Who takes care of the finances in marriage?

Hello readers! I hope you enjoy hearing some of my recent thoughts on money and marriage :)

I recently read an article that presented survey results suggesting that many millennial married women are not involved in the long-term finances of their family. I was definitely surprised by this finding since it does not seem to be my personal experience in my own marriage nor in the marriages of my close friends. Despite that not being my own experience, I thought I would write a short post encouraging all married people, especially women, to each be involved in the finances of their marriage.


The study found that, while the surveyed women may take care of the day-to-day finances, they didn’t often have a good understanding of the status of their long-term finances. A common reason for this was that they thought their spouse was simply better equipped to handle this area of their life, thus these couples take on a “divide-and-conquer” approach. While that might make sense for things like household chores, it probably isn’t the best idea for managing your finances. Obviously, you don’t know what the future holds, so it’s best to be aware of what’s going on with your money if something happens like one spouse passing away. Women frequently outlive men and this survey reported 74% of widows and divorcees being negatively surprised by something in their finances once they were required to take over finances.


For example, in my marriage my husband is the one to put air in a low car tire (there are so many potholes in the city, ugh), and it’s actually something he doesn’t totally hate doing (unless it’s pouring down rain, which has happened to us on the PA turnpike more than once. Alas, that’s a story for another day) However, I still know how to air up the tire and keep a pump in the trunk of the car. It’s not because I don’t trust my husband, or think he’s unable to do it. Rather, I just can’t predict the future and there might be a time when I’m driving without him. I imagine he feels more peace knowing that, if he’s not there, I can handle this on my own.


I’m not suggesting that you be involved in your financial health as a way to keep options open if you no longer wish to be married, unlike many other articles and blog posts in today’s world might suggest. I do believe that marriage should be a lifelong commitment and I’m not suggesting divorce just because you’re fighting about money or something. It actually seems like both couples being involved and communicating about money can improve the health of your marriage! Take a look at these stats of women who share responsibility for long-term financial planning:

 

  • 94% of women report higher confidence in their financial future

  • 93% of women report fewer mistakes made with both involved

  • 91% of women report being less stressed about their finances


According to another survey by Ramsey Solutions: 94% of those with “great” marriages discuss their money dreams together, compared to only 45% of those who say their marriage is “okay” or “in crisis.


Ladies, perhaps in your marriage the husband is better suited to make financial decisions or simply enjoys this more than you. Well, I think that’s great if you can be aware of that and thankful that God has given him this ability. However, this is not an excuse for you as the wife to not have any clue what is going on with the long-term finances. This study shows that you can lower stress levels by having a good understanding of what’s going on,  and you’re both less likely to make mistakes when you discuss these things together. That sounds like a win-win to me!


If in your marriage you’ve been employing a divide-and-conquer approach to long-term finances, my hope is that this post will encourage to you and your spouse to sit down and talk about these things together as a partnership! I pray that it will strengthen you as a couple and grow you both closer to God and his plan for your lives.


Thanks for reading! :)

Kara P.


Sources: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190306005132/en/

https://www.daveramsey.com/research/money-marriage-communication

Saving more in 2019

Hey everyone!

I hope you enjoyed my post last week about ways to spend less money this year. Now that you are trying creative ways ways to cut back on spending, we want to be aware of what we are doing with that “extra” cash that we didn’t spend on cable or eating out. This week I wanted to share two quick ideas on how you can save more money.  

First, set savings goals for yourself (see my post on SMART goals). There a lots of ways to do this and lot’s of schedules online (try googling “52 week saving challenge”) that show how you can start small and save a daily or weekly amount and then at the end of the year you could have a big chunk of change for vacation, to invest, or whatever.

For me, I like to save on a set schedule automatically. With online banking and I can set the amount that makes sense for my budget to automatically get transferred to my savings account on payday. It’s important that the money moves on payday, so I’m not tempted to spend it. Another form of saving like this is using your employer 401k, this comes right out of paycheck and won’t even touch your checking account, so you never really feel like you are missing that cash. It’s even better if your employer matches your contribution.

