In last week’s post I talked about how I got my eating and exercise back on track, and in today’s post we’re going to talk about how I got my financial life back on track, too. Money is something women do NOT like to talk about. The vast majority of us secretly wish someone else would take care of it. ALL of it. I’m talking about money in our business and money in our personal lives. Some of us find it confusing just to pay bills, so the idea of having investments is several steps too far out of our comfort zones. Many of us don’t have as much money as we would like or need, so having to deal with it makes us sad, angry or upset. I would seriously freak out when it came to discussing money and I spent a lot of time wishing for a lottery win or certain that if I had more money, my entire life would somehow be sprinkles and rainbows and I’d be skinner too. My attitude to money and wealth changed a lot once I read the book ‘Get Rich Lucky Bitch.’ I ended up doing Denise’s LB Bootcamp and have not looked back since. My relationship with money is a work in progress but it’s a hell of a lot healthier than it’s ever been.
However, attitude isn’t everything (although it’s a big part!) There is a reasonably large age gap between my husband and I, so when we got married he took care of all things financial – not because I couldn’t, but because to my mind he was older and wiser and had already been managing this for some time. Why should I bother when he’s got it all under control? Except, of course, he didn’t have it under control at all. We’d get final notices because he forgot to pay or plain lost the bill. We’d pay a lot of late fees for the same reasons. I’d open the mail and have a full on panic moment because bills were always coming in unpaid and then I’d fight with him about his incompetence – how freaking hard is it to pay a bill?! It took me ten years but eventually I took the bull by the horns and took over all our financial affairs. Turns out he was relieved to hand it over!
The good news is, I learned to just suck it up and handle the bills. I didn’t like it, but I liked it a lot more than getting late notices. The bad news is, I sucked at money managing and budgeting was a foreign concept to me. Along the way I also changed careers and opened a business…while he changed jobs more times than I’ve kept track of. In short, we weren’t keeping it under control whatsoever. No late notices, but still no money for vacations or “extras” like new tires for the car – either of those would send our finances into a tailspin from which it took years to recover. Ironically, my business finances were damn near perfect – because early on I knew it wasn’t my mojo so I hired a freaking fantastic bookkeeper and accountant and we worked on it all together. Sure I made mistakes there, but those were born of ignorance not ignoring it.
So my husband and I tried a bunch of different tactics. Excel spreadsheets. Financial advisors. Fighting about it. Opening lots of bank accounts and putting money in a bunch of places. NONE of it worked in the long term for us. We just always felt like we were treading water, and most of our efforts at organisation were too hard and frustrating. Plus let’s be real here, when you feel like you’re broke you feel like you have NO MONEY to manage anyway. About eighteen months ago I heard about budgeting software called YNAB (You Need a Budget) and we signed up for it a year ago. It totally changed how we do things, and I’m really proud to say that we don’t fight about money and we’ve got money in savings for when we want to go on vacation or change the tires. I still mostly do the day-to-day management, but now we do our finances together rather than either of us sticking our heads in the sand about it. This is a MASSIVE step forward for our family and our marriage.
Is that the end of the story? Of course not. Was the point just to tell you about Lucky Bitch and YNAB? Nope.
I think it’s time for you to step up. Get involved in your family’s finances. If you don’t want to deal with the day-to-day stuff, I understand – but that’s no excuse for not at least UNDERSTANDING what your situation is and where things are at. Do not wait until you lose your job, the marriage dissolves, someone dies or you have a sudden need for cash. RIGHT NOW take some control over your money. I would hope that if you’re a long time reader of this blog, you’re already taking control over your business accounting. If you can manage it there, you can manage it at home.
When my Dad died, my Mom was left totally adrift with no clue how to handle their finances. A Dad of a friend went into hospital, and because he was unwell and away from handling his affairs, they uncovered his massive gambling habit and a mess of a financial situation. Another friend’s husband passed away and she uncovered thousands in credit card debt she didn’t know she had. I know of at least two women stuck in marriages that are slowly killing them because they have no money of their own, kids to feed and no way of supporting themselves or even knowing what their financial rights are. DO NOT let this be you. Pull on your big girl pants and GET INVOLVED in your finances. We no longer live in a time when money is “secret men’s business,” and ladies, you have NO EXCUSES not to become empowered in this area of your lives. I know it’s scary. YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO IGNORE IT ANYMORE.
If you are strong enough to own a business, or have dreams of someday doing so, that means you also have the strength within you to get your financial affairs in order. You do not need to learn to trade stocks, invest in property, have a ton of savings or be born into wealth for this to be important. TODAY, make a time to sit down and figure this stuff out. I say this in my pricing class and it applies to your personal life too – If you don’t control your money, your money controls you. [bctt tweet=”If you don’t control your money, your money controls you. Get involved in your family’s finances!”]
Here’s some resources which might help: