Let me begin with this: Will and I grew up with very different financial backgrounds. He, like a lot of high school kids, had a part time job, paid for his own gas, shared the family car, earned his own money. If he wanted to go to Moe's for lunch, he counted the cost. If he wanted a new gadget or "toy," he paid for it out of his pocket. Granted, he'd be the first to tell you he would happily spend his hard-earned money on Moe's, concerts, and frivolous high school outings. But he had a work ethic and understanding of money that I didn't. His parents provided his needs, he provided his wants.
My parents simply provided it all. I am so grateful for my upbringing... I was never in want; my parents worked hard for many years building a successful business, and I was extremely blessed for it. However, I didn't even slightly grasp the value of a dollar. I would eat out, go shopping, go on trips with friends, go to any and every concert/camp/vacation/missions trip that I wanted, because I knew my parents would pay for it. I was the first person in my 9th grade class to get a cell phone. My 16th birthday present was a car. I went to any college of my choosing, knowing it would be paid for.
So, as you can imagine, when the two of us fell in love, dated through college, and then got engaged, we were setup for certain financial stress in our marriage.
Honestly, it was a disaster waiting to happen.
While we were engaged, a friend of ours gave us Financial Peace University as a gift. Will began listening to the Audio CDs that came with the kit in the car, and Will told me, "You have to listen to this! It's really going to help our marriage."
My response? "That's okay, hon. You just listen to it alone and manage our finances for us. Just let me know what I can and can't spend. I'd rather not be involved in all that money stuff."
Bless his heart. Will kept pursuing me, convincing me I would enjoy it. Yeah right! Enjoy listening to financial CD's while I drive?! Pfft! That's ridiculous. Give me John Mayer and Jason Mraz instead. (Hello high school music.) After many sweet attempts, I finally caved, and I popped in the first CD while alone in my car.
Wow, this Dave guy actually makes money interesting.
And he's funny!
Oh, I never thought of stewardship like that before.
I really do want to be on the same page with Will, but I just hate the idea of making budget. Bleh.
Personal finance is 80% behavior and 20% head knowledge. Hmm.
The biggest problem with your money is who you see in the mirror. (Ouch.)
The selling point for me was when Dave began talking about marriage, and how finances are an integral part of communicating, being on the same page, and having a healthy relationship. How does he know this is true? Because statistics show that financial problems are the number one cause of divorce in this country. Yikes.
Then he talked about how in each couple, one person is a "nerd" and the other is a "free spirit." I immediately knew:
Will = Nerd.
Nancy = Free Spirit.
The Nerd enjoys making a budget, paying attention to numbers, learning about investments, organizing the finances.
The Free spirit enjoys shopping, eating out, spending money, and has a very low attention span when it comes to anything related to finances.
But it was crucial that we still worked together. On our budget, on our finances, on our marriage. This could not be all of Will's responsibility: I had to get in the game. I had to own up to my "adulthood," to my marriage, and take responsibility. I had to stop acting like a child. (Truth.)
After realizing this, I made a decision. I was all in. I was going to sacrifice my pride and my money-is-boring-and-you-can-take-care-of-it-honey mentality. I was going to do my part, and allow Will to lead us in this.
And I had no idea how this decision was going to change my life.
(2007: While engaged)
And so began our journey. We got married, combined our finances, and made our first monthly budget. Starting out on a household income of about $37,000 while I was still a full time student (yes we got married while I was still in college), it was a tight budget. But we were doing this thing, and we refused to let finances rob us of a healthy, wonderful marriage.
(More to come tomorrow! Read Will's take on our store here.)