The Bad was:
But it was actually a great way for us to start our conversation and a little bit easier for her to talk, think and reflect on each area of her finances and compartmentalise them into good, bad and ugly sections.
Because, sometimes, it is hard to know where to begin when it comes to you and your money, where do you start? Is there any point looking at the good things you have done? Does it matter what the value of your property is? Does it matter how much you owe in credit card debt? Does it matter how much you earn? And the answer is that they all matter because they are all linked and each area has a direct impact on the other so they are all important, but you need to take the step of putting down everything on paper, warts and all.
And whilst I am a big advocate of people completing a statement of what their net worth is so they benchmark themselves against what their peers have, along with using it as a method of recording how their finances are progressing against goals they set themselves i.e. save €X amount or reduce mortgage by €X amount over 12 months, it is only a measure of what they are financially worth, and that is a problem.
When this lady began talking about The Ugly part of her finances, she couldn’t record how she was feeling about her husband on a statement of net worth. So, it was good to talk about what she thought was one ugly part of her finances because up until she mentioned it, she didn’t consciously realise it existed.
The exercise we did together was very emotional for her because on the one hand she was very pleased she had a small mortgage and was aware that she was in a much better position than most and if anything ever did happen well she would always be able to earn enough to repay her mortgage so she was never going to be homeless and rather than taking that for granted, she became more grateful and was proud of herself for that.
When she spoke about her wedding and honeymoon and the amount they spent on it, she thought it shouldn’t be in The Bad section but more like The MAD section but then there is no movie I think called The Good, The Mad and The Ugly. Anyway, what was done was done, it couldn’t be taken back and no point beating, yourself, up about and when I asked her if she had her time all over again would she have done the same thing, she answered without hesitation – YES. They had incredible memories of it with friends and family and life can be short and often cruel so they will always remember that experience.
Talking about their wedding made her think of her husband and she joked that they got married for better and for worse and you know he had been trying incredibly hard to get a job, she realised that and if she was feeling under pressure god only knows how he must be feeling, so she resolved to move resentment off her ugly list simply by talking to him about how she is feeling.
And of course, doing this exercise wasn’t and isn’t all about the emotional aspects of her finances, they are absolutely important because they give her the why to make those changes so the ugly becomes the bad that eventually becomes the good. And she is going to have to do the things she doesn’t like doing like budgeting, planning her shopping trips, not going on holidays this year etc.
And I would encourage you to think about what’s good, bad and ugly about your finances (I think I sound like Father Trendy here) because only when you do, can you begin to see what’s really important and then resolve to do something positive about them.