Hi there, Sisters! It’s been a whirlwind 3 weeks with trips and family stuff. I’m so glad to be back.
As we are preparing for the holiday and the rush of activity and emotions that typically accompany this time of year, I thought, for today, let’s talk about something over which we have a bit more control…our money. We all know about the need for budgeting and debt management but I wanted to take us beyond the basics today.
Under any circumstances it is important to adopt good money habits. Since how we handle money can greatly ease or complicate our lives, it is especially important for step-couples to adopt money strategies that will make their already complicated lives easier.
Here are my top 5 Beyond Basic Financial Strategies For Living in Step:
FULL FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE
For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost… Luke 14:28-30
My husband and I rented a car on a trip to the Florida gulf last year. At some point the GPS went a little wonky and the screen showed us driving in a river in the middle of Tennessee. The now useless navigation system could no longer tell where we were, so it couldn’t direct us how to get to where we wanted to go.
Your individual financial condition has a direct impact on your family. You and your spouse need to know where you are financially so you can map out how to get to where you want to be. That means complete honesty about your financial status at all times. Including, but not limited to; credit score, indebtedness, retirement plans, investments, etc.
Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed. Proverbs 15:22 ESV
Confession: WebMD makes me think I have a medical degree hanging on my wall. I’m not a doctor but I play one in my living room. I have diagnosed plantar fasciitis, tooth abscess, pinched nerve, and more. Quite proudly. And quite wrongly. This was never more apparent than when I self-diagnosed a kidney infection, only to find out, when I went to an actual doctor, my back was out of alignment. I don’t know medicine and I don’t know as much as I should about finances. My husband has both an accounting and IT degrees, however, we still have an accountant, a small business consultant, an investment counselor, a retirement expert, and an estate attorney. Get advice. You don’t have to know it all. Just enough to make sure you’re not being taken advantage of. Go to the people who do know. Which brings us to…
MAKE AN ESTATE PLAN
True story… you inherited your great-great-grandmother’s table from the Civil War. You want to pass it down to your daughter. You die and all of your personal possessions become the property of your husband who dies 6 months later. Because you did not have an estate plan in place, all of his possessions, including your great-great-grandmother’s table, becomes the property of his only legal heir, an irresponsible, estranged son and the son’s snarky wife. Unfortunately, your daughter is at the mercy of her step-brother and the courts.
An estate plan is not only for the wealthy. My husband and I have an estate plan in place which includes a will, a trust, medical and financial powers of attorney, and a list of which child inherits which item. We’re not wealthy people. Just people who want to insure the appropriate decisions are made should we become incapacitated or die. One caveat: save up the money to use an estate attorney vs. an online fill in the blank form. An attorney will help you set up your estate according to your State’s regulations and give your family the best odds for avoiding probate court.
SET YOUR RECORDS STRAIGHT
The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty. Proverbs 21:5
If you have been married more than a few months and haven’t done this yet, make it priority #1. Update the information and beneficiaries on all life insurance policies, bank accounts, retirement accounts, etc. I know someone who went through a horrendous 8 year court battle because her husband died after a few years of marriage without taking care of this. Be diligent to make sure the right names are on your financial instruments.
LIVE WITH BREATHING ROOM
The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. Proverbs 22:7
There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spends it up. Proverbs 21:20
I felt it best to lump the principles in these two scriptures together. Each wisdom practice feeds the other and allows us to live with leeway.
When we become indebted, our exchange of time for money belongs to someone else. Working for GM in order to enrich Chase, without receiving the benefit of our labor, is slavery.Working for Company A in order to enrich Company B, without receiving the benefit of our labor, is slavery. Click To Tweet It diminishes our ability to save, give, and live. Get rid of debt.
But, don’t wait until you’re done paying VISA off to start saving. Save now. Even if it’s only $10 a week. There will come a day when our earning power will diminish either through retirement, illness, or something else. The tire will get punctured by a nail. The refrigerator will have to be replaced. A family member will be in need. These things creep up on us but they are “predictable unforeseens”. Save so you can deal with them when they arise.
Becoming debt-free, diligently saving, as well as living beneath our means, will give us much needed breathing room.
There you have it. I hope this sparks conversation between you and your hubby about your financial health. I also pray this has blessed you. If it has, please share it.
Click here to download your free 5 Beyond Basic Financial Strategies infograph.
And, if you have additional strategies, comment below. We would love to hear from you.
Hebrews 13:5 says it in a nutshell: Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
A lot of the financial pressure we find ourselves dealing with is because we are not content with what the Lord has decided is best for us to manage. This is not to say that you should not have nice things or adventures but it is not an entitlement in this life. God has promised to provide everything we need. When we trust Him and give Him lordship over our possession and lifestyle choices, contentment will knock out the allure of “things” and “status”.