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[thrive_text_block color=”note” headline=””]Step 8 to gain husbandly leadership is about financial leadership and why it’s more important today than ever.[/thrive_text_block]
[pullquote align=”normal” cite=”http://investorplace.com/2013/09/report-average-american-in-debt-hundreds-of-thousands/#.VheycehVhBc”]Did you know that the average American household is over $200,000 in debt?[/pullquote]
Granted, a lot of that is in a mortgage, but even if we just look at credit card debt, the average indebted American household owes nearly $15,000 in credit card debt alone.
This is a crisis that cannot be overstated. Debt has the power to cause so many problems in a marriage, and it can be the catalyst for even more problems than just money-related ones.
Unfortunately, there is no easy fix.
I’ll be honest – finances are not my area of expertise. I am not an accountant, and I’m certainly not what you would call “rich”.
However, I DO have control of my money. I’m not completely out of debt, but our family sticks to a strict monthly budget and and my wife and I are paying off the debt we do have extremely fast.
And, here’s an important point, we do not use a credit card… EVER.
Neither should you.
[thrive_headline_focus title=”We’ve Been Told a Dirty, Dirty Lie About Money.” orientation=”center”]
We’ve been taught that “debt is a tool” when it is in fact a TRAP. Credit card companies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing to convince you that owing money to someone is actually better than NOT owing money to someone. And guess what? It worked; [thrive_highlight highlight=’#eeee22′ text=’dark’]as of 2015, Americans owe a jaw-dropping $890 Billion on credit cards[/thrive_highlight] alone, and [thrive_highlight highlight=’#eeee22′ text=’dark’]$11.7 Trillion in total consumer debt.[/thrive_highlight]
When you stand back and think about it, does it make ANY sense that owing money is better than not owing money?
I’m sure that if you do the math, then there are probably some numbers you could run that show that debt actually CAN make you money in certain situations. People will say, “But you need debt to get a better credit rating,” or, “But don’t you realize you can get tax benefits for paying off your mortgage slowly?” or even the classic, “If you use your credit card properly, you can make 1% – 2% on your spending with those sweet, sweet rewards points!”
But I don’t really care about any of that, because I’m smart enough to know that I’m NOT smart enough to outwit the super-geniuses behind the lending industry, and so I stick to a pretty simple system that I learned from Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. It can be summed up in five words:
Pay off debt. Save money.
But, no matter what money management strategy you employ, the important thing is that you know enough about money to ensure that your family is provided for.
[thrive_headline_focus title=”Today’s Husbands MUST Be Able to Manage Money” orientation=”center”]
Or, if you’re not the money managing type, you need to have a good accountant to do it for you.
The point is, when push comes to shove, making sure there’s enough food on the table is the man’s job. This is one of the seven areas of husbandly leadership we talk about in Chapter 6 of Manly Marriage Revival.
Do not underestimate the burden that debt can bring to a marriage…
Debt creates stress, unhappiness, animosity and blame between two people. It is very difficult to have a happy marriage when you have such an unhappy burden looming over your relationship.
Because men are wired to provide, and women are wired to expect provision. That doesn’t mean you necessarily have to be the breadwinner, but it does mean that you should be aware of the money coming in and money going out of your family’s bank account.
Part of being an effective leader is taking control of your finances. Whether or not you and your wife have separate financial accounts, whether or not you’re the primary breadwinner, it is [thrive_highlight highlight=’#eeee22′ text=’dark’]your responsibility to ensure that your family is financially secure[/thrive_highlight]. Your wife should trust you to be able to make sure there’s food on the table.
[thrive_text_block color=”light” headline=”Financial Quick Tips From a Non-Expert”]As I said, I’m not an expert. But, you don’t have to be an expert to take on financial leadership in your relationship.
However, I do highly, highly recommend you pick up a copy of The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey that I mentioned earlier. It WILL change the way you handle money. Seriously, it is hands-down the best personal finance book I have ever read.
Furthermore, Dave teaches principles of financial leadership in his book that you can apply to your marriage. It’s available for around $15 on Amazon, including shipping, so check it out.
In the meantime, here are some general best practices to get you started:
- First things first, open up a spreadsheet and create a monthly budget for yourself. In one column, add all of your family’s monthly income; in the other column, add all of your family’s monthly expenses. Are there any areas you could be saving money? If nothing else, you want to know the following numbers:
- How much are you spending every month?
- How much can you save every month?
- How much debt can you pay off every month? Ideally you want to create a plan to pay off your debt. What is the earliest you can be debt-free?
- If at all possible, stop using a credit card and start paying off more than the minimum payment every month.
- Try to identify 2 or 3 areas you can save money, for example…
- Can you keep the temperature a couple degrees cooler during the winter, or hotter during the summer?
- Ask your bank about upgrading your credit card to a lower interest rate to minimize your monthly bills
- Can you cut down on your monthly entertainment budget?
In the end, remember that getting control of your finances is a project that will take you months, if not years. I don’t feel bad going a bit light on the practical advice, since I’m giving you a resource that I KNOW will get you through it. Either way, just remember that you don’t need to get rich overnight; you just need to have a clear plan for your money, both now and in the future.
In Step 9 we’ll start wrapping up the 10 Steps to Gain Husbandly Leadership with a message of hope and happiness. Prepare for your spirits to be lifted!
[thrive_link color=’blue’ link=’https://inside.husbandhelphaven.com/lessons/step-9-find-pleasure-in-her-pleasure/’ target=’_self’ size=’big’ align=’aligncenter’]Click Here to Go To Step 9[/thrive_link]