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Goal 1 - A Work in Progress

November 19th, 2008 at 10:31 pm

Goal 1 on the side bar used to be: Get Mr. H more involved in our financial life. At some point after I finish posting this I'm going to change it.

I've been giving some thought to what I might mean by "getting Mr. H more involved in our financial life". To be a goal it has to be measurable and have a deadline, right? So I started by trying to figure out where we are:

* Mr. H pays the regular bills and handles that account (Checking Account Two), I handle the account that pays for groceries, gas, clothes, gifts, etc (Checking Account One). I also figure out how to pay the credit card bill each month.
* We now both have debit cards for Checking Account One. I requested this. Mr. H gets paid once per month, and I hate writing a check to the credit card company for 1/3 of the money that goes in checking account one right off the top. I'd rather pay as we go. Gas is the main expense put on a credit card. We are likely to have some glitches with this, as we have not had to work together very much with this account.
* We have one tiny joint goal regarding the emergency fund.
* If some unexpected money comes in, we usually discuss it. We don't always come to a conclusion about it but at least we're both aware of it. Mr. H has also started to initiate these conversations.
* If something needs to happen regarding our financial life I usually bring it up, and have to follow up on it. Where Mr. H used to always agree with me during these conversations but not follow up with action, today he's better about bringing up what he wants, and he's better about the follow up.

To Mr. H's credit, he's very good about the regular bills. Where I frequently get bored and restless with too much routine he seems to thrive on it. (It's probably not too much routine for him, LOL.) It also helps that that account has some padding.

Contrast this with where we were about five years ago:
* I paid all bills, reconciled all accounts, made all decisions about investments and saving. Mr. H never asked about it, and pretty much agreed with everything I proposed. I actually became very depressed at one point and didn't reconcile any of our accounts for 18 months - and Mr. H never noticed.

I think what I mean by "getting Mr. H more involved in our financial life" is "get Mr. H to take initiative both in his life and in our life together".

Well. . . hmm. . . I can't change his behavior so that's not a very workable goal.

But maybe something like "encourage Mr. H to work together with me to build up our emergency fund" and "work with Mr. H to get a monthly budget that balances, that we agree on, that we follow and that doesn't cause us huge problems". While neither of these steps address the big picture (What do we want to do with our lives and how does our financial life support that?) they are steps in the right direction. I'll continue to flesh out these goals. I guess it should be noted that I can also work on them (EF and budget) somewhat independently of Mr. H if need be.

5 Responses to “Goal 1 - A Work in Progress”

  1. mom-sense Says:

    Good to see where you have come from (looking back five years). I also think if you work financial topics into everyday conversation, it takes away some of the dread of "big" money discussions. A shared vision is always good. Any coversations toward that are progress.

  2. baselle Says:

    It sounds like you are progressing nicely, really. Is there a way you can get him excited about money without the excitement of spending money? A research project, perhaps - something like researching the best place to keep your emergency fund?

  3. Petunia Says:

    baselle - LOL, because research would excite ME - I love looking into stuff - while it overwhelmed Mr. H. True confessions? I have a bigger spending problem than Mr. H.
    mom-sense - I've become a "hit-and-run" converser when it comes to money or any challenging topic.

  4. Petunia Says:

    PS: baselle- It occured to me later that I may have sounded dismissive of your ideas. That wasn't my intent. We actually are progressing better than I would have thought, if I lay out our history on paper. I guess I'm impatient, and frustration over the course of years takes a toll.

  5. baselle Says:

    You didn't sound dismissive to me - you and I are a bit alike and it's hard for me to understand non-curiousity. But I also understand paralysis caused by fear. If his actions are caused by fear of bad financial news, having him research something caused by good news might help. I'm shooting in the dark here myself. Smile

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