At the start of our marriage, my husband always took care of our finances. It made sense because he had more experience than I did with tracking money and managing bills. I had just graduated from college, but he had been living on his own and managing his money for four years working in the Navy. After our kids were born, I actually preferred that he take care of the finances, because taking care of the kids all day is exhausting, and my mind would turn to mush if I were confronted with accounting numbers.
I have no trouble at all living frugally, cutting the excess from our spending, and trying to live within our means. When it comes to hard numbers though, up until this past Friday night, I was completely lost. I was completely ignorant of the bills, how any of them were paid, and I didn’t have the login and password information for any of our accounts. Especially since my husband works a high risk job, this put our family and our future in jeopardy. Should anything happen to him now, on his job as a police officer or Navy reservist, I would be completely in the dark as to how to go about managing our finances.
Receiving daily advice from personal finance blogs has really helped get me motivated to organize our finances and save for the future. I realized that we have an alarm system on the house and a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. We have car, home, and renters insurance. We have all of these safeguards in place to protect our belongings and our assets, but we didn’t have any protection or emergency plan in place for our finances. For the past few months, I have really been pushing for us to sit down and hash out the numbers. I wanted to have a plan in place, not only for if an emergency should arise, but also so that I could become more involved in the daily maintenance of our money.
So, this past Friday night, my husband and I snuggled on the couch with a legal pad and laptop. We had our first ever finance date for creating a concrete budget and having all of our account information compiled in one place. It was everything I imagined it to be and more. Just kidding…sort of. Creating a contingency plan for if your spouse should be killed is not exactly the epitome of romance. However, going over the numbers that represent our life and how we feed, clothe, and house our family was a new sort of intimacy that we had never experienced together. Albeit serious and at times painstakingly dull, it was a date which required eye contact, real communication, and compromises being met. If you have never had a finance date, I highly recommend it. It brought us closer together, and it gave us the tools we need should we ever have to deal with an emergency.
After our finance date, I felt so much better. I don’t like having to think about something terrible happening to my spouse, but it’s a relief knowing that I now have all of our account information to deal with the finances if I have to. After our date, my husband told me that he felt like a huge burden had been lifted from his shoulders. Since he was no longer the only one dealing with the stress of our finances, he could breathe a little bit easier.
I honestly have no idea why we waited so long to sit down together and talk about our finances. It was such a huge relief to us both. We decided that, from now on, we are both going to manage our accounts together, and we are going to work towards meeting our financial goals together. We plan on having monthly finance dates from now on. We both slept well Friday night knowing that, financially, I would be alright if anything were to happen to him in the line of duty.