Second, In the next few months people will start getting their income tax returns. If you really want to making savings a priority in 2019, you’ll make a plan of how you want to spend that money BEFORE you deposit the check and get all excited about the sweet stuff you could buy. For me, I generally try to think of a percentage of the money I want to save/invest and then give myself a much smaller percentage of that money to use for something fun. Overall, I think I do a pretty good job taking care of what we have, so it makes sense to celebrate the money we are saving all year long by spending a little on something fun. The point I’m trying to make here is, that you need to make a wise plan, I mean one that you’ve thought-through BEFORE you get the check. When it’s all said and done you’ll feel much more responsible, knowing that you didn’t spend the cash on impulsive sweet stuff and more free to be proud of your planning.

 

 

Thanks for reading! As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments about saving more and spending less.

 

Kara P.

Spending Less in 2019

Hello readers!

I’ve been searching my brain and then the internet for creative ways to cut spending and save money this year. As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts my husband is in school full time, so we have to be really careful about how much we are spending in order to minimize our student loan debt. It’s really difficult to save money when there isn’t any extra! Working at Insight I get to hear Shayna’s ideas on how to spend less and put away more. In this post I’ll share a few ideas for spending less that have worked great for my situation, someone else’s situation, or something that I just think sounds creative and worth a try.

  1.  First, take a look at all your paid subscriptions and evaluate. Is it worth the cost? Do you actually use it? Is there a free or cheaper version? Cutting cable is a great example of spending less. Most of the shows you watch are probably available on streaming services like Netflix and Hulu for much cheaper. You could even look into sharing your subscription with family members, friends or roommates, and that way everybody saves! Call me cheap, but I still don’t pay for spotify premium, I don’t really mind the ads and it’s just one small area where I can reduce spending.

  2.  Save money AND time with bill autopay. Find out what bills you can pay automatically online. In addition to ensuring you don’t get late fees if you forget to write the check, there might be some discounts available. I get a little bit lower interest rate with my student loan payments, just by setting up automatic payments!

  3.  You can spend less money by spending time on grocery planning. This could mean writing a list before going to the store, shopping at a more affordable grocery chain like Aldi, or even ordering your groceries online for pick-up. There is a service charge for ordering online but if the charge is less than what you typically would spend on impulse buys in the store, it’s totally worth it. And it saves you time, that’s a win-win. Another added benefit to planning your grocery shopping is that it will help you eliminate food waste and hopefully eat healthier.  Now that’s a win-win-win.

  4.  Some spending goals are harder to stick to when it seems impossible to stick to the new habit long term. Instead, try something new each month. That can make it seem easier because you know that there is an end date to look forward to and you keep it fresh with a new challenge for next month. You just might find out that that habit is more sustainable than you thought. Some ideas for these monthly goals are:  

    Take your lunch to work everyday instead of eating out.

Decide to do an “essentials only” month, where you don’t spend ANY money besides what you NEED.. like bills and groceries.    

Walk or bike to work instead of driving or paying for the bus.

Clean out the house and host a garage sale.

Eat all your leftovers and food in the pantry before heading back to the store. You’ll be forced to get creative in the kitchen and save money on replacing food that otherwise would have expired.

If you’ve never worked with a financial advisor, make it a goal to research advisors in your area and schedule a meeting.

 

I’d love to hear your ideas for spending less this year! Let us know what has worked for you and what’s been an epic fail. Stayed tuned, next week I’ll be writing about ways to save more in 2019!

Blessings,

Kara P.

Make 2019 a S.M.A.R.T. year!

Are the goals you set for yourself for 2019 S.M.A.R.T? Maybe you’ve been busy and haven’t yet taken the time to think about what you want to accomplish in this next year.. and that’s okay! It’s still not too late to think about your plans for 2019. I encourage you to take a few un-rushed moments over the next week and contemplate what areas of your life God may be calling you to change. Pray and ask God to give you wisdom for how to make progress with those goals.

