouses input should not only be respected, it should be mandatory.
It is important that you do not nag your spouse though, and whatever you do, DO NOT continuously say, “Dave Says…”. (Believe me, I know about this one.) Instead try approaching them in a loving way and simply express your concern over the finances. Explain to your spouse how important it is to you that you both gain control of the situation. Do a budget and show them why they need to be concerned too. Gently ask them to check out this book you read so that you can talk about it. I am of course talking about the book The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. You can still disagree on things but at least you can start listening to each other and communicating about what is important to each of you.
Single and Scared.
What a feeling it is to be single and struggling financially. I have been there before and I remember the feeling that overcomes you as soon as Murphy stops in for a visit. If you don’t know, then do this. Set the timer to take a picture on your camera. Get ready, and scream at the top of your lungs making sure that you use every single muscle in your body. Now look at the picture and you will know what a financial disaster can mentally do to someone who is single. It is a painstakingly agonizing feeling that takes your hope and flushes it right down the toilet. So what do you do?
Put yourself on a budget, telling every single dollar where to go before the month begins. Now get yourself an accountability buddy that will help you stick to this new budget. The most important thing to remember is to not justify improper spending because you deserve a break. You deserve a break, but not the kind that is going to make you sink even further in the financial abyss. Instead do things that will encourage you. Create a budget for yourself as if you had NO DEBT and NO PAYMENTS. What does your budget look like? How nice would it be to be in that position? You owe it to yourself to get there.
We have all done it. We have all bought our kids something when we knew we didn’t have the money. Yes, we are ALL suckers! I know I sure am. To look in your child’s eyes and resist the pitiful puppy dog look is tough. The bottom line is that we MUST resist. Not only should we resist, but we should take the time to teach our kids about money. The schools are not going to! We need to teach them how to give, save, and spend. We need to keep them from struggling like we have. It is never too late to teach your kids how to manage money and that starts with your example. If you buy anything you want, they will buy anything they want. If you are slave to the lender, then so will they. Don’t pass that down to them. Prepare them to win with money. Show them this chart. You should check out Junior’s Clubhouse, and even buy them Financial Peace Jr. Change your family tree now. Don’t put that burden on your children’s children.