The Fine Line Between Financial Responsibility and Letting Money Run Your Life
After I wrote my last post on happiness vs. money, I thought a lot about how we let certain money rules get in the way of living our lives. Granted, “rules” like don’t spend more than 30% of your gross income on housing and save 10% of your paycheck are there to save us from ourselves.
But still—sometimes we have to live our lives regardless of what the money situation is. I’m not saying the being financially irresponsible is OK—but I am saying that money isn’t the end all, be all when it comes to living your life.
Let’s say you are a 38-year-old woman and you finally meet someone you love and want to marry. You’ve always wanted children and now that you’re married you decide it’s time to do it before you get any older and things can get more complicated. But what if you don’t have the right amount of money? What if you look at your budget and you realize that, as of right now, you probably don’t have enough money to continue saving the way you’re saving, contributing to retirement, and living your current lifestyle? Your ratios would be all out of whack with a baby on the way!
What then? Do you wait until you line up all your money ratios the way the experts recommend? Do you consciously delay the plans you have for your life because you’d be breaking some money rule someone created a long time ago?
No. You have the freakin’ baby because you’re 38 and you don’t want to be an old mom. Because you want to increase the odds that you’ll have a healthy baby with as few complications as possible. You have the baby because everyone that’s ever had a baby always worries about the money and everyone that looks back on the early days of having had a child always seem to include “we were so happy but we didn’t have any money.”
I cringe to say this but: you’ll figure out the money part later. In this scenario I’m assuming a few things: you’re already somewhat financially responsible and you realize what you’re doing. You should have a plan to make sure you’re prepared for this massive change (you will have 9+ months, after all) in your life.
Before people start jumping down my throat saying that this is the thinking that caused people to take out mortgages they couldn’t afford, let me just say that yes—you’re right. But you know what? That’s life.
You can’t let “money rules” dictate how and when you do things. Especially something like having a child, which is so dependent on time factors.
OK, let the bashing begin. Am I wrong or am I onto something?