Fashion, Lifestyle

Financial Freedom Q & A Word's & Wine Down Wednesday

Financial Freedom Q & A

Financial Freedom Q & A

Financial Freedom Q & A

Financial Freedom Q & A

Financial Freedom Q & A

Financial Freedom Q & A

CARDIGAN: old, similar options Macy’s + J. Crew, and plus size from Nordstrom | TANK: Top Shop + the Cami version | SKINNIES: Mother + HM Regular + HM Ripped {size up 2 for H & M} | SHOES: Espadrille Wedge {ON SALE!} I also have & love this pair by Chinese Laundry | BELT: Target +  HM | HANDBAG: Steve Madden ON SALE + ‘XV45L2’ gets you an extra 20% at check-out | BRACELET: Baublebar + Chan Luu | NECKLACE: options HM + another HM, Turquoise options at Nordstrom Nordstrom + Nordstrom | EARRINGS: Macy’s {ON SALE} | WATCH: Target | RING: INC International Concepts | NAIL POLISH: OPI | LIPSTICK: Mesmerizing Magenta | LIP PENCIL: Jilted | LIP BRUSH: Real Techniques

Happy words and wine down Wednesday, Everyone! I hope your week is going well. I won’t waste too much time on chit-chat. Not that I generally do. {gulp} I am sure you are anxious to hear what my husband and I have to say about our ‘Financial Freedom’ Plan and our views on money. {sip} When you’ve been married this long (a whopping 24 years) {gulp}, and have five kids together, {BIG gulp} 2 of them being adult and two almost there, you know a thing or two about teamwork when it comes to money. Either you are a team, or you’re not a team. If you are not a team, I hope both you and your spouse can take something from this blog post, come to a sensible agreement, and start working together, especially for your children’s sake. {sip}

A little quick history: Both my husband and I were fortunate to be raised by parents that were very frugal with their money. Although NOW our parents are in financial positions where they could live ‘much less’ frugal than they did when raising children, both sets continue to live like hermits. {gulp} I hope they aren’t reading this. It’s a compliment, Mom and Dad (both sides), it’s a compliment! Don’t be offended! {gulp}. There goes my inheritance! {gulp, again} Needless to say, we were lucky the seed had been planted in our upbringings. That really helped ensure that money would NOT be an issue of animosity and disagreement in mine and my husbands relationship. I have no doubt whatsoever that our five girls will be just as savvy in their money management skills, as both my husband and I are. That seed was planted from day one, as well, and they don’t prescribe to anything different with their own spending and saving habits. For you ‘just married’ or ‘young parents’, let this be encouragement for you to start early with your children. The dividends for your efforts will be rewarded later in life. I know it’s cliche, but patience REALLY is a virtue. You will reap what you sow.

The Q & A: I copy and pasted some of the more specific questions. There were a lot of general questions, and the answers provided below will pertain to a majority of those. You will see the questions in ‘bold’ and my husband or both of our answer’s below, as shown. I let my husband, Paul, handle most of it, and basically copy and pasted his answers, as well.


  • Elizabeth asks: It’s always interesting to see other’s opinions on money management. I know of quite a few different theories. The two biggies that come to mind first would be Robert Kiyosaki and Dave Ramsey. Between the two ideas (1. saving/living below your means as much as possible and getting out of debt asap VS 2. out working the problem and using (good) debt to make more money.) Which would you say you side with more?

Paul’s reply: I am a huge Dave Ramsey fan. Frankly, the best thing that ever happened to us (financially), is when Tracy bought the book by Dave Ramsey called, The Total Money Makeover (Workbook). But most importantly, she read both of them herself before giving it to me. Getting her to ‘buy in’ and understand the concepts was key!

Dave Ramsey is absolutely what all couples need! Talk about the BEST wedding gift there is!

The single most important thing in financing is to live below your means…It doesn’t matter how much you make….

Tracy & I are NOT fans of using debt to attempt to make more money…like borrowing money to make money. I understand people have to take risks, and loans can be a good thing to launch a business, etc….

I am a fan of calculated risks: risks of money that I can afford to lose. For example, if a relative calls and wants to “borrow” $5,000, and says that they will pay you back. If you decide to let them borrow that money, the most calculated risk is that you will NEVER get that money back. You must be willing to lose the entire investment when you are in situations like that. I am not saying that you shouldn’t necessarily loan your relative the money. Just be prepared and knowledgeable that you may never get it back. Only loan out what you are willing to lose.

