Dave Ramsey: Make family planning a family activity
Dear Dave: How do I get my girlfriend to take a more active role in planning a family budget? We're getting married in a few months, and everything between us is great except for this one area. She seems to want me to handle the money, and make all the decisions. — David
Dear David: Many marriage counselors will tell you if a couple comes to agreement on four major issues — money, kids, religion and in-laws — they have a greater chance of forming a successful and lasting marriage.
Try sitting down with her and explaining from your heart how important it is to you that she's involved in the budgeting process. I believe it's vitally important that financial decisions are made by husband and wife together – as one. Most women value communication in a relationship, and the process of doing a monthly budget together will be a wonderful sharing experience for the two of you.
Money isn't the most important thing in the world, David. But the way a couple handles money is representative of their dreams, passions and fears. It's also indicative of their vision for the future!
Dear Dave: My son works, but he's 19 and lives at home. He's on my auto insurance and cell phone accounts, because we both get discounts on the plans. He's supposed to pay his share of these bills, but lots of times he'll say he doesn't have the money. He's a good kid, but what should I do to make an impression and teach him to be more responsible? — Steve
Dear Steve: It sounds like it's time for you to stand up and be a dad, my friend. Take action!
First, you need to have a talk with him where you apologize for doing a poor job of communicating in the past and about this situation in particular. Be gentle and loving, but also be firm that from this point on you're going to make him live up to his end of the bargain where the car insurance and cell phone are concerned.
Let him know with utter certainty you're going to shut off his cell phone and cancel his insurance the next time he doesn't have his share of the money when the bill comes due. Then, do it if he doesn't pay up on time!
You still have the control in this situation, Steve. You just have to exercise it. Your son may not like it at first, but you'll both benefit from the process.