Cheesy pictures, humor, suspense, seriousness, my presentation had it all. This was my chance to both enlighten her on our financial situation and convince her about why we need to be on the same page with our finances. And why becoming debt-free was the first big goal we’ll start with.
The primary purpose was to show her what I had been scheming and how it related to the important things in life instead of answering random questions sporadically. You know, kids, house, travel, health luxuries, and the number of other things that we want in our life.
This was my chance to connect her to the mighty Why.
As Simon Sinek coined in his popular book Start With Why, people don’t buy what (or how) you’re doing, they buy why you do it. And whether you’re selling ideas or goods, the most lasting way to influence human behavior (and in yourself) is to inspire it.
For married couples, it’s critical to be on the same page financially if we want to squeeze as much as we possibly can out of our marriages. If you are on the same page through major turning points (including the Coronavirus) in life, the possibilities are endless.
Whether you’re married or not, making a plan that inspires you and is actionable is critical to your financial success. And if you like presentations, you might read on for inspiration for what you might include in your presentation.
As mentioned previously, the most important thing is to start with why. To do so, I changed the “I want to be debt-free” into “we want to be debt-free” and constantly made the connection back to what it means to be financially free.
Continuous debt, I explained, was the enemy of a “rich life”.
I explained my belief that living with debt and a poor relationship with money subconsciously affects people from becoming their best selves. More importantly, I explained how I never wanted to be a slave to money and material things.
Because the sooner we paid off debt, the sooner we save up enough money to buy a home. The sooner we go to Europe completely free of all inhibitions about money. And the sooner we spend more lavishly on gifts for our friends, families, and share wonderful experiences with them.
The better we can wither any storm.
All without any inhibitions impacting our decisions. More to come on that in a bit.
Make the Financial presentation
I explained our financial situation in detail slide by slide starting with our budget.
The presentation included fun pictures and slides, both informative and light. To add more pizazz, I hooked our computer up to the big screen with an HDMI cord and sat her down with a glass of rose wine to sweeten the deal. I stood up in front of the TV and introduced myself and the subject.
The presentation included a number of key things like:
- Financial basics and how they work
- Emergency savings
- Current monthly income
- Student loan debt
- Budget line items
- How to smartly buy a house
- When we could take a trip to Europe
- How to manage “wants” purchases
- How we balance a budget with children
- Minimalism ideas
- Planning for shit-storms…like Coronavirus
- Q & A session
The financial ideals throughout the presentation included principles on delayed gratification, opportunity cost, and choosing to be fully present with affordable things now rather than putting extravagant things on credit cards now.
That book, that trip, that bag of coffee beans, that bottle of fancy wine, that fancy dinner, those clothes, etc. while both good and bad, all impact the final payoff date and the process of achieving the big-ticket items in life.
In the end, I tied it all together with optimism and excitement. I explained in detail how quickly this can happen if we execute the plan. I explained the intent behind discipline = freedom and what minimalism meant to me.
Convincing Michelle to go all in
I’ve driven Michelle up the wall more than a time or two with my frugalness. I’m a constant schemer and challenge conventional wisdom. When it comes to money, I’m always trying to teach her different perspectives in a constructive way although not I’m not always successful in doing so.
Fortunately, shes a pretty deep person. She understands it comes from the heart and is rooted in my constant work towards building an incredible life together.
This mutual trust is what we need to be successful with money in our marriage. Temporary sacrifice for long term brilliance. And if you don’t have a compelling why defined together, you’re throwing darts into a wall.
It’s important to talk about your finances.
Be Warned: Define your ideals together
Let me be clear. Life doesn’t fit into spreadsheets and pretty boxes. Crazy things happen. This is not an exercise on being cheap or putting off life until someday.
The purpose is not blindly cutting everything for the sake of having a false sense of financial security nor is it to sacrifice the things that make you happy. True security will never come from some magical number in your bank account, a $0 in your debts column, or $1 million in retirement.
Rather its a belief that your epic financial life is rooted in consciousness and intention. The same consciousness that encourages you to live minimally seeking only the items or experiences that light you up in life.
Start with your financial freedom
Your journey begins with rediscovering what you value most in life and how you might get it. Things you once valued may no longer hold that same value. Are you still going through the motions of pretending they do?
The hedonic treadmill or “we will be happy when…” is real. But what’s more real is growing as a person, as a couple, and doing the inner work. Mastering your finances is just one area of life but its one that can help you live more freely.
Think of debt (or your relationship with money) as just one of the things keeping you from becoming the person or couple you’re meant to be. This presentation is an exercise on value-based living. Its time to take a step…together.