We speak kindly to and about each other, don’t call each other names when we disagree and have closely guarded our fidelity.
When we were raising the 5 hooligans we maintained a united front publicly. You have to or they will find the weakness and exploit it with creativity that rivals that of Apple developers.
Saying nice things about each other’s parents was easy because we both got the best set of in-laws! There was no one kinder to my mom in her final months then her favorite son-in-law.
Even though some of my husband’s family reads this blog regularly I’m going out on a limb to say it cannot be denied that I was right up there for the favorite daughter-in-law award and still hold a place as favorite aunt for many. (Insert wink and possibly evil laugh). If you do not believe this I can provide personal references but they’ll have to be kept secret so as NOT to cause family discord.
The one area we haven’t done well with is our finances. Yes, finances is the F word to me.
It should not be this way. When I was a (much) younger woman I did much better in the handling of my money.
And then came marriage. In no way am I assigning blame to MOMD. We married in our late twenties and our money habits were firmly entrenched. I am so glad that in this day and age resources are available for couples starting out with regards to personal finance.
Before two people walk the aisle (or whatever non-traditional thing people do for a wedding ceremony) they should read information, attend seminars and talk long hours about money.
Spending, saving and investing are all topics that need to be addressed.
Until you feel bleeding from your eyeballs would be more pleasant. (Can you sense just a little bit of frustration?)
And then just when you think you’ve covered it enough you need to talk about it again.
This is a scary blog to write because it has been a weakness for us and I would rather tell you only the good stuff. The areas where I shine. Oh, wait! You’ve seen before pictures of one of my cupboards. Guess I can’t fool you that I am a perfect specimen of domestic engineering.
There is only one reason I am willing to even begin to tackle this area. It is because someone I love very much, a future daughter-in-law, asked me to write about it. She said it is an area that younger people need to know about. It’s interesting because she handles her money very well and has many sound financial principles in her life already. Besides being beautiful and creative she is brilliant enough to know that the handling of finances can make or break a marriage.
I don’t have all the answers. Thank you, Captain Obvious. We have learned some things. We are still learning and working through things. We will continue to learn and make mistakes and keep learning.
We have been VERY fortunate in that one of our dearest friends has provided countless hours of advice and practical assistance. The one thing he stresses to us is that we need to keep talking about our finances. Even when it is uncomfortable or we’re sick of it or fill in the blank.
This brings to mind a funny story and one for which I am famous (at least with MOMD and our friends).
We drove to Michigan (where else?) for vacation about 20 years ago. We had a van that was very reliable and well maintained but it had a lot of miles on it. We arrived safely but at some point during our time in Michigan the van broke and it was going to be very expensive to fix it. We did not have the cash available to fix it and had to make arrangements to borrow the money from my folks so that we could get the van fixed to get back home. To say I was an unhappy camper would be like saying the Mississippi River is a creek.
MOMD and I were in our friends’ kitchen discussing our options, or lack thereof. In a voice a tad louder than necessary I said to my sweet hubby,
“I JUST WANT MONEY! LOTS AND LOTS OF MONEY.”
And, lest he miss the point, I felt it necessary to bang on the table as I said each word.
It was at this exact moment that our friends walked into the kitchen after taking a walk. Their faces said it all. Mouths open. Wide Eyes. Shock. And we all burst into laughter. This was not my finest moment, by a long shot.
I tell you that story for a few reasons. First, it is hilarious. And ludicrous. But it also, I think, shows the depth of emotion one can feel when it comes to money. I am not a yeller and certainly not a table banger. But at that moment I had just had it!
So you will be seeing posts about the F word. Finances. I will share some websites that I think have good information. I’ll tell you about some of our failures and some of our successes. I’ll ask questions. And I’ll be excited to read some of your stories should you choose to share them. Maybe we can create a new equation.
And by the way, I am only the favorite daughter-in-law and aunt in my world. A legend in my own mind.