Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Financial Peace University: Week 2: Relating with Money

Last week I reviewed week 1 of Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University.  In review, week 1 talked about the importance of:
  • Savings must become a priority.
  • You must save for an emergency fund, major purchases, and wealth building.
  • Decide and agree with your spouse on what qualifies as an emergency.
We have quite a large group attending, so I decided to split the class into 2 groups for discussions.  That seemed to be more manageable.

Week 2: Relating with Money
This week the topic of discussion in class was the importance of working together in relationships and how we as individuals handle money differently.  While the number 1 cause of divorce is money matters, this lesson I thought was particularly useful.   How we manage our money can affect our personal relationships, especially with those who we are closest with.  One spouse may be more of a "nerd", one who has a natural tendency for budgeting, enjoys it, and likes to work numbers.  The other spouse may be what Dave Ramsey calls "a free spirit", who does not like to think about budgeting, does not enjoy it, and likes to pass it off to the "nerd".  When two opposites in money matters are together, there are bound to be problems.  This is why it is important to learn to work together, and find common ground.
Some key points from this week’s lesson:
  1. Men and women think very differently about money. For men it is often more of a tool, something to be used. Men like to negotiate.  Women like to hunt for the deals. For women it often means security.
  2. The nerd and free spirit must learn how to work together.
  3. If you are single, find an accountability partner with whom to discuss your finances.
  4. Teach your children how to manage money so they avoid our mistakes.
Budget committee meetings
Dave Ramsey talks about the need for family “budget committee meetings” where both partners in the relationship talk about the monthly budget, and have a stake in it. More than once in the presentation, Dave asks, "Who is responsible for the budget?" You both are!!

Dave Ramsey states: "The challenge in a marriage is to work through the different identities, ideals and values you each bring to the relationship. You win at marriage by losing your need to get your way in every battle. You get a happy marriage by giving up selfish desires in order to win together—you create shared visions and goals out of your own individual goals!  That’s why it’s important that both spouses be involved with creating the monthly budget. The partner with the natural gift can prepare the budget, but the decision-making must be done by both of you. When you sit down with your spouse to have a budget committee meeting, there are three rules that each of you must follow.
Rules for the nerd:
  • Listen.
  • Take input.
  • Keep it brief.
Rules for the free spirit:
  • Show up.
  • Give input.
  • Be realistic.
Remember that opposites tend to attract in marriage, so work together for maximum wisdom. When you have a budget that reflects both of your goals and ideals, you will experience fabulous unity in your marriage."

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