Wednesday, June 23, 2010

From Spreasheets to Mom Sheets

Sage here, re-posting because this post got very few hits and is so well written we were not sure if y'all had seen it, so if you haven't read up, if you don't Shelle will hunt you down and do a titty twister on you.

Shelle Edit: Tiara's and Tantrums writes so well. You will confirm this after you read this piece. As I engrossed myself in her blog I love that she does reviews and giveaways, but has still not lost her personal touch on her blog. Also... on her profile pic... she has the most beautiful red hair... you know the color I try to get out of a bottle? Yea, beautiful. I appreciate her so much writing this piece! Please go follow her over at Tiara's and Tantrums.

I was a Senior Financial Analyst awhile ago . . . I used to manage budgets in the billions, to the exact penny. I was involved in negotiating corporate call-outs. I could create a Balance Sheet like no other in my department. My P&L reports were flawless . . . every single time. I would balance budgets across the nations, throughout North America, South America, Europe, and Asia-Pac. My turnkey reports were some of my finest works and my automated financial reports were amazing and I am sure are still being used. I could quote you GAAP and FASB rules verbatim and my Financial Roadmap was set.

I learned early on to take the maximum percentage out of my paycheck and put it into retirement. I invested any extra money I had and used the just rewards to purchase my first town house. I was house poor for a couple of years, but I still put away 15% of my salary. I never splurged on anything and during that poor house period, I did not purchase one pair of shoes or any new clothing . . . at all. I bought only necessary items and my bank account grew. I was pleased with myself for being diligent at work and at home with my finances and my employer's finances.

When I met my husband, he was like minded as myself with money. Even more frugal than myself I would say. We complemented each other. Neither he nor I had ever had a late payment; we each went through our bills and paid them in a timely manner. When we married, I moved into his duplex and sold my townhouse. The money was put into my savings account for the new house we were looking to purchase together.

We found a lovely site to build our dream house on. Because we had each lived frugally, we were able to purchase the lovely home of our dreams. The profit from the sale of my townhouse and the sale of his duplex gave us a large down payment on the home we now reside in.

My husband had a wonderful job. I had a wonderful job. I was pregnant and had no plans to leave said wonderful job. Until the baby was born, my son. I couldn't return to this company that I had worked so hard for and leave my little baby. Thankfully, my husband agreed that I would stay home. Obviously our finances took a huge hit and our lifestyle changed drastically. No more impromptu trips to where ever we wanted to go for a long weekend. No more following my husband to Europe on a holiday after a business trip. No more weekend trips to the city with delicious dinners being devoured. There simply was no excess cash flow as there had been with two good salaries.

Through all of this my husband and I had maintained separate bank accounts. He paid all the household bills and I took care of groceries and myself and our son. I was able to live off my savings for a year after I quit my job. I recall when the time came, I needed to tell my husband that I didn't have any more money and that he would need to start giving me some of his. I was not happy about this moment in my life because I had always taken care of myself. But ask him I did. He was happy to add me to his bank accounts and give me a credit card and an ATM card. (or so I thought)

During the first month of use I felt guilty spending my husbands money but my best friend told me to (literally) suck it up and spend away. My husband agreed to take care of me when he married me and that I had every right to purchase (within reason) what I needed and desired. I bought a new pair of sandals. What I didn't know, he was checking on line with the credit card to see what was purchased (what I was purchasing). He called me at home one afternoon to 'review' some purchases I had made (the sandals and some baby stuff). My best friend was there and witnessed this conversation. I was embarrassed and she was angry.

We obviously had a few discussions regarding this new money position that we were in and it took us awhile to get in the groove together . . . this sharing of 'his' money. He still refers to our bank account as his and states that everything is purchased with his money. But I can live with that.

My husband decided that since I was once a Financial Analyst that I should take over the balancing of accounts and such. Since that moment he has completely forgotten how to write a check (unless for himself), record a check, record ATM withdrawals or balance a checkbook. This is aggravating and frustrating to me, as I don't think the financial responsibility of our household should be 100% on my shoulders just because I have a degree in Finance.

However, I was quite diligent in my household with regard to our finances. I had forecast sheets for everything . . . literally, everything. We were still (and currently are so as well) saving the maximum amount for retirement and putting more away for stocks, college fund and savings. I had another baby and still my spreadsheets prevailed. We moved to China (in 2005) and we had to make due with a cash only country. In yuan(Chinese currency) no less. My spreadsheets were doomed . . . my forecasts were forgotten. I couldn't keep track of the money I spent because I barely knew what amount I was spending.

We returned to the US after residing in China for one year and (literally) living a cash only life. It is a strange adjustment and interesting lifestyle, but a good one I might add. I had another baby and never quite picked up my spreadsheets again. I haven't balanced my checkbook in almost a year. Sadly, I haven't opened any bank statements of any sort in over a year as well. I couldn't tell you how much money we have in stocks or IRAs any more unless I dug through a drawer. Frankly, it is too depressing. We have lost more money in stocks than I care to ever think about again. I know my husband doesn't even know what drawer to look in for these unopened statements. He doesn't even know the password to our online bank account.

All our bills are set up to auto pay because if they are not, I forget to pay them. I once paid the phone bill the amount I was to pay the cable bill and that was already three months past due. My phone bill was paid in advance for one full year and I was still over due on my cable bill! I sent my last property tax bill to the correct address, but the incorrect zip code. It went unpaid for three months without me even knowing it! I laughed about it because, really, who does that? (the only reason I found out was my bank deposited the amount back into my account because the check was never cashed).