The other thing I like about Dave Ramsey is the fact that he advises to take care of yourself first. Your children are 2nd.  Your financial freedom is first. We have lived by this concept. We have raised our kids to have a strong work ethic and to recognize that nothing is free in this world. You can have a Masters degree or a PHD, but if you are lazy and have a poor work ethic, then you won’t have much.

Our children have always had to earn their keep. They must work at the earliest age. Checking (debit) accounts get opened at the age of 13 in our home, and the education starts. It starts at a much earlier age, but the official account starts at age 13.

Tracy and I are on the same page, as money goes. We are both conscious and aware that money is hard to come by and easy to go. There are lots of marriages that have disagreements over money. The most important thing is to communicate each pay period, making sure that both parties are involved and on the same page. Typically in a household, there is one person paying the bills and taking care of the finances. However, and this is big: this person is NOT in charge of the finances. He/she is just the ‘secretary’ making the transactions. Both the husband & wife should be making the decisions ‘together’ as the Board of Directors….. so to speak. IF one or the other takes total control, then some issues can begin to occur.

  • Lisa asks: Do either of you have a ‘financial pet peeve’, some way the other spends money that drives you nuts? Easily my husband would say my shopping, and I’d say his little trips out to the casino, drives me bonkers, what a waste! Lol!

Paul’s reply: The only pet peeve that I have with my wife for spending money is how many pairs of shoes do you really need? And how many purses can someone have? And how many lipsticks and nail polishes are there in this world? I never realized there were so many different colors and shades possibly on this earth. Guys only have a few colors … life is so simple.

Tracy’s reply: Lisa, although it would be hard for me to justify the expense of some of the items that Paul purchases, because they are not necessarily interests to me, I DO respect a couple things: 1.) I respect the fact that the things that Paul likes or gets pleasure from, may not be the same as what I like or get pleasure from. Therefore, he can justify the expense of the item or event, where I may not. However, I also feel strongly that it needs to go both ways. He may not put ‘value’ on the purchases I make or things I enjoy to do, but he should give the same respect. 2.) I HIGHLY respect the fact that Paul NEVER pays face value for ANYTHING! He always searches very hard to find the best price, and utilizes discount methods for almost every purchase made .. including greens fees for golf, etc. There is NEVER wasteful spending coming out of any of our accounts. I follow the same theory and a lot of times, turn a purchase that I would like to make over to him, because I know he is very skilled in finding it for me at the best price out there. CONCLUSION: I think this is very important for couples to realize. Don’t make fun of his $300 golf club, because YOU don’t see the value in it. And in turn, HE should not be mocking your $60 handbag, because he doesn’t see the value in it. This, OF COURSE, is with the understanding that you and your spouse have the money in the first place. In other words, you’re not ‘Robbing Peter to Pay Paul!!! {gulp} aka, paying with credit! To which my mind is saying, why are either of you buying any of these items in the first place. If you are finding there is disagreement and animosity in this area, THAT, my married friends, is very well where the problem lies!!! {Big gulp}

  • Deanne Writes:  I would like to know how to afford college tuition?  So far, we have done everything through loans. Do you give weekly/monthly allowances to your girls? Investing, that is a great one, too! Other than a 401k, what else should one be investing in? 

Paul’s reply: As far as college tuition goes, it’s pretty straightforward in our home. The kids work and pay for their own college tuition. Remarkably their grades are better, because if you slack off and flunk a class, then you take it again and you pay twice. It is by far one of the BEST decisions that we have made. Thank you Dave Ramsey and of course, my wife, who fully supports this decision. I used to feel a little guilty myself, but not anymore … LOL …. It has really made my 2 oldest children grow and appreciate money … and I say this in a positive manner. If there is one thing that our kids will all say when they leave our home and are out on their own, is that we truly took the time to share with them the proper education on money and making solid financial decisions.

