For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’
The number one reason people fall into hard financial times is because they don’t plan for the EXPECTED to happen. Notice I didn’t say unexpected. Because we all know that expected bills (medical, broken appliance, flat tire) can happen and will happen. And it will happen all at the same time. Causing one big broken expectation. It happens to everyone and that’s okay! But you can’t just ignore it.
Maybe your financial plan was to get money, spend it, and then forget it. Yet, anything we want in our lives needs to be managed and maintained.
Do we form serious relationships just to forget to set aside time to spend with the person? Of course not. We do everything we can to nurture the relationship and even plan for the future, maybe even a marriage. Once we know where we are headed, into a marriage, we start to interact with the person differently knowing this is a long term commitment and things we do today may affect us in 10-15 years down the line. We prioritize the time we spend with person, the words we use, and the questions we ask. We evaluate what the person can do for us, whether or not their goals align with our goals, their moral character and ultimately if they would be a good fit for our future.
On the other end of things, if we are in a relationship where we don’t really know where things are going, and we haven’t made any commitments, we may just linger around, have a bit of fun with the person but not have any plans. Just kind of waiting around till the next good option to show up!
You don’t want to treat your relationship with your finances they same way you treat an uncommitted relationship. Spending it for fun, waiting for the next opportunity to spend it just because you have no future plans —and no plans to keep it long term.
If we ask an uncommitted relationship “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” Their answer would probably be “I see myself with someone else”. That’s what our money would tell us if we have no plans for it and spend it on things that are easily consumed or thrown away.
Instead, treat your relationship with your finances like one who you were engaged to be married to. Be excited for what the future holds for it! Ask it hard questions like “Is this spending a good fit for my future?”.“Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” Do you see yourself in a piece of furniture sitting in my living room, as an emergency fund when my car breaks down for the 10th time, perhaps earning interest in my savings account, sitting nicely in my child’s 529 college fund, or invested in a piece of equipment for my business? We wouldn’t take the answer “ummm I dunno” or “I don’t have time to think about that right now” from someone we were engaged to. So don’t accept that from yourself from dealing with your finances.
Even when you have expectations going into a marriage you can plan on those expectations being broken! You’ll need to have the right plan in place and tools in your hand to make things work.
Take Away Questions:
What hard questions can you ask your finances this week?
What plan or tool can you put in place now to prepare for broken expectations in the future?