I finally got around to reading The Smart Cookies’ Guide to Couples and Money, which I first wrote about back in March after attending their taping of the CBC Studio One Book Club. Their book expands upon the snippets (crumbs?) of advice the Cookies gave out during the book club to help couples get comfortable talking about money and take control of their finances, with more in-depth examination of real-life scenarios and relationships.
After reading any advice or self-help book that I find interesting and useful, I’m always inclined to immediately implement all of its suggestions RIGHT NOW. And inevitably — when I don’t see the results right away (hello, most diet and exercise plans) or when the changes feel like I’m giving up too much immediate gratification (what do you mean I can’t buy whatever I want?) — I end up abandoning most of the good habits I picked up from the authors.
So this time, I’m going to try something different. Instead of going all or nothing, I’ve taken notes from the book about a dozen of specific actions that I’d like to apply, and will consciously work on incorporating one of them into my life each week over the next couple of months.
First up, scheduling time to talk with my husband about money, and in particular deciding on how we’ll prioritize saving for future goals. I want us to do the “Perfect Day” exercise described by the Smart Cookies — in which you each imagine a random Wednesday five years in the future and think about what would make that day perfect to you. One of the many things I struggle with is deciding whether or not to start my own business, buy a home, or max out my RSPs, and I’m hoping doing this exercise together with my husband will help clarify what really matters in our lives together.
After that will come more concrete steps, like checking our credit scores (I know my score was quite good a couple of years ago, but I haven’t checked lately), making sure we’re getting the best rates and lowest fees on our savings accounts, and meeting with a mortgage broker to determine how much of a mortgage we could qualify for if we decide to buy instead of rent.