Editor’s Note: As part of a special project on The PerkStreet Blog, we’re offering free question and answer columns on Saturdays with Customer Columnists Clint and Katy Davis of Davis Coaching. If you have a question you’d like to submit to get advice fromthese financial coaches, email it to email@example.com.
Question 1: Can We Have Fun With Our Money?
Dear Clint and Katy,
We’ve been “buckled down” and working to become debt free for quite some time. It’s going a little slower than we would like, but we are making progress. When is it all right for us to have a little fun and buy some “toys”—like a boat or a motorcycle—when working this plan?
There’s nothing wrong with getting some toys. Guys love their toys…me included. We always recommend that folks get debt free, except their home mortgage, and save their 3-6 month emergency fund before they run out to buy a bunch of toys.
Once you’ve made it that far in your financial plan, it’s okay to loosen the purse-strings a little, have a little more fun and save upfor some cool stuff so you can buy those things with cash…not credit.
However, don’t forget there are more steps in your financial plan, such as putting 15% of your income into tax-favored retirement accounts, like a 401K or Roth-IRA, and saving for your childrens’ college funds. You should also begin taking steps toward paying off your home mortgage early.
We want you to have fun and enjoy the debt free lifestyle and there’s nothing wrong with buying some cool toys if you can afford them. Just make sure you don’t sacrifice your long-term financial goals by chasing the new and shiny!
Question 2: Why is Money Such a Touchy Subject?
Dear Clint and Katy,
It seems like most people get very defensive when it comes to discussing money, living on a budget, and financial planning. Why is that?
Money can definitely be a touchy subject for most people, and for many different reasons. Some people who may have “failed” with money likely have negative associations with it, most often cynicism and guilt.
People can be cynical if they feel like they’ve been messed around with by some “money expert.” Maybe they got caught up in a deal that went south, a program that was a scam, or they lost money following an adviser’s bad advice. Such unfortunate events can cause people to believe that anyone in the “financial arena” is either incompetent or manipulative.
People may feel guilty if they’ve made big money mistakes. They feel like they should have known better or they should be doing a better job at handling money now, and they simply don’t want to talk about it.
Then there are folks who simply don’t want to be around others who are doing something new or different, who are actually winning with money. They don’t want anyone else to win, because it reminds them that they’re losing. We’ve had to lovingly distance ourselves from certain people who had this “drag you down” attitude. Life’s too short and you have too much to accomplish to be stuck around those people.
If you’ve made some mistakes with money, that just means you’re human. Everyone has messed up financially, including us. But we managed to turn it around, and so can anyone else if they’ll open their minds and take new actions.
Give people grace about their financial situation, share your personal experiences and hope that you can be a good influence on them over time. Thanks for the question.
Have a tricky question Clint and Katy can answer about your finances?
Email it to Editors@PerkStreet.com
Clint and Katy Davis are PerkStreet Customer Columnists and founders of Davis Coaching. As financial coaches, their passion is helping people become and stay debt free! Their personalized coaching is designed to help you get your financial life where you want it to be. Like personal trainers for your finances, they can help you develop a specific plan to achieve your goals, and provide the expertise and accountability to get you there. If you’re ready to take control of your financial life, visit Davis Coaching online, check out the Davis Coaching blog, and connect with Clint and Katy on Twitter and Facebook.