It's shameful and I keep telling myself that I must get back on my financial game plan personally. But I lost interest in numbers somewhere along the line while having babies. I hope that I can find my numerical groove again soon. I need to for my children's sake. Because I have little regard for money matters these days, they do not as well. This is bad, very bad. Here I am . . . a former Senior Financial Analyst turned SAHM who can't balance a checkbook anymore . . . how sad is that?

Tiaras & Tantrums


Anonymous said...

dang I can't imagine the bride ever balancing the checkbook! She is strictly the purchasing department. I am scared to death to know what she buys, evidently it is big stuff because it is 'spensive but I never see any of it around! hmmmmm

The retirement and stocks and such should come back if smart people will vote OTD this year and get these idiot assed democrats out of office.

tiarastantrums said...

sage - girlie clothes and shoes are expensive you know!!

heelsnstocking said...

I do the payments and stuff, but I also only show him part of my wages. I pay myself in 2 parts and hide some. Ive done this ever since we split up about 10 years ago and he took everything and my car from me and left me destitute. (why did I ever go back!!)

tiarastantrums said...

yes, I would put your money away too- far far away!!!

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

I worked at a bank for the longest time right after we were married and was right on top of all of our money financially.

Then I quit that job after I had my first child and it just slowly fell apart.

I'm having to climb a steep hill to get back to even ground and it sucks.

But I get it.

It's not sad, it's normal when your life is babies and not finance all day long... we tend to let go of those things that aren't top priority for the day... we can do it tomorrow... and then we have another diaper to change or a nap to take...

I GET it!

Loved the post!

I wish it was the other way around... I WISH i could just be the purchasing department. But I'm me and I still have to have my nose in it so I feel I have some control about what we do with it and so on and so forth... even though it would probably be better if I stayed ignorant to it.

tiarastantrums said...

Thanks Shelle maybe I will be inspired to balance my checkbook (hee hee)

robin said...

Hey there sweetie!
Great post! But I gotta say, I am a little relieved! From the way you were describing your rock star savings and payment habits, I thought you were going to tell me you were hired by Obama to balance the budget!
It's good to know that even people as smart as you still put away bank statements and don't read them for a year! I am horrible with numbers and start to panic over this stuff. I really could use someone to talk me through all of it.

4 Lettre Words said...

Neil and I are blessed to be 100% on the same page. We give more than we save and save more than we spend!

We lived off his paycheck for a year before we even got pregnant, just to be sure. And, I can't deny, it's been nice reaping some rewards during this economic crisis. (real estate investments)

Excellent topic! So few really think about finances until it's too late.

Anonymous said...

I somehow flipped the other way somewhere along the line. I was always mathematically challenged- English major ya know?

I mistakenly assumed my husband was taking care of our finances. I learned the hard way to never put your blind faith in someone else without knowing what is going on.

Since then, I pay all the bills, check our credit cards and bank statements and I'm not sure my husband even knows what bank we use - lol. This definitely helps when I make large shoe purchases:)

Chief said...

This is interesting timing for me.. this post.

I was just informed by the Hubs (who insists that he be the accounts payable) that he jacked shit up and we are screwed in the cash flow department this month.

Seems when I did the bills this never happened.

Great post!

Cluttered Brain said...

Yes, keeping a good track of your money is important. However in our married life we have yet to experience a good flow of cash yet.
That is still coming for us.
It is easy for me, to NOT spend anything 'cause I never have anything to spend!

That is changing faster by the minute though.
What a nice post.

Changing babies and taking care of the kids was a welcome change from financial analyst right?
I'm sure if you were to plop back into your financial ways, you could balance a checkbook.
I'm impressed that you were a senior fin analyst before you had kids.
That is cool.

*Well, i commented Shell. take me OFF that titty twister list...LOL.*
Way to make me comment. LOL.

Ian said...

I shall follow both your blogs cause Gucci told me she'd kill me otherwise

tiarastantrums said...

Ian - Thanks for the follows!!

OCB - yes, I married later in life (well, I guess later than most women and waited have children in my 30's) Career first, children next. I really never thought I would quite working until I held my baby!! That was it! Something shut off in my brain along the way - ha ha!!

Chief - my husband always 'threatens' to take over the banking but he never does! I beg him too really! He says he will cut up my credit card if he has to take over! Go ahead I say - then you have to take care of all the debit receipts!

letsshop- I think my husband would be fine if he would JUST actually help out with the finances!! He just wants NOTHING to do with it.

tiarastantrums said...

Robin - I do use my on-line banking system all the time though to check where we are along with quicken. As long as we are both within a happy range - I don't sweat it - NOT good - but it's the best I can do right now!

Dina - yes, we were able to save tons prior to having kids and have weathered this economy dip as well. Although if taxes increase anymore in the state of IL - we are so moving!!(as long as hubbie can find a job somewhere else!)

Ash said...

You make me feel a little better about getting married so young - we were dirt poor, there was never his or mine, just "our" empty bank account.

Now, I take for granted that my husband is in financial planning. For as much as I complain when he randomly asks me about paying the bills, what's on the card, etc., it is nice to know that I'm married to a tight wad and as long as he has a breath in his body, the family will survive.

Thank goodness, since my background is in writing and design - starving artist indeed.

Great post. Do people even balance checkbooks any more, anyway? That's what online banking is for. Right?

UP said...

Great post...and you're darn right about the beautiful red hair...I have a weakness for redheads!


tiarastantrums said...

Ash - maybe that is why I don't balance my checkbook anymore - I just look online??

UP - thanks!!

Lisa S said...

I just found your blog through another blog. Good writing, and great reading. I have always struggled with finances...after 21 years of marriage, I am finally figuring it out. I have been trying to pay ahead my bills so I don't ever get behind.