Opening My Mouth About Money

Opening My Mouth About Money

2017-08-18T13:19:53+00:00 January 23rd, 2010|Personal|

Money.  You can’t live with it.  You can’t live without it.

Several years ago, a friend suggested that I discuss ‘money’ on my blog.  And I have. Once. In the piece A Down Payment on Our Dream.  But frankly I have avoided this topic.  Ironic given what I do for a living.  Sex may be little discussed, money even less so.

But I’m not sure that’s wise. Especially after a recent conversation with my accountant Carol Sanchez.  She writes:

This money thing is so important.  I can’t tell you how many divorces I have in my client base since the economy took a bad turn.  Churches should teach financial literacy and I don’t mean the basics because it can destroy homes, families and communities.

Marriages are a casualty of war; it had never occurred to me they could also be the casualty of a downturn.

Franklin Puzzle
Source:  istockphoto

And so I wonder — do I, do we, need to start thinking about and talking about money, and in partiulcar, the choices we make around our money?  After all, really growing up is about making and owning choices.  How we deploy our money seems like a pretty big choice given it affects us, our family, and community.

And what of our dreams?

I want to produce a documentary.  Financing required.
I want to fund women-owned businesses.  Financing required.
Oh — and I want my children to go to college.  Financing required for that too.

So much to do.
So many dreams.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in his essay, “Self Reliance, “In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.”

I don’t know that there will be genius here, but the thoughts have been rejected, and now they certainly are coming back.  Let’s see what happens.

Opening my mouth about money:  Money with a Capital M.

Have you been thinking about money?

Do you manage your money or does someone else?

Do you live better without it?  Or with it?

What dreams do you have that will require financing?

  • I’ve been thinking greatly about money these last few years since I have a “banked” on my dream. As I have paid attention to money, I have had fresh realizations and as a result, much joy.
    Money helped make my dream a reality. During the genesis of my business, I wrote a well-researched business plan with a grounded, comprehensive 5-year profit-and-loss projection. While I am convinced that my investors gave money because they believed in me more than they hoped for a large return, learning the financial end of things through writing the business plan gave me confidence that I could, in fact, make a living doing what I love.
    I am now at a point where I need financial insight less about planning and more about growth. I have an accountant who manages the taxation element of the business and an office assistant who maintains the company’s accounting. However, I am the one analyzing the numbers and making the financial decisions. It’s now time to bring in an expert to help me strategize hiring, pay rates, marketing expenses, and setting service fees for the coming year so that as my company grows – it grows soundly.
    As an aside, I am happy to talk to anyone who is tossing around a dream that involves determining appropriate amounts of funding or other issues related to getting the capital to get going.
    p.s. For anyone resisting this topic, as I did for many years, I suggest reading the book The Seven Stage of Money Maturity by George Kinder. It speaks exactly to Whitney’s point about growing up regarding financial matters.

  • And I’ve been thinking about ways to help women with dreams, particularly stay at home mothers, also stay connected to professional and social networks that help them be financially viable when the time is needed or simply right.
    I am in the middle of that process myself. Having been the primary breadwinner and then the full time mother and now a work from home mother, I need and want and am hungry to break down taboos about money. Pretty much all of my dreams require more than I have at this moment to get to their next stage.
    Janna, I remember watching you through that process and being so impressed at the ways in which you sought mentors and advisors and CAPITAL to bring your dream to fulfillment.
    Go Whitney, let’s take this further!

  • LL

    this reminded me of a quote I read a while back…
    “We should regularly review our family income, savings, and spending plan in family council meetings. This will teach our children to recognize the difference between wants and needs and to plan ahead for meaningful use of family resources.”
    Robert D. Hales
    I do all the bills in our house, I like that I’m aware of what’s coming and going. We have had times of NO money and times when things were very comfortable. I’d say living in the moment of no money is painful and scary, but looking back they were good times/rewarding when you know you made it work.

