It's Time to Write Your Own Rules
Who’s rules are you following? How are they working for you?
Before I married my husband, we had many discussions about what we wanted and needed out of our partnership. One of the most important topics we discussed was MONEY.
I came from a financially conservative, blue collar family. My parents educated me throughout my childhood. We openly discussed money, bills, debt, ATM fees, credit cards and loans.
I clearly remember my parents celebrating when they paid off their 30-year mortgage ahead of schedule. Their good money habits allowed me to graduate from college with a small loan, enjoy a modest wedding, and start my adult life on the right foot. Financial literacy is one of the greatest gifts my parents have given me.
My husband had the opposite experience. He was raised in a home where money was not respected. Money was used to manipulate and shame. As a child, his financial footing was always in question. He knew he did not want to follow in his mother’s footsteps, so he began to educate himself. He learned about compound interest, investing and retirement savings plans. He joined the Navy to avoid student loan debt and broaden his experience. He chose a different path from the one he was taught.
As our relationship progressed, it became important that we discuss our experiences and values around money. We both respected money, were not frivolous spenders and preferred saving first. We developed a financial plan that focused on our shared goals.
We agreed to discuss any purchase over $50 before buying. (Let me just add that this was 20 years ago, and as newlyweds and newly employed adults, $50 was substantial.)
New Rule: Discuss any purchase over $50 before buying.
Why is making our own rule significant? For us to create the life we envisioned, we needed to live according to our own rules, not the rules someone else made. Our success as a partnership required us to be moving in the same direction, toward goals we determined for ourselves.
Our money rule highlighted what we valued most – planning, saving, and security. Our money rule also deterred what we valued least – waste, impulsiveness, and irresponsibility.
You have inherited a lot of “rules of operation”, most of which you are unaware. These rules manifest in results. If you follow the same rules you will achieve the same results. New rules will produce new results. If you don’t like the results you are experiencing, think about changing your rules of operation.
It’s time to write your own rules instead of blindly following what you have inherited.
Ask yourself: Who’s rules am I following? Are they working for me? How can I rewrite the rules to produce the outcomes I desire?