I’ve been thinking a lot lately about becoming a better person and the standards I set for myself. I don’t think there’s anything odd about wanting to become a better person. I’m not saying I’m a bad person who needs to become good. I’m a good person who could be better. As I examine the standards I’m setting for myself on becoming a “better” person one that sticks out as unusual to me is one regarding money.
Before you jump to conclusions let me give you a little background. When Jordan and I were married, we had a bit of an old fashioned set up. I took care of hearth and home while Jordan brought home the bacon. We didn’t sit down and decide this one day. In fact, for most of our marriage I had a job too. This set up became very apparent after the kiddo was born. I was ok with this. I think feminism is more than just burning bras and pursuing a career. Feminism for me is about being able to choose what I do. I chose to be a mother and stay at home because it has always been something I wanted.
The problem with this set up became very obvious only a few short days after Jordan died. Since Jordan brought home the bacon he was also in charge of the bacon. He paid the bills, opened accounts, took care of credit cards and even managed our student loan payments. Anytime I wanted to buy something I would check with Jordan first. I had no concept of how much money we had or where it was going. Obviously this was a problem after he was gone. I didn’t have the knowledge or the tools to manage finances and suddenly, here I was trying to make good decisions for my family.
I know a lot of folks think it’s rude to talk about money. I’ve heard it called “the last taboo topic.” To some extent I think that’s accurate; for example, asking someone how much they spent on a house or making comments about the expensive items inside said house is rude. But simply trying to get information to make good decisions with your money is something else.
So one of my standards on becoming a “better” person is to get a handle on my finances. Because I want to be able to manage my money. I want to know where it’s going. I want to pay off debt and own a home and send my son to college. In order to do all that I have to ask questions to gain the knowledge necessary to conquer my goals. Will this actually make me a “better” person or just a more fiscally responsible one? I think, perhaps, for me the two are interchangeable.