Tracy’s reply: Deanne, to answer your question, college tuition expenses for our two oldest daughters are being managed by them. They worked through high school and saved money. Our third daughter, who is a junior in high school, has her first year and a half (going on two) years of college saved for, already … just from working and SAVING! Where we live, when you graduate from high school, your parents throw an open house for you. You receive a good lump sum of money from gifts at this gathering. That pays for a lot of your first year expenses, as well. Our two college age girls have not chosen to spend large amounts of money on expensive colleges. They started their first two years at community colleges and one of them lived at home, while the other has an apartment. The girl’s are aware that it is not necessary to go ‘away’ to college, and it has no reflection on their success in the business market. There are many parents who may disagree with this method, and that is fine. I may disagree with them, as well, but I do respect that parents are doing the best they can and are free to make whatever choice they so choose when it comes to their children. I only hope it’s not at the expense of their financial future. There are plenty of children out there who are receiving college tuition via Grandma & Grandpa, also. That’s fantastic, if that worked out for you. We do not have that as an option in our families, and there is nothing wrong with that. Our parents DO have financial freedom and security, and there is a reason for it. They knew when to cut the ties. I applaud them for their wise decision. We will follow suit. Our two oldest are getting through their first four years of college with none to very little debt. Our oldest daughter graduates in December and will start Grad School, Fall of 2017. This will throw a whole new curve ball. But they, nor my husband and I, worry one bit about this. The girls are such good and hard workers, and so good at planning ahead, saving their money and living below their means, they will be just fine. When they get married someday, it most likely will not be their debt that will be brought to the marriage. That is something we talk about in our home. As for parent’s taking out loans for their children’s tuition, my suggestion is: Let’s look at the time it takes to pay something like that off. Are you planning to retire soon? Will this inhibit that? Are you stretching yourself? I know what we most likely would do. But I believe every situation is unique. Just don’t be willing to sacrifice the number one objective, and that’s your ‘Financial Freedom’.

Allowance: NEVER! It has never been brought up for discussion by either Paul or myself. Maybe it’s because we were not raised in homes where allowance was given. Therefore, we both never gave it thought. In our home, it’s the girl’s responsibility, as members of the family, to pitch-in, get their work done and done in a way that meets our expectations. You will not be paid in our home to contribute to the functioning of our home and family.

Investing: That will be a whole blog post to itself done by Paul. I’m too busy investing in shoes, handbags, lipstick and nail polishes (in every shade) … {gulp} {gulp} ok, is somebody getting sensitive?? lol

  • Jennifer asks: I wanted to hear your thoughts about weddings and the monetary parental obligations or lack-thereof. Like you and your husband, my dad is “tight” with his money…. I just call it smart though! I expect that he will probably be the only one out of my parents that contribute to my wedding. That being said, he definitely has no idea what an average wedding should cost or even what to plan for.

Paul’s reply (with add-ins from Tracy): Weddings, another easy one: First of all, There WILL BE a budget! And it will be manageable. Tracy and I will provide for our girl’s weddings what we are comfortable with (at that time). We will let them know right up front what we are willing to contribute. The cards will be laid out on the table immediately, as to prevent any later confusion. IF you chose to use our contribution towards a down payment for your house and a smaller wedding, then hats off to you. If you choose to resource the allotted amount on one night, for say a big extravagant wedding, then that is your choice. This gives our girls the freedom to have whatever type of wedding they and their future spouse choose to have. With five girls, they will not all choose to get married at the same time (cost-wise) nor choose the same type of venue. There is 12 years difference between our oldest and youngest, therefore, the monetary contribution coming from their mother & I may not be a same exact amount per child. It will however be fair. Our girls are already aware of this. Again, the seed has been planted early. AGAIN, thank you, Dave Ramsey, for the advice … as we will only give what we can financially afford at the time, and are willing to spend. We will maintain our financial freedom first!! Average weddings nowadays are probably somewhere around $25,000. So lets see: Wedding at 4 pm, then reception, which ends at 12 midnight  =  8 hours total. That equals $3,125 an hour……Hmmmmm……Not on my watch!

Financial Freedom Q & A

BOOK: The Total Money Makeover (Workbook) | WALLET: old, Kate Spade ‘Stacy’, new options: Cobble Hill – Stacy + Cedar Street – Stacy

Other note-worthy tips from Dave Ramsey

  • You never cash out a 401(k) or IRA to pay off debt, unless it’s to avoid a foreclosure or bankruptcy.
  • My children were taught at an early age how money works and that it comes from hard work. They’ve been on a commission – not an allowance – since they were little. They learned that if they worked around the house, they got paid. If they didn’t work, they didn’t get paid.
  • Children who reach the age of eighteen with their entire skills set composed on Nintendo and eating Doritos, have been neglected. Their parents neglected to give them the character traits necessary to live successfully.
  • The thing I have discovered about working with personal finance is that it is not rocket science. Personal finance is about 80% behavior. It is only about 20% head knowledge.
  • You have to teach children about money intentionally – create teachable moments.