Proverbs 19:21 New International Version (NIV)

21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
    but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

As you sense God’s desire and leading in your life, one practical tool that can help you identify, track, and manage the success of your goals is the “S.M.A.R.T.” acronym:

Specific- What exactly do you want to achieve? Be as specific and detailed as possible.

Measurable- How will you measure the success of your goal? For example, the goal “spend less money on clothes” can’t actually be measurable unless you already know how much money you are currently spending and declare what amount you’ll spend going forward. Then you’ll be able to track your expenditures this year to ensure the amount is decreasing.

Attainable- Can you actually reach this goal? This means being realistic. For example, if you want to lose weight, trying to lose 20 pounds in 3 days is not attainable. However, you could make that a S.M.A.R.T. goal by attempting to lose 20 pounds in a longer time frame, like 6 months.

Relevant- Why do you want to reach this goal? Knowing why is important to give you the motivation you will need to overcome the obstacles in your way.

Timely- When do you want to accomplish this goal? By the end of the year? Over your lifetime? For some types of goals and personalities it may be too overwhelming to attempt a goal for the entire year. If that is you perhaps try setting some smaller deadlines to keep you accountable throughout the year. For example, if your goal is to save $5,000 this year, you’ll want your goal to indicate saving about $417 each month to get there.

S.M.A.R.T goals set you up for success! When “I want to save money in 2019” becomes “I want to save $X by the end of year by quitting cable and putting aside $X/paycheck so that I can take a vacation with my family in January 2020,” your chances of reaching your goal increase greatly. Of course, your goal doesn’t have to saving for a family vacation.. it could be to decrease debt, give more financially, go back to school, cut out soda, etc. Just make sure you develop the idea into something specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.

I’m wishing you the best of luck in whatever journey you embark on during 2019! I pray that God will give you wisdom and grace along the way.

~Kara P.

Trusting God with our Finances- Tithe

Okay, I know you have probably heard this a million times before, so I’ll keep it short and to the point. Tithing, the act of giving God back a tenth of “our” income (which actually belongs to Him!), is an excellent tool to help us along the way to fully trusting God with our finances. I’m not denying that it is incredibly hard to tithe when money is tight, but scripture actually tells us to test God in this way.

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.
— Malachi 3:10

Following this instruction will strengthen our trust in Him, because, like the scripture says, when we test him, he will show up! I don’t know about you, but I want to see those blessings pour out into my life!

When we tithe we also acknowledge God as the owner of our money. I’d like to challenge us to frame our thinking in a way that recognizes that all we think we own, really belongs to Him. Now, don’t you think that God, the creator of Heaven and Earth, is capable of taking care of all that he owns? Surely, with this mindset, the act of tithing will deepen our trust in Him to provide for us financially.

It’s likely you haven’t learned anything new in regards to tithing from my post. My prayer for you is that my words can serve as an encouragement to start tithing if you haven’t already, or to encourage you to keep tithing it if it’s something you’ve been committed to for awhile now.

~Kara

Trusting God with our Finances- Accept Help!

A great way to learn to better trust God with our finances is to accept the help he gives us! However, sometimes the help provided to us, doesn’t look like we might expect.

Have you ever heard the story of the Drowning Man? I’ve heard it used many times in sermon illustrations. (I can’t find the author/origin of the story.. so if you find it let me know!) Basically, there is a man sitting on the roof of his house as flood waters rise quickly below. A motorboat comes by and the occupants offer rescue. The man declines and says “No thanks, God will save me.” Then, a row boat paddles on by and offers help, the man declines again saying, “No thanks, God will save me.” Lastly a helicopter flies by and the pilot offers help. The man refuses rescue again and declares that he will wait for God to save him. The waters rise, the man drowns, and wakes up in heaven. Confused, he asks God why he didn’t save him. And God responds saying, “I sent you a motorboat, rowboat, AND a helicopter! What more help did you want?” The man had faith that God would save him, but he was close-minded in terms of how God would provide that aid. We can learn to trust God with our finances by being open-minded to the types of provision God uses, one of those is our community.

