I had to take the bus home the other day from work. After waiting for a few minutes, the bus came and I got on and I found a seat. A few minutes later, a young couple boarded the bus and sat in front of me. It was hard to not listen to their conversation, especially since it had to do with money. I wasn’t taking notes, but here is my recollection of the conversation. Since I don’t know their names, I’ll just refer to them as “Him” and Her”.
Her: “I bought a really nice pair of boots on sale today.”
Him: “You need to stop spending money like we have it in a bottomless pit.”
Her: “I don’t want to talk about money right now.”
Him: “When would you like to talk about money? You constantly say you will discuss it latter, but you never do.”
Her: “Why should I talk about money when you talk about money for the two of us and then for the rest of the world? It’s always about money and more money with you.”
Him: “Someone needs to talk about money in this family because it will never be you and we are just falling deeper and deeper into debt. Do you know how much you charged last month?”
Her: “No, I have no idea. I need something and I buy it. I have a job. I make good money. Why should I live like I am a person on Government subsidy?”
Him: “Because of our future. We need to sit with a Financial Advisor and work out a plan for our future.”
Her: “That’s living on a budget and I will never be on a budget. I can’t stand the idea of being restricted.”
Him: “You will not be restricted on a financial plan. Everything is taken into consideration, like all our plans for our future and all our goals, like owning our home, saving for our retirement, saving for life emergencies, saving for a vacation, and being debt free. While creating a Financial Plan we tell the Financial Planner what we want, when we want it and he devises a plan to suit our goals. It is not a budget but a plan just for us. It would not be a plan that would suit our friends – theirs would be different.”
Her: “How do you know so much about this stuff anyway?”
Him: “I went to my bank and while I was there I read something about Personal Financial Planning. I have it right here would you like to take a look at it.”
Her: “No, but tell me a little more about this Financial Plan. You said we can plan a vacation but you don’t want to spend money. How can we go on vacation and you don’t want to spend any money?”
Him: “That is not what I have told you. What I said was, I do not want to go on a vacation and then come home to a credit card bill waiting for me. With a Financial Plan we would designate the amount we want for our vacation. We would decide a year from now, so in our case since we get paid every two weeks, we would divide the amount by 26 which represents how many pay periods we have in a year, and that amount would be place from our cheques on payday automatically into our vacation account. At the end of the year, we would have the amount we allocated for the vacation. Just think that we could have the vacation of our choice and have no debt when we are back. How does that make you feel?”
Her: “Do you really mean we could have a vacation at this time next year if we did this financial plan now?”
Him: “We can have that and lots more like a home of our own in, say, 3 years, pay off all our credit card debt, regular saving and retirement savings.”
Her: “What do we have to do to get this plan in action?”
Him: ”We need to make an appointment at our bank and talk to the Financial Advisor. I believe we would have to see him a few times to get everything set up.”
Her: “What about money for food and entertainment, clothes, and pocket money?”
Him: “This is all discussed and is considered in the plan. After it is set up, we will have a road map of our financial journey detailing what we want and when we will arrive at the end of our journey. We meet with the planner once a year to revise our plan and make changes if our goals change. We also make the changes in our plan; for example, when we get a salary increase the new plan would be revised to plan for that money. If there are any other life-changes during the year we also meet with the Planner to make the changes.”
Her: “I’m beginning to understand this financial planning better. When can we make the appointment? I am fed up with all this credit card debt and would like to have our finances in order. It would be nice not to have you so angry at me all the time.”
At this point, the bus arrived at my stop and I had to leave.
That was so amazing, can you imagine how I felt being able to hear a conversation like that? I was so proud of that young man. As a Financial Advisor I was glad to see a young couple facing a possible lifetime of being caught in the Debt Spiral and one person realizing what could happen if they let themselves be dropped into a financial abyss.
I really admired his tact and the way he drew her in, to understand how important financial planning can be and that it is very different from a budget.
Sometimes is it very important in a relationship to do your homework in order to encourage the other person to see what the change in behaviour can make.
Tessa- Marie Shillingford is the author of Controlling the Debt Monster. She is Personal Financial Planner, with a designation from the Institute of Canadian Bankers, and a Financial Counselor certified by the institute of Canadian Banker. She is presently a Program Facilitator of Financial Literacy at JVS Toronto. Tessa- Marie was employed by TD Canada Trust for twenty years in the retail section of the bank. During her tenure at TD Canada Trust she held various positions interacting with customers of the bank. As a Financial Advisor and Manager of Financial Services she led a group of Financial Advisors in helping customers of TD Canada Trust successfully manage their finances. Details of her book… Controlling the Debt Monster, can be found at http://www.controldebtmonster.com