You have plenty of information to absorb in tonight’s very important topic of obtaining ‘Financial Freedom’. Therefore, I will not be doing a wine review on the blog, this week. Due to the fact that our Wednesday evening schedule has been bumped up an hour due to kids and church activities, we are starting our usual 5 PM ‘Wine Down’ an hour earlier. As you may have seen on Snapchat, the wine is chilled, and I will be enjoying a glass with you around 4 pm. I hope you enjoy whatever it is that’s in your glass tonight, whether it’s wine, decaf coffee or a cup of chamomile tea.

I hope you enjoyed and I thank you for reading tonight’s post. Hopefully you can walk away with some tools to help you achieve ‘Financial Freedom’. If you’re young, start early. If you’re old, it’s never too late. Please feel free to leave your comments and questions below. I am certain a follow-up will be coming in the near future. We also never hit on another big topic, when it comes to raising children and teens … and that would be Cars. Let me know if that is something you would be interested in hearing about. Also, if you are interested in more tips that Paul & I have obtained and implemented in our home, from reading Dave Ramsey’s Book, let me know. His method of getting debt FREE and staying debt FREE is priceless!!!! Painful at first, but the end result is FREEDOM! Your questions and suggestions give us insight to what you would like to hear.

Disclaimer: Beverages containing alcohol are often associated with sharing, pleasure, unwinding, and socializing. However, there are times when drinking at all or too much can be risky to you or to others. This blog post is for light-hearted sharing ONLY! If you are over the age of 21 and choose to drink, please drink responsibly and don’t drink and drive.


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  • Reply Lucy Ladley - Luscious Fibers

    Thank You Tracy & Paul. Very Pragmatic Financial Information!

    • Reply tracyhensel

      Glad you enjoyed this post, Lucy. Thank you for your nice comment. Have a blessed weekend! xx

  • Reply Gretchen

    Tracy – I was looking forward to this post and did not disappoint! I too paid for my college, and I started working at age 14, where any spending money I had, I had to earn. My younger brothers went to nicer colleges and my parents helped. I think this did make them appreciate it less somehow, which is very interesting. Do you have any advice for (you or paul) – for how to make a financial plan with your significant other? I will probably need to buy the book you mentioned. It sounds really good. Thanks again!

    • Reply tracyhensel

      Thank you Gretchen, for your feedback. Glad you enjoyed this post. I too, feel that there is a sense of appreciation when you are paying for anything yourself. I will make note of your question and Paul & I can tackle it in our next Q & A. I think the biggest challenge in making a financial plan with your significant other, lies in whether or not they are ‘willing’ to make a plan. Unfortunately many areas of our life and relationships are at the mercy of the other person … to which we have very little control of. Great question. Have a great weekend! xx

  • Reply Heather Henderson

    I’ve got Dave Ramsey’s book on hold at my library. I love to hear I’m not the only one who plans to have their children pay for their own college. That is what my dad did with me (although I took out students loans and ten years later – with no defferments, I’m still paying them off).

    I’d love to hear more about the commissions, how they work, how much they get and at what age and with what chores you started them.

    • Reply tracyhensel

      Thanks for your feedback Heather. It is unfortunate when young adults have to start out with so much debt. But, I also feel better at their age, when they have ‘TIME” vs. parents, who no longer have that ‘TIME” … if the parents ever want to retire and retire comfortably. Raising children takes a lifetime of self-sacrifice, but we should never sacrifice our future in the process. As for the ‘commission’s’, I believe that was something Dave Ramsey did with his children. We however, do not give commission/allowance to our kids. My fourth daughter is currently ‘working’ for me and my business … a few hours a week. I am paying her every two weeks to do that. This is a job, however …. not chores. Thanks again for your comment and have a lovely weekend. xx

  • Reply Karen

    Great advice Paul and Tracy. My husband started out years ago with the envelope system which worked very well then transitioned into columns in a notebook in which he kept track of every conceivable expense that could occur. When that expense come up BOOM had the money. He still uses the columns. Not computer savvy but it’s his spread sheet. Our adult children say” come on mom and dad , we know you got money”. I tell them ” yes , it’s to take care of us when we get old.” That’s when they will be having graduations and weddings in there own families . We don’t want to be a burden on them financially. And Tracy he still changes the oil and rotates the tires himself. He used the money from the oil column. It’s the old way but the same way and the right way.