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
— Galations 6:2

Whatever our circumstance, if we are struggling to make ends meet or we realize we need to cut back on spending to save for retirement. We might ask God for financial help and expect him to answer with more money coming in. If we are only looking for one possible answer to that request we could miss out on one of the best ways God provides for us… our community! Our community, whether that’s friends, family, church, or co-workers, has a lot to offer us. Sharing resources can go a long way! Next time you are struggling financially or just trying to be a better steward of what God has given you, consider looking first in your community for help. Maybe, there is someone in your community who can actually provide you with a needed service for cheaper. In the process you strengthen relationships and probably help that person out, even while saving money! Now, I’m not saying you can’t buy nice things for yourself ever, but there is something beautiful about sharing power tools with neighbors, giving rides to the airport, and having a potluck style dinner instead of going to an expensive restaurant. A friend of mine is planning a “clothing swap” for friends to get together and trade pieces of clothing! What a cool idea, it’ll be a great way to freshen up my wardrobe without spending a ton of money on new clothes. Not to mention the time spent with friends will surely be good for my soul. :) God often provides for our needs when we live in community with one another. I have found that by making our needs known within our community, God really will show up and provide! The more that you do this the easier it will be to trust that God will provide, one way or another, for all of our needs.

Can you think of a time when a need you had was met by your community? Share it in the comments!

~Kara

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
— Hebrews 13:16

Trusting God with our Finances- Equip yourself

Learning to trust God with our money is so hard! We’ve all been there! Let me share with you one practical way to move in the direction of fully trusting God to be our provider…

Equip yourself with scripture and prayers for the moments you feel the financial worry creep in. You’ll need scripture verses and prayers that you can recall to help you trust God in the midst of financial uncertainty. This will help you fight Satan’s attacks to steal your peace! One of my favorite verses for these times comes from Matthew 6:25-34. I just love the reminder to put God’s kingdom first and everything else will follow.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

~Kara

What’s your favorite scripture or prayer to help you trust God with your money? What verses do you lean on when you just aren’t sure how it’s all going to work out? We would love to hear from you in comment section! :)

Trusting God with our Finances- "Let it go!"

How often do you worry about your finances? For me, a couple of years ago I realized I was not trusting God with my long-term finances, specifically when it came to tackling my debt monster. There was actually a time in my life where I would check my bank accounts multiple times a day, then I would check the balances on my student and car loans, it felt like I was constantly doing the math in my head trying to find out how soon I could pay my loans off. Don’t get me wrong, a little sense of urgency when it comes to paying off debt can be great to keep you motivated but don’t obsess over it, like I was! The “letting go” part was particularly hard for me. I wasn’t saving any money (or time!) by obsessing over my finances and I surely wasn’t trusting God in the process. My obsessing was not resulting in any extra cash to put towards my debt, it was just stealing my peace.

Eventually I gained peace by taking the time to create a financial plan and deciding to “let it go” and let the plan do its job. As part of the plan I actually decided to check my loan balances only at set intervals and again when anything major changed with my finances. For example, I spent a lot of time rethinking my plan when I got married and when my employment situation changed. I also set up all my loan payments to happen automatically, so that I didn’t have to stress about remembering to pay and subsequently fight anxiety over the amount of interest I was paying every month. Once I knew that my automatic loan payments were working correctly, I promised myself I wouldn’t check the overall loan balance unless it was time for me to review my financial plan, this “letting go” part was actually crucial for my freedom from debt related anxiety. If you don’t know how to make a financial plan, talk to someone who does!

Scripture basically tells us that worrying is a waste of time , so now I can spend that time taking care of myself, developing relationships, and getting closer to God. I’m still working on my debt, but I’m deciding to trust God with my finances by letting it go. This gives me the peace to not be miserably anxious until I’m debt-free.

~Kara

Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
— Matthew 6:27

Trusting God with our Finances- Journaling

For some of us, trusting God with our finances is one of the hardest things to do. I’ve discovered some ways that have helped me to gain peace enough to believe that, even though my financial situation is not perfect, I can still trust God to be my provider. Journaling is one practical step we can take in the direction of fully trusting God with our finances.  