  • I’ve been running my business for three years without thinking about the money. I’ve paid myself once, but basically I’ve been doing it because I enjoy it.
    Then we had our baby.
    I think the important thing when considering money in a marriage is that spending is recorded and spending habits are discussed. If you need a new purse every six months that’s fine as long as it’s been budgeted and the only way to get it budgeted is if it’s been discussed.
    The quote in LL’s comment is spot on.

  • I think we need to talk about money alot more. I don’t think it should be considered an impolite subject! It’s a matter of necessity and I wholeheartedly agree that it is necessary for the good of communties and families.
    I was lucky to have a dad who tried to make us financially literate and develop good saving practices early. He taught us to do roth IRAs even as a grad student, matching what we put to show his commitment and belief in it’s importance.
    I think my generation as a whole is grossly undeprepared when it comes to even the basics like saving for retirement and saving for their children for college. There is no real institution that has responsiblity for this teaching and unless parents are active teachers or individuals are motivated and can find good accessible sources of information- most are left financially illiterate.
    I am lucky to have similar financial beliefs as my husband. We have held to the goal of never having any debt besides a mortgage. We don’t “budget” in a traditional sense, but we are careful spenders and always keep tabs on where we are, what are savings goals are, etc. Even as a dual income couple we trained ourselves to live off of one salary.
    I wish I knew more about the market and investment vehicles, as well as more involved business money matters. It’s so far out of my realm of expertise. I would say my entrepreneurial desires would probably go farther if I felt more confident in business money matters.

  • Janna — I had not heard of the book you mention, The Seven Stages of Money Maturity by George Kinder. It’s now on my Amazon wish list. And thank you for being willing to talk to someone who’s thinking about starting her own business — having seen your b-plan when you started, you have a lot to teach.
    Regarding your expansion — I don’t know if it is a fit, but I do wonder if it couldn’t make sense for you and Kristy Williams to speak? Maybe at least worth an e-mail conversation!

  • Laura and Matt —
    I’m glad you brought up the budget. It makes such a difference to teach our children about money — and yet we don’t.
    I’ve built a spreadsheet to track the kids revenue and expenses which includes 10% tithing, 10% philanthropy, 30% savings — and 50% discretionary. It’s a start; we now just need to review this more.
    Thanks for weighing in.

  • Chrysula and Leslie —
    Isn’t it interesting? We can be so educated — and yet we aren’t necessarily educated on accumulating the resources, and then letting those resources grow on their own, in order to finance more of our dreams — and do good!
    Thinking, thinking.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • N Eldon Tanner gave a talk Constancy Amid Change and his five principles of economic constancy have been the determining financial philosophy in our home.They include:
    Pay an honest tithing.
    Live on less than you earn.
    Learn to distinguish between needs and wants.
    Develop and live within a budget.
    Be honest in all your financial affairs.
    I used to do the investing in the early part of our marriage and then as the portfolio and our needs changed, my husband took over. I would love to learn more about this – love to invest my own money and watch it grow. Is there a forum for neophytes like me to learn?

  • Amy Jo

    I’ve been thinking about this, especially as I’ve completed our taxes. I’m grateful for the teachings of the church in regard to debt and spending. I’m really interested in hearing about your documentary?

  • Stacey P

    Whitney
    Honest post – very thoughtful. NY Times this weekend had a great article about how female breadwinners have few divorce rates and several other maritial advantages:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/24/fashion/24marriage.html?scp=1&sq=she%20works.%20they're%20happy&st=cse
    Having women feel comfortable and confident about money management and their ability to earn and invest money (like investing in other female owned businesses)is a very important piece to feeling confident about your dreams (in my opinion)…

  • Kristy

    I am grateful to parents who talked about money openly and didn’t give us everything we wanted – they helped us understand that our wants and needs have costs and we had to budget accordingly.
    My husband and I manage our own money, but in a fairly hands off way. We try to make sound investments and then not worry about it – but then again we don’t currently have a major goal we are trying to finance, so “forgetting about it” is pretty easy. Once we have something we want/need to purchase, we make look at that money with a bit more anxiety!
    One interesting money thing I realized this weekend – I’m a SAHM of one year, but still view my time as if I am getting paid…leading me to value my hourly rate a bit more than I should. I suspect it will take a while before that wears off.
    Janna- happy to talk to you. My background is in consulting big companies, but the concepts are transferable regardless of size. I may not be a perfect fit for your needs, but we could toss around some ideas. Whitney can connect us if that interests you.

