Among the top five stupidest financial decisions I've ever made was the decision to purchase a whole life insurance policy.
A few months after Rob and I got married, his old college friend talked us into buying a whole life insurance product. Over the course of 2 years, we spent $3600 for $250K in coverage each. STOOOOOOPID! I was an idiot with too much money on my hands.
These days, for $45/month (since we have a term policy), we have $500K in coverage each, and as a stay at home mom, I intend to keep my life insurance policy. This is how I came to the conclusion.
A little over two years ago, Rob and I decided that we needed to get our financial house in order. We started budgeting, and we discovered that we had plenty of cash flow, but I didn't feel satisfied with our financial life. What was wrong with me?
In time, I figured out that the problem wasn't our money, but the fact that I experienced big time loss aversion. I didn't want to lose time with our son.
Unfortunately, I didn't see a way around losing time with him because Rob was in school, and I needed to bring home the bacon. But over time, I started thinking about money more creatively. Could we save up enough for a long sabbatical? Could we reduce our expenses more? Could I earn some income without having to get a job?
Almost exactly 18 months ago, Rob and I came up with a plan that would allow me to quit my job by July of last year. We saved up a ton of money, but a few months later, I chickened out. I didn't trust that we could keep our expenses low enough. Then we came up with an alternative plan called the get mama home checklist, and we also decided to have another kid before I quit my job.
So, we marched our way down the list, and now I've officially (almost) achieved my goal. I submitted my letter of resignation to my full-time employer, and after my vacation time runs out in a few weeks. After that, I will be a stay at home mom.
Alternatively titled: Don't use financial goals as a mechanism for foreboding joy
I recently learned a new term, foreboding joy. It means to keep yourself from fully enjoying something because you know that the joy you feel is fleeting. It's temporal.
This side of heaven, all joy and happiness that we feel won't last. We know that. For example, I'm feeling a great deal of joy right now because I have my baby strapped to my chest while I'm typing this blog post. I can choose to soak in that joy, or I can instead end the joy prematurely by thinking about the fact that eventually I will want to sit down, and eventually the ergo will dig into my thigh, or my son will wake up and demand Graham crackers and fresh water.
Foreboding joy is a common practice, even among seemingly mentally sound people. We have such strong aversion to losing moments of joy that we mentally fight off joy rather than embrace it and allow it to leave.
Now, I am not a joy expert (though as a Christian Hedonist, it is a goal of mine to attain such expert status), but I have noticed that the way people talk and write about financial goals makes me believe that financial goals are a common mechanism for foreboding joy.
To help raise an awareness about this, I'm dedicating this post to helping you achieve happiness now! Don't allow financial goals to be a mechanism for foreboding joy.
I hope that the story I’m about to share cuts to what the core of what it means to be human in relationship with other humans. It’s a story of conflict and love; a story about connection and fear and unrequited love. It’s the story of how my husband bought a helmet mounted camera.
I think it’s fair for me to say that one of my deepest yearnings is to feel a connection with other people. I long to know and be known. At the same time, I fear extending love with abandon. No relationship highlights this for me more than my marriage.
Love in its very nature is not self-seeking. When I love Rob well, I’m vulnerable. I’m not seeking my own good but his. This feels dangerous. It is dangerous. “Keep your guard up!” is the self protecting battle cry of independence, but when I love I put my guard down. I’m open to attack.
The person who can hurt me the most is the person who I love the most. If I choose to love Rob well, he could choose to abuse my love and me. Thankfully, Rob is not the kind of man who abuses me or my love. He receives love from, and he nurtures the connection that grows in the soil of love. Like me, he puts down his guard, and shows love.
Thus we live in blissful love… until we don’t. Maybe Shelley woke up a few too many times in the night, or I just failed at something work related. Maybe the world starts to overwhelm me. Or maybe Rob wants to spend money on something, and I want to spend that same money on something else. At moments like those, I could ask, “How can I love my spouse?” but I normally ask, “What’s in it for me?”
I'm a wife, a mom, an employee, and a personal finance nerd who is devoted to spreadsheeting my way through life.