Our first child was born a year after we were married. I had graduated with my bachelor’s degree in nursing, but my husband still had a year to finish his chemical engineering degree and a couple years after that to finish his MBA. During that time, he was working, going to school and we were extremely careful with our finances. So, I was surprised when he said that he was going to put $25 every month into our baby’s college education fund. How could we afford that? And college for our baby? That felt like forever away. It seemed like a huge sacrifice at the time, but as I look back, we always had enough to get by and now that baby is actually in college on full-ride scholarship with an additional $30,000.00 in his education fund to help him get through medical school! That small amount added up each month and my husband added extra whenever he could so that all 9 of our children have substantial education funds for college.
My husband and I were both taught the importance of saving money in our homes growing up. We have paid off our credit cards monthly and have always put money into savings. We went without things early on which has allowed us to enjoy many more “luxuries” now. My husband taught me the importance of spending money on “assets that produce income” early on so that later in life we could easily purchase things that “consume income” without going into debt for them. In the book, Till Debt do us Part, Poduska said, “My neighbor, a certified public accountant, once said that from a financial standpoint there are really only two kinds of people: spenders and savers. He maintains that spenders tend to be in debt, live from paycheck to paycheck, and have little or nothing available for investment. Savers, however, tend to pay cash for what they buy, maintain a savings account, and remain financially secure thanks to long-term investments.” I am so thankful that I married a “saver”. I knew and understood the principle of staying out of debt and only buying what I had money for, but he truly understood the benefit of saving and how even a little bit adds up over time. My favorite quote in the book is that “you can never get enough of what you don’t need because what you don’t need can never satisfy you.” If you can put off purchasing the things you don’t need early on, you will have a much better chance of having the funds for the things you want later.
Finances can have a tremendous impact on emotional intimacy, for better or worse. In the 1984 pamphlet, Cornerstones of a Happy Home, President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “I am satisfied that money is the root of more trouble in marriage than all other causes combined.” On the other hand, couples that work together to manage their finances build trust and emotional safety. In the article, “Escaping the Debt Trap,” Janene Wolsey Baadsgaard said, “When couples view each other as partners with an equal voice, and when both desire to maintain a loving relationship, they will be more likely to find mutually satisfying solutions to financial disagreements. Effective communication in financial matters includes a knowledge of income and expenses by both spouses. Problems arise when one spouse makes financial decisions without consulting the other.” Spending/saving habits are passed on for generations so the way we spend/save and what we teach our children about financial management can help them to have strong marriages. Janene Baadsgaard also said, “When couples share financial responsibilities through engaging in open communication, determining reasonable expectations and limits, cooperating in the budgeting process, and eliminating and avoiding debt, they can become free from the devastating debt trap and enjoy greater peace of mind and harmony in their homes.” My goal is to pass these principles onto my children so that they can also have greater peace of mind and harmony in their homes. Hopefully this will continue on for generations!
P.S. When I asked my 9 year old if I could borrow a $5 bill, she said, “No, I’m saving it.” She relented when I explained that I only needed it in order to take a picture (above) and then I would give it back. It looks like our children are learning the lesson to save at a younger age than I thought!