  • Mercedes

    i have realized that i probably can’t live on my dreams. they will provide me with a sense of purpose and accomplishment but even if i am able to successfully pull of my current dream project, banking on it paying off financially is not prudent.
    i need to find employment that will sustain me and my family and finance my dreams. so i have been thinking about what kind of work i should do, what i like, and what i am good at. the thing that keeps coming back to me is something a very wise lady said to me not long ago: if you are going to work, why make x when you can make 10x.

  • Emily

    Whitney,
    Thank you for opening your mouth about money. I am encouraged by everything I’ve read here. I was raised in a home where wealthy were considered suspect of up-to-no-goodness and our only memorable financial conversations were, “We can’t afford it” and “There is a fine line between living in a house and living on the street.” Oh, the drama!
    Now, (financially self-educating) my husband and I work together on a budget and investing. We knew that the emotion behind financial choices can shake couples, so with that in mind we developed a (perhaps unconventional) strategy to make money-talk strengthen us. First, we recognized money choices as emotional. Second, we called our budget meetings “financial parties.” Third, we had a pre-planned reward that would bring us together and put a smile on our faces at the end of our meetings. For us it was sex (tying in the other taboo from your post, Whitney!) Those were the days. At any rate, it helped us grow up and face the money issues as a team.
    Money is dinner table fodder. We encourage our children to be entrepreneurs. We took “filthy rich” out of our vocabulary because lots of very nice, good people have money (including the good Samaritan). We talk lots about choices and let our kids know, we have money for A or B and we decide what we need/want most. We are currently seeking a family mission/charity that we could all feel enthusiastic about.

  • Lisle

    I am in awe. Financially, I have the maturity of a 14 year old. I struggle, and the only good thing I see coming of that is that my children know it’s hard for me, so they’re all careful with their own. They have allowance, and they know how to track their expenditures, and how to plan for things that are big, but we all still get sidetracked by little, fun things. That being said, I’m much better now than I was when I got married, and my husband is beginning to realize that the fact that we view money differently really is okay, but that we have to talk about it.
    The biggest thing is that it needs to be discussed. Maybe not endlessly (my personal tendency), but often. Interesting that everyone agrees on that point, isn’t it? The discussion of the thing makes it easier to learn, and easier to bear that process.

  • Lisle

    Hmm, perhaps I typed hastily. My struggles with money weren’t there when I was single–I just didn’t have any of it. The struggle in my world has been that of reconciling the fact that I pay the bills with my husband’s money (I stay at home), and my husband wants to have money to spend. Which we do, if it’s accounted for ahead of time. it’s taken nearly 20 years for him to figure out that the way he would have things run isn’t always the way it makes sense to me…our brains are fundamentally different. I think he’s getting it now–I offered to let him pay the bills. ;^)

  • Whitney, not long ago I was thinking how interesting it would be to talk with you about money, but because of what you do for a living this seemed like an imposition.
    I manage the money for our family and my husband’s business, and like Bonnie I would love to learn about investing.
    I hope this is beginning of a lot more talk about money.

  • Hm . . . I hope that my dreams one day make money. Hey, as long as I’m dreaming, right?

  • dgj

    About five years ago my family went through a very difficult time of having no steady employment for two years. We worked freelance jobs and every in between job you can imagine. After that experience my husband cannot stomach handling the finances…it literally makes him sick….so I do it instead. Luckily, he was able to land his “dream” job and I am at home. Problem is, after all the bills are paid, there is very little money for my dreams. All my dreams require money…I wish there was a microcredit bank for Americans….

  • What a terrific comment; thank you!
    I have never used http://www.prosper.com, but check this out.