Are You Lazy When It Comes to Money?

by Lesley on May 1, 2013 · 12 comments

in money

piggy bank

Attention 18-34 year olds: this post is for you. If you’re lazy when it comes to money, regardless of your age, this post is also for you.

Today we’re talking FINANCES, which in my experience is never been a fun thing to think about or talk about. At least, until recently. A few months ago we began taking a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University course through our church. While I won’t go so far as to say I’m having fun taking the class, I will say it’s been an extremely helpful tool as we try to make smart decisions about our financial future.

The truth is, if you’re part of Gen Y (aka The Millennial Generation), you’re climbing an uphill battle when it comes to finances.

According to this recent Atlantic article, Gen Y is the “unluckiest generation” because we we’ve come into the working world during a terrible recession. On top of that, many of us were encouraged to take out massive school debts, or “good debt”, because we’d surely get incredible jobs upon graduation.

For a lot of Gen Y adults, finding incredible (high paying) jobs has been hard. Until Anna arrived I worked in several different marketing positions. Guys, I worked my butt off to move up the ranks. I stayed late. I learned a ton. I got great annual reviews and became a manager with a sweet corner office with windows. I did not, however, receive any substantial raises. If you look at my degree, the hours I worked, and the field, I should have been making a lot more income than I did. I’m not telling you this to complain or gain sympathy but rather to prove a point. The Atlantic article is right: it’s been a tough six years in the job market.

Of course our generation has many things going for us, the largest being TIME. Our parents’ generation is nearing retirement. Many Baby Boomers are stressed about their finances because they don’t have many working years to earn back what they’ve lost during the recession. We, on the other hand, can start making smart decisions NOW.

“If you do the things you need to do when you need to do them, then someday you can do the things you want to do wthen you want to do them.” -Zig Ziglar

The biggest goals for Jonathan and I at this point in our life are: paying off law school debts, saving for retirement and our children’s college funds, and (eventually, maybe) figuring out how to buy another home. (We have no plans to leave our current house–I love it and it works for us–but as we add children to our family we could outgrow the space.)

Until taking the Dave Ramsey course I hadn’t given much thought to retirement or college saving. Now I’m realizing how much these goals need to be a priority, not an after thought. If we make good decisions now we’ll be secure when we’re older PLUS we’ll be able to bless other people by giving money away to those who are truly in need. How fun would that be?

Make all you can, save all you can, give all you can.” -John Wesley

I think the most difficult part about taking a Dave Ramsey course is realizing that in order to become financially secure, it means delaying gratification. When I was a child my dad used to always ask: “Is that new (shirt, toy, purse) a need or a want?” When I truly ask myself this question, I usually realize most of the items I think I need are actually wants. One of the reasons I hate budgeting is that during this period of my life I need to make some tough and disciplined choices.

“One definition of maturity is learning to delay pleasure. Children do what feels good; adults devise a plan and follow it.” – Dave Ramsey

Other topics Dave covers that might be particularly helpful for some of you:

Having a $1,000 beginner emergency fund

Paying off all debts

Saving 3-6 months of expenses for larger emergencies

Buying the right kind of insurance

Knowing when to buy a house (and when not to!)

So here’s my point: if you’re reading this post and you’re not making disciplined and smart decisions with your money…please sign up for this course. Especially if you have massive school debt or credit card debt. Especially if you’re trying to decide whether to buy a house. Especially if you have children and haven’t bought life insurance. Don’t wait until you’re 30 or 40. Take interest and action now.

I think Jonathan and I have made a lot of good choices with our money in the last few years–he’s really good about reading, researching and budgeting–but we could have been even more disciplined in application. Our generation can’t afford to be lazy when it comes to finances.

With that I should also admit that in our relationship I’ve always been the one to drag my feet about sticking to a budget. I actually convinced Jonathan to take this course because I knew it’d be the only way I might break bad habits. My sweet husband gave up his spring softball league to attend with me, and I think our marriage and future will be stronger because of the sacrifice. Thanks, my love.

If you want to see how other young couples have learned from Dave Ramsey’s course, check out the blog Word of Williams. Their money section has all sorts of great posts like Our Debt Free Story.

photo credit: 401(K) 2013 via photopin cc

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Karen Berentsen
Karen Berentsen

I see my best friend since grade school, Dianne LaBarbera, left a comment and good input. I have a feeling I know your husband's parents too because we were in college together and are all baby boomers! My husband and I attended Basic Youth Conflict Seminars in the 70's, led by Bill Gothard, long before we even met each other. When we married in our early 30's, we were both in debt but both remembered Gothard teaching Biblical principles about living debt-free. So for the first 5 1/2 years of our marriage we lived in a small cabin without running water for the first 1 1/2 years and never had indoor plumbing (Fairbanks, Alaska) and we paid off our debts! Since then we have lived debt-free except for our homes and a couple of very short-term, low interest loans to get a car when the one we had croaked. We're in our mid-60's and about to retire and are still debt-free. We have always had everything we needed...but sometimes not everything we wanted. We would do it all the same way again and over the years have shared these financial principles with anyone who was interested. I was so excited the first time I heard Dave Ramsey and am excited that GenY is hearing the same Biblical principles...which of course never go out of style. May I share one more thing we have found so exciting regarding finances? We made a commitment to tithe when we married and we have never held back and I can tell you that many months when we had extra expenses and I was sure we would run out, I had to double-check my balance with a calculator because we had enough...this has happened to us several times over the years and I call it "God-Math." God has always been faithful!


I'm so excited you're writing about your journey -- I haven't signed up for the classes, but I did redo my budget after you mentioned this before and I looked up the tips & tools on Dave Ramsey's website. I feel a lot better about letting go of the idea to buy a place in the next year, so that I can pay off my student loans more quickly. Thanks so much for sharing this! :)

Dianne LaBarbera
Dianne LaBarbera

Well written, Lesley! As I see my own adult children struggle with their finances & trying to figure out how to make it all work, I'm realizing they're not the only ones. Thanks for sharing what you & Jonathan are learning & how applicable a course like Dave Ramsey's really is.

Mark Steves
Mark Steves

Finance is such a complicated matter, dedication and knowledge are needed to be able to keep it up. Thanks for the tips, indeed, saving money is important and as possible make an investment rather than debts.


Great post! I am so glad you are taking this class and sharing it with others! Thanks for your shoutout to our blog as well! :)

Melissa @ Freeing Imperfections
Melissa @ Freeing Imperfections

I think it's awesome that you're blogging about this! Money and finances is honestly my least favorite thing in the world. I hate math, numbers, and anything to do with it. My husband does all our finances and he does them very well. I agree with it all, but as far as how I spend my own spending money? Don't even get me started on how bad it is! I'm currently working toward trying to distinguish between needs/wants and trying to save for those big "wants" instead of burning through it all so quickly. Great point, and I love Dave Ramsey!


Dave Ramsey's "Financial Peace" book is our (financial) bible. It was also the major influence for my deciding to stay home. The man is brilliant.