Wednesday, August 26, 2009

F Peace U and Geez

As my friend Steph once said, "I hate money." Dealing with newlywed finances can be a major source of conflict for lots of reasons. However.

Ben and I took Financial Peace University last spring, and it has, by FAR, been the best thing we've done for our marriage. Better than any marriage book, seminar, or class.
Financial Peace University is a class on money. There are 13 lessons on everything from retirement to insurance to financial communication to real estate. We did the DVD version where you watch a one-hour lesson once a week for 13 weeks. My parents are bankers and financial planners so I thought I was very financially literate, but I would honestly say that probably 30% of what Dave Ramsey taught was new to me.

Check out these free Dave Ramsey budgeting forms (we use the "monthly cash flow planner"). Today I printed a new budget form and we'll have our little two-person "budget committee meeting" to make our plan for September. It takes less than 30 minutes and has made a huge difference- we have not had one single "money fight" since last February.

It may sound really yucky, technical, or boring to fill out detailed budgets, but you know what's REALLY yucky? Debt and money stress ruining your marriage and keeping you from your dreams. So do it!
Incredibly interesting thoughts from Geez today (see link in right hand column):
If I were to use blatantly racist language in a Geez article, my inbox would probably fill with protest from progressives. But if I use blatantly racist electricity – that is, electricity from hydroelectric dams that harm indigenous people – to power my computer, I can pretty much be assured the progressiveness police will not pay heed. The social sanction against racist language is much harsher than that for racist consumption. (And I would argue that much of our consumption involves exploitation of minority ethnic groups.)

I see a tendency within the progressive-minded subculture to scrutinize only a very particular set of behaviours. These tend to be the behaviours, such as language, that are easiest to change without infringing on our most cherished entitlements – primarily the entitlement to our comfy, middle-class lives.

The same principle applies to other easy progressive behaviours. It’s easier to switch to fair trade coffee than to give up addiction to foods from an ocean away. It’s easier to become pro-queer than to become poor, that is, to quit the over-consumptive middle class. In short, the code of progressive behaviour tends to dodge the tough stuff.

It is, of course, possible to do both the easy and tough stuff. But I worry that PC can be to equality what recycling is to environmentalism – it makes us feel like we’ve done our part even though we never get near the crux of the matter. I worry that too often it’s about us trying to make ourselves appear and feel sophisticated within our subculture, thereby creating a veneer of enlightenment that masks real issues.

But that all sounds harsher and more categorical than I mean it to. I get too impatient with process when big tasks await. Ample room must be left for exceptions, counter-arguments and, most of all, the grace we need to face a terribly incorrect world.

Will Braun is editor of Geez. He is white, male, educated, relatively slim, hetero, healthy and more middle class than he’d like to admit.
More from Geez:
In reality, we so-called world changers need to come to terms with the fact that neither we, nor any world leader, rebel leader, scientist or rock star will be able to solve climate change, Make Poverty History, or put an end to war, gender violence, racism or oppression.
If our motivation in working for change is the hope that ultimate success will be ours, we’re misguided.
Despite the temptation to invest our hopes in new people, movements and campaigns, the reality is that the top of the mountain is nowhere in sight. If working for change is dependent on achieving change, then we might as well give up now.
But lest we despair, we may find something more compelling in our post-hope hero, Sisyphus. To be post-hope is to embrace love and duty despite all evidence around us. And to embrace our duty is to find motivation not in the hope of mountaintop success, but in love. We are called to struggle, not achieve ultimate success. The rock will not reach the top, but we must work and love anyway. And in that work, and in that love, we must imagine ourselves happy. – Dan Leonard, Geez board member
The sign of a healthy society is when we have the mystics, who enable us to imagine a world outside of ourselves, and the satirists who keep us honest with our feet on the ground. – Becky Garrison, Christian satirist


Lauren Madison said...

This Financial Peace University sounds fabulous. If I ever get married, please remind me to do this!!

K said...

You can do it even if you're single- I'm telling you, it makes me feel so organized and secure.