Thursday, April 27, 2006

Finances... a confessional.

I was mean and unfair to my husband in the last post. I called his questions dumb. They weren't exactly.... dumb. They were.... uninformed. Anything financial FREAKS HIM OUT and he tends to take on a challenging tone of voice and get that strange darting look in his eyes. He also gets very defensive because he doesn't make much money and most of our bills are his expenses so he feels very guilty.

He's a very smart man so the whole denial of any understanding of anything financial makes me laugh. When I say things like, "Wow, I was looking at the credit card statement and we spent a lot last month on gas." He will respond with, "Oh, ok, I'll pay cash for some of my gas this month." Um, because why? So I can't track our spending at all? Because, honey, it all comes outta the same pot.

I admit to pushing his buttons. I check our bank statements on-line from work several times a week (gotta get the info there since he isn't writing it in any bank book) and I like to call him up around 1:15 in the afternoon and say, "So, what did you have for lunch at Bob's today?" I also torture him because my moderately-conservative IRA fund is doing better than his very-conservative IRA fund.

My financial philosophy is simple. Make it easy for yourself and save in little bits wherever you can.... for example, student loans. The rate is high. 8%. So I found out they'd drop it .25% if we switched to electronic payment. So, we save .25% plus 39 cents and an envelope every month, plus the cost of buying new checks sooner (and you know I have to get Hot Stuff those pricey duplicate ones AND I splurge and get him the cutesy ones from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.... I use the plain-Jane cheapos even though we share an account), we never have to worry about late fees and with eft you can vary the amount you pay in any given month if you want to pay extra. So Hot Stuff was ok with that switch.... he was even ok with me upping the amount we pay every month is a desparate attempt to pay something beyond just interest. (I swear the total loan NEVER goes down.) The real beauty of eft is I can sneak in extra money whenever I can and he doesn't know about it. How terrible is that?

Hot Stuff believes in having all of your money where you can get at it. If it was up to him nothing would ever get invested and we would make tiny payments on everything over long periods of time. I like to pay cash. Wait, no, I like to put it on the credit card and get airline miles for it and then pay off the card. The compromise we made was this.... He let me get a financial advisor and put a pile (oh, it was a small pile) of money into a money market. Pretty conservative stuff and we have an actually checkbook if we need to get at it. Then I set it up so once it reaches a certain amount they take anything over that amount and put it into longer term and less liquid accounts. I also set up a lovely little college fund for the children. And where was I going with this? Oh, the compromise.... the compromise is, well, there isn't one. I ask his opinion and then do whatever the hell I want anyway.... there it is in black print.... I confess I am an elitist.

Money. Finances. Jobs. Careers. These are the things that are worrying me these days. I know the worries won't ever go away but I recently made a decision to get serious about getting a new career after we have the baby. Because the 5 year plan is looking pretty bleak. I can't afford to be a stay-at-home-mom and, the way things are right now, I can't even afford to cut back to part-time (my ideal). I've been here 7 years and I'm topped out, burned out & in need of new challenges. (And more money, of course....)

So I think. And I think. And I realize the thing I need to do is figure out what I want to DO. What could I do every day that would be interesting to me? Or at least not bore me to tears? And then I can't think of anything and I think I'm a boring person with no skills and talents and I have to go eat chocolate and get over it. Ya'll know the cycle.....

Um, ok. Enough whining. End of Post. Out.

8 comments:

Shana said...

You obviously have a flair for financial planning. Have you thought of going into that field? Of course I have no idea of what it would actually entail, but you obviously know a lot about maximizing your resources and being smart with money. Seems like you could use that in a career somehow.

Mary P. said...

I don't know if it will comfort or alarm you to know that at 45, I'm still wondering what I want to be "one day". However, all yearning for greener pastures aside, I do pull in a respectable income right now. Me, I love working from home: No childcare to pay! No fancy clothes to buy! No car needed! Anything you could do from home?

Too bad blogging doesn't pay anything!

M&Co. said...

My husband doesn't know very much about our finances. If he wants something he says, "do we have any money?" And then I tell him yes we do or no we don't.

Homestead said...

S.- So interesting you say that! My financial advisor (who used to be a PE teacher) talked with me about it. He's a Waddell & Reed guy and would like me to come on as a junior rep and eventually have my own territory. The problem? The travel. It is absolutely something I may pursue in 10 years or so but right now I don't have the time to commit to the travel and building up the clientel.

mary p.- I think the thing that concerns me so much is I've "settled" for so long. Time for a change. Home daycare is out because of our location (although I've considered it.... and I am kicking around the ideas of early-child education.... but there isn't much money in that here.) We've also talked about starting a home-based fire mitigation company. (They come in and tell you how to make your property fire-safe & help you get your insurance rates reduced) Hot Stuff would be the main consultant, I'd do the books, write the grants & manage the crews. We've just started talking about it.... there are several companies out there already but I predict the demand will be growing.

m&co.- We have that same conversation at our house! Can I buy this? Yes. No. Sometimes he will ask if our bills are getting paid but if I died tomorrow he would be completely lost.... for so many reasons....

PSUMommy said...

I have the same identity crisis a lot these days...it always seems to get worse when I'm pregnant! My biggest problem is that I *think* I know what I want to do...but it isn't feasible until our last child is at least 5.

And my hubs doesn't pay the bills, either...although he never asks if we have enough money. I'll say- wistfully- how I want something, he says 'So get it!' Its awful being the bad guy to your self.

Homestead said...

psumommy- oh, I come up with all sorts of things I *think* I want to do... radiology tech, hospital lab administrator, forest service employee, federal grant writer....

And I'm the same way about the purse-strings.... I've been wanting real wooden adirondack (sp?) chairs for years and they aren't that expensive but do I buy them???? Nope.

Anonymous said...

Become an AMS Master Consultant - the pay still sucks, the hours are long, and they make you drive a Dodge, but other than that, it's, um, where was I going with this?

Homestead said...

anon- But they call you MASTER and we know that's what you like....