Financial Peace University – Week 2
February 10, 2011 14 Comments
Two weeks ago BF and I attended week 1 of Financial Peace University (FPU). I started saving for my $500 Emergency Fund hard core at this meeting and as of today (two weeks later) I have $350 towards my $500 saved up. By the end of this month I should have this goal completed. Woo hoo!
Week 2 of FPU was about relationships and money.
Of course the big focus was on marriage relationships – because money is such a big deal in marriage relationships. I’m not married, but I am going to FPU with BF.
We determined that I’m the “nerd” as Dave calls it. I enjoy making the spreadsheets. I love doing the budget. I am very controlling when it comes to the finances.
BF is definitely the “free spirit”. He wants someone to just do it for him so he doesn’t have to worry about. He gets bored with the finances. He just spends what he has and hopes it works out. Which it has for him so far, to a point. Other free spirits? Not so much.
In fact, our homework assignment from Week 1 (two weeks ago) was to make up a simple budget. Just a budget of our “necessary” expenses. I came home and did mine that night… because I’m the nerd. And also because all I had to do was copy the information from my Excel spreadsheet that already had it in there.
Him? Well… I reminded him to do it that weekend. I encouraged him to do it the middle of last week. I bugged him about it this weekend. And asked again if he had done it before we left last night – “Did you do it?” Nope. Hadn’t done it.
Which annoyed me, of course, because his budget is a lot simpler than mine. Rent, car payment, cell phone, food. That’s it. His utilities are included in his rent and he has no other expenses every month aside from those. Of course, it drove me nuts that he didn’t do it.
After listening to Dave and realizing I’m a nerd and BF is a free-spirit, on the drive home he said that he really did want to do the budget but he can’t do it alone. He said he was glad I was there so that I could help him. Not do it for him, I’m far too much of a teacher at heart to allow that, but to help him.
So he’s going to work on it Saturday, with me there for guidance.
Dave gave some amazing tips for how a nerd and a free spirit can work together – and even how they need each other for balance. I especially loved his tips on the “Budget Meeting”.
Rules for nerds:
- Bring the budget, give it to your free spirit.
- Shut up.
Rules for free spirits:
- Go to the meeting.
- Bring your brain to the meeting.
- Change something on the budget. (Of course, my nerd self hated this rule, because I know my budget it awesome. But Dave made an excellent point that the budget shouldn’t seem like the 10 commandments handed down from God to be bestowed upon your family. The free spirit should be involved. And they can’t just say “sounds good to me” – they have to be active in the process for it to mean anything.)
Rules for both:
- Agree and commit to the budget.
- Come back to a Emergency Budget Meeting if either stray from the budget.
Reflections of Week 2
Once again I had a wonderful time at FPU. There are so many people there, it is really encouraging to listen to their stories. There were around 26 people at this meeting – with 11 couples. The total of all of our debt? $408k. That means the average one of us has $16,000 worth if debt. Makes me sick that I have almost double that.
The best thing about FPU so far is that Dave is enjoyable to listen to, which makes it unpainful for BF. The conversations that we have afterward are so helpful. It is nice to have a means each week to talk about finances in a non-threatening way. Since we aren’t married and we don’t have joint finances, FPU is helping both of us get on the same page before we even think about combining things. We’re learning how to communicate, we’re learning about financial values, and we’re learning shared goals – all before we even think about sharing a life together. I think that going through FPU together should be a requirement for all people who are starting out in their life together.
If most marriages end in divorce because of issues regarding money, why shouldn’t we put time and effort before getting married into learning how to effectively talk with each and have common goals about money beforehand?