Self Reliance

It took me many years to learn the lesson of self reliance. There is a saying that there is only two ways to get out of a marriage–Death and Divorce. We should all be prepared in an emergency What does Self Reliance mean? It means that you live your life in such a way that no matter what anyone else does, it doesn’t create hardship for you. Let me see if I can give you an example that will explain it better.

Let’s say that a middle aged woman has been married for 20 years. Suddenly, her husband, having a mid-life crisis, decides he doesn’t want to be married any more. Because she built her own credit over the years, invested money, continued to work throughout the marriage, invested in a 401 K, and saved her money, financially she will be OK. She will hurt emotionally for a while but it will not devastate her financially or reduce her living standard to poverty. This woman was self reliant.

Take the woman who quit working, stayed home and became a mother. If she was smart, she saved what she could, continued her education, and did whatever she could to create a cushion for hard times. She maintained her own personal savings and checking and was frugal with her household money. She was able to squirrel away money for the long term. She took interest in every aspect of her husband’s career and remained knowledgeable about their finances. She made sure that they both had personal money to spend in the budget that didn’t have to be accounted for. And, she got out in the community doing volunteer work. When her husband was killed in a car accident, she was able to pick up the pieces and get on with her life more easily than someone who had not prepared for an emergency. She knew where all the legal papers were, she knew how much insurance they had, and knew how to handle things without him.

As for me, I learned this lesson the hard way. I don’t recommend it. I must say that I was naive, or lazy. Perhaps a little of both. Just let me say that I have learned along the way to always maintain my own personal checking and savings account. I have my own personal credit card. I do not have joint credit card accounts, and I insist on a household allowance that I have total control over as well as a monthly budget that I have access to so I know that things are being paid. I don’t like surprises. My husband also has a personal allowance that he can spend any way he chooses. I don’t ask him what he does with the money. We divide any money that is left over after our bills are paid. All bills are paid out of a joint account. That way he has financial freedom and doesn’t have to account for what he spends for himself and neither do I. We have a joint savings for emergencies, but we are responsible for our own personal savings.

If I could stress one thing in a relationship it would be self reliance. It is OK to lean on the other person occasionally, but never put your life in anyone else’s hands totally. No one takes care of you like you do. Trust is earned. Love is given without strings. There is a big difference between the two. Get involved in your family’s finances and make joint decisions on the big ticket items.
Thanks!
Chris

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~ by womenstudycenter on January 4, 2009.

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