Session Two is titled Relating With Money, Nerds and Free Spirits Unite! The main theme for this session is the difference between men and woman and nerds and free spirits. The idea is to recognize that tension points exist between men and woman simply because they are different and this deeply effects how money is handled in the family. Also, to add more fuel, Ramsey points out that usually in regards to finances a person takes on the role of the nerd or free spirit. The nerd is detailed oriented and operates very much out of a system that he or she created. The free spirit is...free. He/she does not like budgets, does not want to be tied down and told what to do with money. The free spirit is not necessarily destructive but rather is not so concerned about the "minor" details. The nerd thinks the free spirit acts irresponsibly. The nerd expects the free spirit to comply with the financial plan and "be more disciplined". The nerds posture can make the free spirit feel not cared for. Typically in marriage one spouse takes on one characteristic and the other spouse takes on the competing role - this is just another expression of the differences between men and women. I liked this identification because it seemed accurate and I can see it in my marriage. When it comes to writing a budget I am the nerd and my wife is the free spirit. However, when it comes to living the budget in everyday life, I am very much the free spirit and my wife is a perfect nerd. She is so disciplined - this is a blessing to my family.
This session felt very much like an over-hyped "special breakout" at a Gary Smalley marriage conference. Nothing against Smalley but you know what I mean if you've ever attended one of his events. Most of the information provided is directed at getting you motivated to change through "essential" techniques rooted in behavior modification theory. Essentially - stop doing these behaviors, start doing these, and your life will be better and you'll be happier and you'll get along with your spouse perfectly. Also, recognizing the differences between men and woman is key to understanding why they each behave differently. If you know why then that helps with knowing what to do. I don't agree. It is too formulaic. Yes, coming together on money issues in a marriage is critical I agree, but I don't think it is as ever as easy as what was outlined in session two. There is just simply too much that goes on in the human heart and desires, regardless of the gender, you can't narrow the scope of motivation and change to just behavior modification. I have a feeling I am complicating the basic ideas of session two but I am describing some of the underlying issues I knew I would encounter when I signed up for the course.
With that said, I did take away a few things I will use in my own financial life:
- Schedule a regular time for a family budget committee meeting.
- Follow the rules of the budget committee meeting designed to focus on the strengths of the nerd and free spirit instead of the weaknesses.
- Be much more intentional in teaching my children about what I am learning in this class. Create a legacy of financial knowledge for them.