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Ask Dave

Financial Infidelity And The Baby Steps

Zack struggled with financial infidelity in the past. His wife is excited about working the Baby Steps, and Zack can see the benefits but is still tempted to buy on the sly.

QUESTION: Zack in Grand Rapids has struggled with financial infidelity with his wife in the past, and they’ve worked through that. She’s excited about working the Baby Steps, and Zack can see the benefits, but for him, it’s tempting to just buy what he wants without telling his wife. Dave tells Zack he’s learning some new skills.

ANSWER: I think the truth is you probably give yourself permission to be a human and that is what most people—when they’re being gazelle intense—are at varying levels. In other words, you might be kind of jogging as a gazelle and other times you might be sprinting. That’s normal. You are training and learning a new skill in your character that you never had before, and that is self-control and discipline to accomplish a goal. Prior to that, you just bought whatever you wanted.

It’s hard to visualize a place you’ve never been, but you’ve got to be aiming at it. To be able to honestly grasp how great it’s going to feel is hard because you’ve never been there. You are going out on faith that a) this is really important to your wife and b) you have, in your intellect, which is a good place to start, said this is smart, it doesn’t feel fun, it’s not really what you want to do, but it does appear to be taking you to a place that’s much better than you live today.

Grownups live with discipline. Children do what feels good. Adults devise a plan and follow it. You are disciplining yourself in an area you never have before. My guess is that you’re not a completely undisciplined person. You’re probably disciplined in other areas. Maybe you look at what that gains you in some other area of your life.

You saw the damage when there was lying involved. You’re trying to avoid that damage, and that’s good. I would also be thinking about what integrity is in your life.