I will be the first to admit that dealing with numbers is a major weakness. Math class was the most hated and I have diagnosed myself with a numbers phobia. However, I have somehow manage to excel at maintaining very good finances even in times of financial difficulty. Since I was a child who would receive occasional monetary gifts from the adults in my life, I learned to save and even kept an accounting log whenever a sibling would borrow money from me (which they never paid back). For some reason, it was an innate ability to keep track of and organize what was mine. As an adult, I have carried over that same money savvy principle without every being taught or attending a ‘how to manage your money’ class. It was just common sense to know that if you have an income and financial obligations you should take care of that first before going on a shopping spree.
Today at work another single coworker who have shaky finances and too many debts wanted to buy a dress from a brand name catalogue for $80. Being the logical person I am, I pointed out to her that she could take the $80 + how much it would cost in shipping and handling and go to a good store and get that dress for less plus some other items. Instead of being commended for my sensibility, I was chastised for not understanding her shopping needs. I walked away with the confirmation that the reason poor people stay poor is because they constantly try to live beyond their means and never think through their financial decisions. I also walked away with a nastyish comment that I have back up money in the bank (even though it is not as much as I would like it to be) and can plan for true vacations (even if it’s a year away).
Single women are probably the biggest culprits of mis-managing their money. Singles who do not have children or have to care for others tend to spend on impulse and those are the ones who constantly lament about money. They usually have expensive tastes as well and delayed gratification of saving up for something is nonexistent. My philosophy is if you are rich then spend as such but if you are not then watch your account balance daily.
I am not advocating that a single should not enjoy a treat. However, it is no longer a treat when you have it every week. It has become a self indulgent behavior that can have serious consequences. A close friend and I have discussed often that there are some must-haves before we get married and one of those things, besides a sexually transmitted infection (STI formerly STD) test, is a credit score and report on the husband-to-be. Because like an STI, financial troubles are things we will pick up when we marry.
It is so much easier for a single to get into a habit of managing our finances because it is just one person. There are no tricks or special knowledge to be financially responsibility. I have seen other’s in debt and it can affect your life and health because of stress. I truly think that most single equate financial responsibility with denying themselves pleasure but it is the contrary. A savvy financial planner can enjoy treats and have fun without putting themselves in the poor house.