Why Don't More People Budget? Essay

In an article by Forbes magazine they say “Just saying the word “budget” is enough to cause your gut to wrench and make you feel guilty”.

Many academics and journalists have told us that a budget is the cornerstone of financial success. So why don’t more people budget? I have done a budget for myself before and it is eye- opening to see how much money I make and where all of it was going, but it is an important thing to know. For me personally, I try to not check my bank account as often as possible in fear that keeping me in the unknown of how much money I actually have is better than knowing and then being more frugal with my spending choices. Doing a budget is important for many reasons. It allows you to spend within your means, and to not spend money that you don’t have on things that you don’t need.

I have thought a lot about the future and about if I will work or not when it comes to starting a family. I in no ways plan on being the “breadwinner” of the family but I do plan on helping to support my future family financially. My future career will be in the healthcare field, as a speech-language pathologist. My goal right now is that when I graduate I would love to get a job in a hospital setting, specifically the NICU. It would be so beneficial to help infants learn to eat and be there for those early stages of development. When it comes to starting a family I would take some time off and then when it came time to go back to work I would want to work in an elementary school setting, helping children with speech disorders. All of these different choices in careers make around $90,000 a year. With the help of my future spouse’s salary I believe it would be extremely important to budget, save and invest appropriately. It is also important to discuss these things with whomever I marry, as we will then be sharing our assets.

Money is something that can drive many couples apart if it is not handled correctly, due to it being a “taboo” topic it can cause problems that otherwise might not be there. Dave Ramsey said that “Although men and women are different, and opposites attract, common sense and a success mentality tell us we have to work together. Two horses pulling a wagon can haul a huge load up a hill if they work together. Pulling apart will simply turn the wagon into firewood. Working together is the only way to survive bad times and prosper in good ones. This means, when it comes to marriage, you are no longer two individuals, but one couple.”

I grew up with a Dave Ramsey for a dad. My dad is the most frugal person I have ever met, and works very hard to support our family. Anytime I would catch him listening to the radio or on YouTube he would be listening to Dave Ramsey. From a young age, Dave Ramsey’s “baby steps” were instilled in me. I do agree with Dave Ramsey on his steps to becoming debt free. I believe that everyone should strive to be debt free. The only times I believe going into debt is okay is for buying a home, or student loans. Which both of those things are entirely possible to come out of debt free through saving and appropriate spending. A lot of people think that it is okay to go into debt over things like buying a car, shopping, traveling, etc. All of those things can be saved for and paid for in cash if done so through planning and saving. Many people follow the advice given by Dave Ramsey and are now living debt free and within their means. One critic wrote the following about Dave Ramsey… “While much of Dave Ramsey’s advice is helpful and accurate, some is hazardous. Yes, hazardous: It can cause harm. It is hazardous to eliminate interest charges to merely increase taxable liabilities.” There are going to be people that disagree with his methods, but I believe that if what he is saying is helping people become better and not tied down financially then his advice is worth taking.

Having credit cards is something I plan on staying away from as long as I can. I currently and never have had one. I use my debit card for all of my transactions and have been using it since I was 14. I am currently 23. I have found that by not relying on a credit card has helped me to be less stressed and less money driven. The thought of having a credit card to help build my credit is the only purpose I would have in getting one, and if it did come to pass it would be a credit card with a specific spending outlet, such as for gas, then it would be paid off at the end of each month to help raise my credit score. I am a firm believer in not spending money that I don’t have and not going into debt over something I cannot pay back. I currently do not have any student loans which I am entirely grateful for. I attended community college until I graduated with my associates degree, and throughout those couple of years I worked full-time and paved my way through those years and graduated debt- free. Now, attending ASU I have an uncle who is willing to help me pay for school as long as I graduate. Although the plan was for me to get student loans. Growing up my dad would always say “If you go to school for basket weaving you’ll never be able to pay off your degree”. Meaning that whatever field I chose to go into should be able to help me pay off the student loans I would need to get in order to finish my degree. My current living situation is ideal for me, I live at home with my parents while I am still single, and going through school. My parents have a mortgage and are planning on having the house paid off within the next 5 years. Although I do not have a house of my own and am currently not saving for one, I do believe that it is important for individuals to save to have a decent down payment on a house even if it means renting for a little while. After thought and research the thought of buying a house makes me nervous. An article from the New York Times says “Today, getting a mortgage is tougher — and less risky. For one thing, no-money down mortgages and their ilk, which enabled many borrowers to initially lower the costs of buying a home but often saddled borrowers with far higher balances or steep monthly payment increases, have vanished.” Buying a home is a huge buy and one that should not be taken lightly. With extreme consideration and a lot of saving and planning it can be done appropriately.

Currently I do not have any children, but I do plan on having a lot if my body will permit. I love kids and think they are a blessing to any relationship. That being said, my parents had 7 children. They worked extremely hard to be able to provide for us and even supply beyond our basic needs. The rule my parents had regarding college is that if we would go full-time that they would supply room, board, and groceries for free. They are firm believers that if we want something bad enough we should be willing to work for it, and when we are spending our own money it means a lot more to an individual. In a recent study that was done teenagers in a school setting were taught about money, how to save, budget, not go into debt, do taxes, etc. The students as well as the teachers found that they learned tools that they wouldn’t have otherwise learned in the real world, as well as they found the classes to be more interesting than the math they were used to learning about. I am lucky that I grew up with parents who were open with me when it came to talking about money, and I will strive as a parent one day to do the same.

Thinking about retirement is stressful. As that will be something I long for and will need but have no idea where to start with it. I think it is important when a person initially gets into the workforce to be curious about retirement, how it works at their job, what the pros and cons are, etc. As soon as a person has graduated and is in the career field I believe then is a good time to start planning, researching, and asking questions about their future retirement. I do not believe that it is beneficial to rely on your parents’ inheritance as a means to live off of in the future. There are many events or situations that could come up where that money would need to be used for something other than the plan that was in mind. Rather retirement money has strictly been set aside for the purpose of spending after one retires from the workforce. It is important to remember that money does not make people happy, but living within your means and not being tied down financially helps one to be free from the debts of the world.

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