My husband and I have been married for 18 years and it’s only been recently that we’ve made some progress to being on the same page with our finances.
I mourn for the 18 years of lost time, the 18 years where we could have been building wealth, living like no one else so that we can live like no one else, as Dave Ramsey would say.
My husband is awesome, he is generous and is always giving money away and I have no problem with that. The thing I do have a problem with is that we don’t have any money to give away.
Bob is what you call ‘overwhelmed’ when it comes to talking about money. He comes from a home where money wasn’t discussed. He spends more than he earns – it’s like he can’t wait to get rid of it.
When I first met Bob, he was working as a youth worker. The Church he worked for wanted him to live in the local area. The salary he was earning wasn’t enough to cover the rent. I get so cross when I think about this young lad, pushed into a financial situation that he couldn’t afford. Why did the Church let him do that? Why didn’t his parents say something? It makes me mad that Bob was so let down by so many people. Christians have a belief that God will provide, and I don’t doubt that. What I do take umbrage is the lack of common sense in all of this.
Would you let your child take this job, where they couldn’t afford to pay the rent or feed themselves? I know I certainly wouldn’t.
Eighteen years on and we are in a better financial situation – but only just.
In the last year, we have both read The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey and it has totally changed our lives. We are not exactly ‘gazelle intense’ but close enough.
We now have monthly budget meetings where we discuss where are money is going rather than wondering where it went.
Bob now says no to people when they ask for financial assistance. Finally, he understands that he needs to look after his family first.
We are building up our emergency fund and our sinking funds are looking healthy too.
I have learnt not to nag but to give grace. To put our money date nights in the diary instead on just announcing them. Bob has learnt that our financial situation is important to me, and we often talk about our money goals and dreams. Don’t get me wrong, our financial situation isn’t perfect but it’s a lot better than what it was.
If you are getting married this coming year, then the conversation that you need to have BEFORE you get married is about money. You need to sit down once a month to create a spending plan. It’s so important to be on the same page financially. I can’t tell you how many times I bailed Bob out, paid off his car and credit cards before we got married, assuming he would make better financial decisions. I just assumed that he would have the same financial common sense that I did…. How wrong I was.
If I could turn back the clock 20 years, I would have still married Bob but goodness, I would have sought help and we would have had a much stronger handle on our personal finances. The more proactive you are about having these conversations before you get married, the better off you will be in the long run and that’s never a bad thing.