Young&Married: Lessons Learned?

My wife and I will celebrate 10 years of marriage in April.  It’s been a roller coaster ride of good and bad decisions.  I wish we knew a few things then that we do know now.  We made some decisions that had long term consequences for us.  We called on Visa to get us off to a good start on the things that we “had to have.”  I recall a phone call that I got just months after getting married about a furniture sale.  I agreed to let my wife buy a couch and sofa on our credit card.  What I found out when I got there was we purchased a dining  room suite as well.  It was “too good” to pass up.  This decision and some others was our beginning of lessons learned as young and married. Below are 3 things I wish I knew then about how to handle money better.

Lesson 1: Saving Is As Important as Spending.  We had no clue as to how to save money.  We didn’t understand the idea of saving and waiting to buy it later.  We didn’t understand the unexpected expenses that would attack our finances.  Appliances and cars break down.  Who would have thought about this?  Establishing savings didn’t happen for us until 3 years after we got married.  We were slow learners.

Lesson 2: Credit Cards are a slippery slope.  As I mentioned earlier in this article, my wife and I made our choice to use credit cards early in our marriage.  They’re like a long-term illness.  They can take years to recover from.  We know from experience.  Buying stuff on credit creates a cycle of dependence on credit.  It’s only when you stop charging are start saving that the cycle can be broken.

Lesson 3: Distinguish Needs from Wants.  We had to have that new furniture.  It was a need.  Yes we did already have something to eat on but we needed more.  No.  We wanted more.  We wanted new.  We had other choices.  We made the one that we thought was best.  Looking back now we could have settled for a used set of furniture.  We just didn’t want to.  We’ve learned a few things since then.  We have bought some “used” items in the course of our marriage.  What about you?  What lessons have you learned?  If you’re no longer young and married and wish to share some of your lessons, please leave a comment for me and others to learn from.  If you are young and married, read this article again.  Please learn from my mistakes.  Best wishes.

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