    • Reply tracyhensel

      Karen, I LOVED your whole comment … and sharing your story! I love the part about what your kids would say to you. Our girls (when they were younger and didn’t ‘get it’)would often say to us, “I don’t know how we can have such a nice house, and be poor!” Paul & I would laugh, but chose to never tell them that we weren’t poor. We figured they would figure it out for themselves. They even had friends that would say that, because these friends didn’t know that you weren’t supposed to get EVERYTHING you wanted.

      Paul and I live by those same concepts. We don’t want to burden our children when we get old. That is how both my mom and my in-laws are. We know that when they are no longer ‘able’ … at least from a financial standpoint, we will not be burdened. I think it’s smart thinking.

      Our husbands are very similar. It can be a sickness, at times. lol Thanks again Karen for sharing … I really enjoyed this! Enjoy your weekend! xx

  • Reply Monica erre

    Thanks Tracy and Paul great advice!
    Gorgeous look!

    • Reply tracyhensel

      Monica, thank you! Glad you enjoyed the post + look. Have a blessed weekend! xx

  • Reply Cat Price

    Thank you Tracy and Paul.. Where we differ on some thoughts we agree on many. My husband and I have lived debt free for most of our lives. My husband and I decided that we would pay for our childrens college tuition as long as their grades met an agreed upon standard. They would have to work to pay for their expenses. Two of our three have graduated and our youngest has two years to go. Our daughter called us with tears in her voice thanking us. She and her co-workers were discussing debt over lunch and after hearing their struggles she just wanted to thank us again for contributing to her education. We taught our children to work hard and save smart. I do wish that high schools had a class on life skill and money management. There are some young people out there that do not have a clue. I am one proud mama. They are all living a debt free (other than a mortgage) life.
    My husband is more frugal than myself. I also have as love of shoes, bags, make up and pretty baubles. You inspire me to be a better me. Thank you Tracy

  • Reply tracyhensel

    Thanks for your reply, Cat and for sharing your story.That a sweet story about your daughters call …. very humbling. Work hard and save smart … I love that! Showing that and modeling that is priceless. As parents, we can’t preach, what we don’t teach. To be young like your children and only have a mortgage is perfect. My husband and I have lived this way for many years (debt free but hefty mortgage). This past year we did lease a car … so we do have that now. But it’s very affordable and we really needed a good reliable vehicle. My oldest is currently leasing a new car, as well …. but no credit for any of us. I don’t see our kids having credit cards. Some people claim you NEED one … just in case. But our theory is …your debit card is a VISA or MC, so why would you need one just in case. There should always be an account of ‘just in case’, therefore you are never in that predicament. Stash Cash … so to speak. The washing machine WILL break down. A new roof WILL have to be put on. PLan for it!! Thanks again, Cat! Have a blessed weekend! xx

  • Reply Joey

    I am a big Dave Ramsey fan. My husband and I took the Financial Peace course our first year of marriage (2010) at the ages of 29 and 26, and I promise you we could and should revisit it often! We came from COMPLETELY different views of finances, so it was great for us to get on the same page. We love the envelope concept, and I love that psychologically it is harder to spend cash than swiping a card. That has helped me personally, that is why I prefer cash… not as many rash decisions on my end. From time to time I will pull up the youtube channel of people doing their Dave Ramsey “debt free screams,” It’s amazing to hear the stories of people that 1. Come to a sobering moment of their great need for change in their lives and 2. Allowing God to take control and become good stewards of their resources. Thank you to you and to Paul for your feedback! I love learning from others.

  • Reply tracyhensel

    Joey, you whole comment is just beautiful. I can only hope my readers have the opportunity to read what you have to share. I thank you dearly for sending this and sharing the wise decision you and your husband made from the beginning on working ‘together’. I’ve never watched the videos of people’s response of the freedom from debt. I can only imagine. My hope for those young people just starting out, is they never have to make that video. Thanks again for sharing! xx

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