Making It Our Plan

Brooke and her husband have been hoarding money, and they’re having trouble letting go of their savings down to $1,000. Dave tells Brooke her husband hasn’t bought into the plan yet.

QUESTION: Brooke in South Dakota and her husband are formulating a plan to turn their finances around, but they can’t get past the first step. They’ve been hoarding money, and they’re having trouble letting go of their savings down to $1,000. They have $80,000 in debt. Dave tells Brooke her husband hasn’t bought into the plan yet.

ANSWER: You make $150,000 a year and the thought of taking your $20,000 and throwing it at the debt freaks him out, since you’d only have $1,000 left. His language tells us what is going on. He says that he didn’t buy a car because of your plan and now you want to put this money on the debt because of your plan. The problem is that this is YOUR plan. He is new to this and doing it because he loves you, but not because he analyzed this and decided it was the way to change his life. It’s not his plan yet.

The reason we suggest taking any savings you’ve got and throwing it at your smallest debt is because we want to see an all-out commitment to behavior change and total focus by the entire household on getting out of debt. This is more about behavior modification than it is mathematics. It’s a little different when you’re making $50,000 as opposed to $150,000, but here’s the deal. If you guys change the rules, then as long as you and he together change the rules, than change them.

If you decide you’re going to keep $3,000 and throw $17,000 at the debt, that’s fine. But don’t sit there with $20,000 in savings while you have a $20,000 debt on a car. The question is how far down you can take it and not completely freak out. If you take it down to $1,000 and don’t like it, you can build it right back up a little with the money you guys make. Why don’t you try that? If you don’t like it, go back to your way or find some kind of compromise.

The Bible says out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. The words that you use give hints about where you really are. The words that he’s using give us hints that he’s going along with you and trusts you, but he hasn’t analyzed it to the point that he wants to do it and joins arms with you saying, “We are doing this.” When he changes his pronouns, you’ll know he’s on board.