Saturday, June 21, 2008

Money Matters...

When Pat and I married two years ago, one of the things I relinquished control over was the money. It wasn't a matter of who handled their finances better, but for me it was an issue of using each of our strengths to the biggest advantage.
I handled my finances as a single woman for more than 10 years, but I thought it would be best if one of us was in charge of the money although it was a huge trust issue for me to give up that control.
 I don't think we discussed it really, but he always paid his bills when they came in the mail so I knew it would be OK.
I haven't regretted the decision one moment because Pat runs a good financial ship, but we both agree it's time I get involved in the family finances, I need to know what we have coming in and going out. It's a decision we made several months ago, but I have yet to really get involved.
So in order to get a good handle on all things financial I ordered Suze Orman's book "Women & Money," a book dedicated to teaching women how to manage their own financial futures even if they are married, stay-at-home moms like myself. It came in the mail yesterday along with a wreath my friend sent for Daddy's funeral and cards of sympathy.
I find it ironic that Suze's book - which details a topic my father obsessed over most of his life - came in the days after his death. Daddy and I had a good talk days before he died and I explained to him that my first responsibility is to Pat and Savannah... something I'm not sure he ever understood. 
He always felt like his children should give to the large family unit because we had money... and he thought being a journalist meant I had a lot of money (and I guess I did compared to what he made as a working farmer years ago).
I never could make him understand that it wasn't just about paying the month-to-month bills, but building for the future.
I just started reading the book, but I realize how much truth is in her words and how much time I've lost making poor money decisions. 
I've always paid my bills on time and had money left over at the end of the month, but I didn't invest it for the future or make it grow so I could become more financially secure. 
I'm promising myself now to get more involved in our finances so we can have a more secure future. I want to see where we can tighten our belts and if we can put more money into our savings.
A long time ago I made the decision to have a life different from what I knew growing up and I built a journalism career that paid a decent salary and allowed me to do things my parents were never able to do.
I want Savannah to know how she can take money  - in her savings account and her piggy bank - and make it grow. Pat and I have promised to teach her to respect money and not treat it just means to have everything we want.
I guess I have to teach myself that first.

1 comment:

Megan said...

That sounds like a book I should read. I always have made good decisions about spending money and saving, but I really don't know much about opportunities to make my savings grow beyond my savings account with it's tiny interest rate and CDs which I have but barely understand. And I have the 401K with the company but when they send me those statements in the mail I just file then away cause I wouldn't know what to change or do with the information anyway.