Our ’99 Dodge Caravan. In two years, we hope to cross the finish line to debt-freedom with it.
- DH = Dear Husband
- DD2 = Dear Second Daughter
J. Money’s post on T. Harv Eker’s Secrets of the Millionaire Mind
Last week, J. Money from Budgets Are $exy wrote about T. Harv Eker’s book Secrets of the Millionaire Mind. In his post, Jay emphasizes the importance of the “money blueprint” which each one of us acquires in childhood. According to Eker, the messages about money, spoken or unspoken, that we absorb in our growing years determine the way we will manage our finances as adults. For most of us, our money blueprint is a subconscious force.
“If your subconscious ‘financial blueprint’ is not ‘set’ for success,” writes Jay, “nothing you learn, nothing you know, and nothing you do will make much of a difference.”
The only thing that will make a difference is to become aware of your money blueprint – to take it out of subconsciousness and into consciousness. Only then will you be in a position to challenge it. And change it.
Serendipity: we knew our money blueprints
DH and I have been working our way out of the red for just over 5 years. In June of 2012, we began our journey out of a total debt of $257,000 – consumer, business, and mortgage debts included. As it happened, DH was reading The Secrets of the Millionaire Mind just at that time, and as we prepared to eliminate our debt following Dave Ramsey’s strategy, he got me to read Eker’s chapter about the money blueprint concept. I’m so grateful for that coincidence! It meant that we were armed with an awareness that we wouldn’t otherwise have had when we started our trek to debt-freedom.
DH’s money blueprint – and mine
This is what I wrote in my second post ever – at the end of May 2012, one week before we officially started our journey out of debt: “DH recognized that for his father, money was always a problem – something to worry about … DH considered his own financial behaviour … and realized that … when things were good, he made spending decisions that brought us back to anxiety. So for DH, homeostasis, when it came to money matters, was a state of worry requiring control. That was familiar. That’s what he subconsciously gravitated towards.”
As for my own money blueprint: “My parents were excellent managers of money … But the topic of money was politely side-stepped in my family. It was discussed in vague terms if at all. To me, it was only clear that there was a pot of money somewhere. I saw that money came from the man … I learned, in my teens and early twenties, that there was money if I made enough of a fuss. As a young woman, I was a disaster financially. All the good role-modelling of my parents was subverted … In rebellion against what I had considered austerity, I enjoyed material purchases that I couldn’t afford, yet I was repelled by the base details of managing finances … That’s what the future man would attend to.”
We did NOT have the formula for successful finances in marriage: “Carelessly in debt, I married a man who was always worried about money and anxiously wanting to control it. Mind you, he was in debt too. Eeeek!”
My old blueprint: contained (but stubborn!)
DH and I share accounts for the most part, and in partnership with him, I have mastered my chaotic-spendy-spoiled-child money blueprint. We’re on the same page with our bills, our budgets, our debt payments, our savings, and our investments. But as I wrote last week, in my discretionary account, I’m still battling the ghosts of my past. My discretionary account is the one that I don’t share with DH, and “It’s the place where all of my old bad, chaotic, thoughtless patterns with money continue to reside. I would really like to evict them all.”
(And I WILL evict them all! A big thanks to everyone who offered suggestions last week. I am keeping a fearless inventory of my discretionary expenditures, and I will report on my progress at the beginning of every month – starting next week with September.)
DH’s old blueprint: held in check
A year ago, for our remaining debt (mortgage), we passed the $100,000 milestone. Going from a 6-figure debt to a 5-figure debt was a big deal for us! We sort of floated on an adrenaline rush for a time, high on the vision of the finish line – actually in sight!
It was on that high that DH pulled up in our driveway at the end of August last year – in a new Dodge Journey. He bounded into the house full of happy energy. “Come on!” he said to me and to DD2, “Join me for a test drive.”
DD2 got a kick out of climbing into the shiny new vehicle. I felt dread. Comfortable seats, slick dashboard, smooth ride, delicious new car smell … But none of it had any power over me. All I could think of was DH’s old blueprint: “When things were good, he made spending decisions that brought us back to anxiety.” Things were good. Perhaps for DH, uncomfortably good. Splurging on this new car would empty our emergency fund and put us back to a state of worry – his point of homeostasis. “It’s just a test drive!” DH insisted.
But is wasn’t just a test drive. Our old ’99 Dodge Caravan was acting up. We wondered if we were getting to the point where it made more sense to replace it than to fix it up. My vote was to make our old van last as long as possible – and to get a used car 8-10 years-old when the time came. DH was clearly playing with the idea of replacing our van as a next step – with new.
“That was a close call,” DH said this week about that test drive. I asked him, “If I had been for the new Dodge Journey, do you think you would have been convinced to buy it?” DH nodded his head.
When our van acted up again this summer, we went through the same “Is it time?” questioning. But unlike last year, DH looked at used vehicles. A Dodge Caravan 2009 was what would have replaced our old ’99 – but it didn’t. DH had the starter replaced, and our old van works like a charm. A new gas tank and new brakes are in the near future. DH and I now both want to cross the finish line into debt-freedom driving our ’99 Dodge Caravan.
Want to get the better of your money blueprint? Do some digging to get it out of your subconscious, and face it head on!
Have you faced down a negative money blueprint with success? Did you enter adulthood with a good money blueprint? Your comments are welcome.