By the time you read this column the holiday known as Valentine’s Day will be long past. The candies will be eaten, the homemade heart cards thrown in the trash and thoughts will turn green as St. Patrick’s Day approaches. Yet, despite discarding all the physical manifestations of the holiday, the concept of love will remain. And why not, especially since it’s a universal belief?
Of course, this feeling will probably remain for your young family, your relatives, and your pets; however, it won’t manifest itself for your finances. You’ll continue to harbor feelings of hate and distrust for the numbers that crowd your balance sheet. This is normal — not too many folks are in love with their financial situation. They try to reconcile with the income; however, in the end, they continue to bicker with them as the numbers never continue to line up in the positive column.
The reason why so many young families break up with their finances is because they don’t know how to work with them in order to re-establish the love they once had. Sure, they can go through financial counseling, but that may only result in a tolerable relationship with continued hatred simmering beneath the surface. What young families need to do is have a good talk with their finances on where they both want to go and how long they think it’ll take to reach their goal. Here are a few ways to fall in love with your finances.
Create a budget. Young families need a line of communication with their finances, and there’s no better way to do this than establishing a budget. This document allows finances to tell you where they need to go, how much money they’ll save, and what’s needed to pay bills. The best part is your finances can constantly update you as long as everyone talks on a regular basis. Without a budget, you and your money will never establish a dialog.
Pay down debt. A young family’s finances may not talk to them for one simple reason — there’s too much debt weighing them down. With this constant pressure established, money has a hard time properly communicating what it should do. The best way to alleviate this is to start paying down the debt from the smallest to the largest. Each payoff will release the burden off of your finances’ shoulders, allowing it to talk to you more about where it should go.
Create an emergency fund. Money is not always evil. In fact, it wants a young family to be safe, secure and be ready for whatever comes their way. By talking with their finances, young families can build themselves an emergency fund of between three to six months of expenses to prepare them for an unforeseen event. The completion of this task will establish the loving bond between a young family and their finances.