I know I’m behind on my postings regarding Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. If you’re new to this blog, I explained I was taking this class to reinforce what I already knew about finance and to learn additional principles and new techniques and to simply see a picture of financial freedom through someone else’s eyes. Now, I don’t claim to know EVERYTHING about finance, but I do know how to handle money. Although I was irresponsible with it when I was younger, I promise you, I’ve got a GOOD GRASP on my money now. More like I’ve got in a “headlock.”
Even though we are in our FOURTH WEEK of Financial Peace University, and I did tell you I would post weekly about my takeaways from each class session, I thought I’d better get you guys up to speed…. There’s so much information and so many thoughts and ideas running around in my head, I can’t wait to share them with you, but “baby steps” I must take. I thought about bringing you guys up to speed in this one blog, but I get so excited and passionate about the possibility of helping someone else, I’ve got to literally blog one class session at a time. I’ve been known to be quite long-winded when blogging, so brevity shall be my focus. I’ll save the wind-bag for my book.
NERDS VS FREE SPIRITS.
Think about that for a minute and if you ponder it long enough, you can figure out which is which. What may surprise you is which category you fall into. Or not. I knew I was a NERD before we even completed the questionnaire. I answered 9/10 questions, NERD. Yep. 100% Grade “A” NERD. And I wasn’t surprised.
NERDS are your “do it by the book” kind of people as it relates to money. They set goals, create budgets and follow them to a tee. If you’re married to a NERD, the NERD can create a monthly budget and tell you, “There’s no need to discuss this, it’s correct. BECAUSE I CREATED IT.” The FREE SPIRIT… Not so much. FREE SPIRITS are just that, FREE SPIRITS and they don’t like to be micro-managed and told what to do especially when it comes to money. I’m not in any way suggesting FREE SPIRITS are careless and irresponsible with money. A FREE SPIRIT will take care of their necessities and save as well, but what’s “left over” is theirs to play with. If the FREE SPIRIT sees something they wish to purchase, a piece of art, home décor, tools from Home Depot or whatever tickles their fancy, if their business is handled, they feel entitled to do so, and technically, they most certainly are. The problem is, the rigid, strict by the book Taurus (strike that,) I mean NERD, may become frustrated and deem the FREE SPIRIT as being frivolous. Quite the opposite.
When I was married, my ex-husband and I had many disagreements over finances. He was a FREE SPIRIT. He was the type that wanted a front loading washer and dryer when there was absolutely NOTHING wrong with the washer and dryer we had. He did his part and contributed, but when it came to saving, I felt he could have done more. It was more like me telling him “YOU NEED TO DO MORE!!!” Yes, those caps lock were intentional. We all know the majority of marriages that end in divorce do so not because of infidelity but because of money issues. Now money wasn’t the only issue my marriage faced. It just seemed to be at the forefront of every argument. I was trying to build and save and it seemed as though all he wanted was to do was spend.
One would think a union between a NERD and a FREE SPIRIT is an unlikely one, but that simply is not true. As long as there is a little thing called BALANCE and COMPROMISE, it can work. There have to be some discussions about money and budgets… You have to discuss who’s going to handle making sure the household bills are paid monthly, how much you intend to save, and where your money is going. AND YOU CERTAINLY DON’T WAIT UNTIL AFTER YOU SAY “I DO” TO HAVE “THE TALK” ABOUT YOUR FINANCES. Lay all your cards on the table. YOU ARE A TEAM and as the saying goes, “There’s no “I” in team.”
TIPS FOR THE NERD: Once you’ve meticulously prepared your ZERO monthly budget (meaning all monies for the month are accounted for.) When you subtract monthly bills, household/car expenses, entertainment, etc. even down to your FREE SPIRIT’S “play money,” you should have a zero balance because all income for the month, yes EVERY penny, is accounted for. In a perfect world for the NERD, the FREE SPIRIT agrees to, signs off on the budget and the round table discussion is over. Umm Errm. It’s not that simple. If you attempt to force a budget you’ve prepared on them, your FREE SPIRIT will probably have some FREE CHOICE WORDS for you. Here’s how you side-step a potential land mine:
Present your budget to the FREE SPIRIT FIRST, explain why you believe certain changes if any should be made, THEN SIT DOWN AND SHUT THE HELL UP! As Dave Ramsey said during the webinar, the NERD has approximately 17min27sec of a FREE SPIRIT’S attention, then they’re totally checked out. (HOLLA IF YA HEAR ME!!!) Your budget meeting doesn’t have to turn into a weekend summit where you don’t leave the kitchen table until a resolution is agreed upon. Allow your FREE SPIRIT the chance to give their input and my precious NERDS, LISTEN TO THEM. Don’t be so quick to dismiss their ideas and suggestions, otherwise, that may be your first and last budget meeting.
TIPS FOR THE FREE SPIRIT: Yes your NERD tap dances on your last good nerve every time there’s a meeting regarding money. Understand, your NERD doesn’t mean to be bossy and unreasonable (hopefully not,) it’s just that they want to be secure and financially stable, not just for themselves, but for the both of you. Remember. YOU ARE A TEAM. Compromise. For example. Are you able to cut your play money to $300 a month as opposed to the $500 a month you’ve allotted to appease the NERD? The NERD may have originally suggested cutting your play money to $250 a month. You countered and suggested $300. By compromising, the FREE SPIRIT STILL has a significant amount of money to play with, and the NERD is happy because they got their way (which was reducing the amount of your play money to contribute more towards savings.) This is how successful budgeting in relationships should work. It should always be a WIN-WIN situation for both the NERD and the FREE SPIRIT.
Remember: HAVE DISCUSSIONS, FIND A MIDDLE GROUND AND COMPROMISE. You’ll have a much happier and successful marriage when you do.
Whelp. So much for the brevity I aimed for. I pray you enjoyed this blog posting just the same. Wishing you much success on your financial journey.
~The Financial Hack ©2015