How to Be Financially Accountable
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If you have a desire to accumulate wealth, save money, spend less, earn more or change your priorities, you need accountability more than ever. However, I clearly understand the struggle in my own life.
Proper accountability has been a huge point of contention for me.
We need accountability but where do we draw the line and how do we let people in to our lives and still have boundaries to respect? It has been a bit easier being married to make sure that we are accountable to each other in finances, scheduling etc. But there is still the possibility that we will both make bad buying decisions or not hold each other accountable from an unbiased point of view if we team up together.
This can ruin your financial goals in the short and long run.
Read also: How to Get Your Spouse on Board with Finances blog post.
I’ve always said that after completing Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course that there was still something missing.
I had all the tools, I read through and listened to all of the lessons but when I went home to put all that I had learned into practice, it seemed that I couldn’t connect the dots.
Dave mentions having an accountability partner but we are the ones that need to take action if we really want change. That partner needs to be close, they need to be personal and we need to see them regularly. But we also need to let them in to the nitty-gritty of our lives and make sure they know we are ready for the brutal, honest truth.
So where do you find that person and what do they look like?
Ariana and I have, probably to a fault, involved ourselves in a number of different community groups. We have small-group-meetups up to 3 times a week with close friends and members of our church.
We have other friends in different states that we tend to talk to on a regular basis that agree with or at least understand and support our philosophy on living on less. And after a few years of experience, we have each other.
Sometimes even that isn’t enough!
It’s important for me to know that if I decided to make a bad purchase decision and then my community found out about it, that I would most likely be told that the purchase didn’t line up with my financial philosophy.
That’s mainly because our friends know our lifestyle and we give them permission to invade our ideas and finances. Could we be better at this? I think so.
But why is it so difficult to share our financial difficulties or strategies with others? What is the road block?
We place a great deal of weight in our culture upon the career we are in and how much money we take home each month.
Our paycheck and therefore status still defines us.
We overhear the salary of one of our friends or neighbors and our gut turns a little bit. We hear about a friend buying that new car or house or object that we desire, and we get a little jealous.
We see those beautiful Tesla cars drive by on the road and think, “My life would be better if I had one of those.” It is all a false narrative in a story where we were never truly introduced to the characters.
I’ve often wondered how differently we would look at life if above our heads was a bright, blinking balance displaying our net worth to the rest of the world.
We already hold that number in high esteem, but we don’t share it. What if we all knew? Would we strive to keep that number out of the red? Would we walk up to a friend who had a positive net worth yesterday but today displayed a negative net worth?
I think we would stop hiding behind the idea that it’s not important. Our identity shouldn’t be wrapped up in our finances but managing and being held accountable for our finances should still be a significant part of our family and friendly interactions.
So how do we stop hiding behind the mistakes we are making and start to encourage each other toward a more sustainable and intentional financial lifestyle?
It’s time to find someone that you can be transparent with.
Is there someone in your life that is willing to tell you that you’re making a bad decision even if it hurts? I know we can easily get defensive when someone calls us out but lets work on getting some tough skin.
It’s OK to be emotional when we’re being challenged.
Back when I worked at Apple they called this kind of accountability ‘Fearless Feedback.’ We would make sure to give plenty of positive feedback and constructive feedback to our coworkers.
Each person knew and expected to receive feedback daily.
Find someone who agrees with your financial philosophy and ask them if you can hold each other accountable in a fearless way. Meet for coffee once a month or every few weeks. Catch up and talk about the strategies you’re using to save, earn, invest or change your life and include how you feel about the time you spend working for a paycheck versus the time you could spend building relationships and spending precious time with the people you love. Let me know how it goes and what works well.
I want you to have the same freedom we experience on a daily basis.
What have you gained from having accountability? Let me know in the comments below.
Being disciplined with your money is hard but trust me, it's worth it. -Brandon
I’m Brandon and that’s my bride Ariana and our first born. We listened to age-old wisdom and paid off over $100,000 in debt from college, credit cards, vehicles and an underwater mortgage in under two years. We now we live a debt free life. Now we’re able to spend more time at home with our kids and prioritize our life.
With BeardedBudget, I have developed a number of financial and merchant relationships; some of which are affiliate relationships. The opinions expressed here are mine alone and should not be construed as professional financial advice but honest reviews and recommendations based on my own experience. For more information, read the disclaimers and disclosures.