Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday Matrimony

Your weekly bit of [unsolicited] advice...

Tip of the Week: Money Matters!

Did you know that one of the top reasons sited for divorce is financial disputes? It is a huge "friction-causing" issue in marriage. At least it can be. But the good news is, it doesn't have to be!

When Andy and I first got married, we were so broke. We had both just graduated from college and were both unemployed. Talk about living on love! It was really fun...for about a summer. But by fall, it was not fun and was getting really stressful.

We both started graduate school and were both working part time with very little in a checking account and even less in savings. After a year of that, I got a full-time job teaching school which relieved a lot of the financial crisis. But our finances were always a source of tension. Even to this day it's easy to get uncomfortable talking through various expenses and priorities when it comes to money. But we have made a lot of progress!

One of the best things we did for our marriage (notice I did not say 'for our finances') is to go through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. This class helped us to understand principles of finance so much better and to get on the same page with each other. Andy and I thought we shared the same values financially because we knew we should never get into consumer debt. That was about the extent of our cumulative financial knowledge when we got married. Dave fixed that for us and gave some simple steps to help couples know how to make progress financially.

I would highly recommend (even urge) you to find a Financial Peace University to go through. South Bay offers this course as one of our Life Groups each semester. The principles are Biblically sound and it is unifying to have a common goal that you're working toward as a couple. No more of you trying to convince your spouse to buy this or your spouse trying to convince you to save up for this. Common goal. Unified hearts.

Here are Dave Ramsey's 7 Baby Steps (intended to be done in order):
  1. $1,000 to start an Emergency Fund
  2. Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball
  3. 3 to 6 months of expenses in Savings
  4. Invest 15% of household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement
  5. College funding for children
  6. Pay off home early
  7. Build wealth and GIVE GENEROUSLY!!!

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