It’s simple! Keep a journal of all the times God has been faithful before. Have you ever had a moment where all of a sudden what you were worrying about doesn’t actually happen?? Write it down!! Try making it a habit to write down all the times you had a higher-than-expected paycheck, or a friend invited you over for dinner when you were low on grocery cash, or a desperate prayer was answered. Those are not coincidences, they are God’s provision! Being able to remember those moments can give you so much peace when you are looking at a bill and you have no idea where the funds will come from.

For example, at the start of this past month, I looked at our budget and realized we didn’t quite have the expected income to cover all of our expenses for the month. My husband is a full-time student and we both have part-time jobs with limited hours. We considered taking some funds out of our savings account but somehow, by God’s grace, I heard myself say, “I’m excited to see how God will provide for us this month.” I’m typically an anxious person, so to be totally honest, I surprised myself with that declaration. We continued along the month, being careful with our spending and waiting, then God showed up! My husband was able to get extra hours with his job, I was offered a month-long paid project, and accepted a new job for next month. As we are now at the end of the month I am amazed at how perfect God’s timing is and how he really is our financial provider! You can be sure this is going in my journal! God may not always chose to provide for us in the same way, but the next time I have financial doubts, I’ll be so thankful to have this example to lean on, and hopefully it will help me trust God with whatever we are facing.

What comes to mind when you think of God’s faithfulness? Share in the comment section a time where he has provided for your needs unexpectedly!

~Kara

Hebrews 10:23  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

Trusting God with our Finances - Setting the Agenda

When it comes to money, this world has an agenda for us all. We can see it everywhere we go. Advertisers spend millions and billions of dollars each year to put their products and services before us to ensure that we are exposed to what is available to be purchased. Where there is no need for a product or service, they even create a need by telling you about a problem you didn’t even know you had. Ever seen a commercial for a kitchen gadget that solved a problem you didn’t have until you saw the product? Something like an egg cooker, when regular pots and pans suited you just fine. Or a butter dispenser, because a regular knife just won’t do.

Every company is after our money in some way or another. And that is why we must learn to trust God with our finances. It’s not just a Christian cliche. It the truth. If you don’t set an agenda for your money, someone else will set one for you. And if you don’t set the agenda to be intentionally focused on God then you will undoubtedly be following a worldly one, because the temptation to do so is too great. There is always something enticing to buy or a reason to focus on accumulating more money. There has to be intentionality in how we earn, spend, save, give and invest our money to be aligned with the faith we say we have. Otherwise, we are falling prey to an agenda that is not like God’s. And it’s too easy to do.

Scripture tells us to "set our minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:2). To set something means to put, lay, or stand (something) in a specified place or position. When it comes to our finances, we need to “set” our minds on the things of God, or we will succumb to the things of this world. If we don’t “set” our own financial agenda and submit that agenda to the Lordship of Christ, then it may become “set”on other things. Or worse yet, it won’t be set at all and will waiver here and there, having no fixed place of rest.

Once something is set, everything else around it has to adjust to it, because its position is fixed. A financial life that is not set on anything has no plan; no strategy, no goals. It just uses money and hopes for the best. Maybe they will get there. Maybe not. But a financial life that is set on God has already settled on the truth of where they are going and aligns everything else up with the end goal in mind: to see Jesus. If my finances are not set on God, then I may set it on things that are not trustworthy. Maybe it’s set on a career that could end the moment the Board of Directors changes their mind. Maybe it is set on a certain amount of money in the bank, which could go away in the next financial crisis. Maybe it is set on making our businesses undeniably successful, but ends up taking a back seat to health issues. In any of these cases, what your financial life is “set” on is shaky at best. Jesus is actually the only solid foundation, because he has not changed, and won’t change. So why not set your financial mind on him? How does Jesus talk about money? How does Jesus teach us to engage with money? Find out.

Start today by considering what you truly value. Are those values in alignment with scripture? Is how you currently manage your money in alignment with those values? If not, take some time to consider how to be better about becoming more aligned. It’s very possible to do. And if you need help, that’s why we’re here. Request a consultation today. Let’s talk about setting the right agenda for your financial life.

~Shayna