Changing the way we handle our finances can be hard. Often times it involves a complete 180 in our lifestyle. We have to say no to things we normally would give into. It involves sacrificing some of the little things we enjoy so we can be more successful in the long run.
Doing it alone makes it even more difficult. That’s why it’s so important to find an accountability partner. An accountability partner is someone you have to look in the eye and confess when you strayed from your budget, or made a financial decision that doesn’t fit your plan.
So who should you partner up with? This may help.
If You’re Married, Use Your Spouse
This one may seem like a given, but for my married friends, your spouse is your accountability partner. Remember when you said those vows? You promised to love and support each other no matter what. This is where you can step up in a big way.
Talk to each other about your financial goals. What are you hoping to accomplish down the road? What are some things you dream of doing that you can’t afford now? This will give you a finish line to start moving toward.
Be sure to have a monthly budget. This will serve as your contract for the month. You are promising each other that you will only spend what is on the budget. Agree that if one of you strays from the budget, it is the spouses job to call them on it (in a loving way).
What If You’re Single?
So you don’t have a spouse to hold you to the fire. What can you do? You have a few options.
Think of some people in your life that you can go to for support. It can be a close friend, a family member, or a mentor of some kind. Take them out for coffee and tell them what your financial goals are and ask if they’ll keep you accountable to them.
Whenever you make a financial blunder, you will have to be honest and confess it to this person. Messing up is one thing; having to tell it to someone you respect makes it even worse. This notion alone is often times enough to keep us on track.
What should my accountability partner look like?
They Should Be Equally or More Motivated
You want someone that is motivated in life. I wouldn’t turn to your buddy that’s still living at home with no intention of moving out. Find someone that wants to succeed and thrives on helping others succeed too.
What would be even better is finding someone that is on the same financial road as you. How does your accountability partner feel about debt? Are they saving money or living paycheck to paycheck? This could be an opportunity for you both to help each other. They may need someone that will hold them accountable as well.
They Should Be Honest
Obviously honesty is important. But I’m not talking about “turning in a lost wallet” honesty. You want someone that will tell you that you screwed up.
Ask yourself, “If I had spinach in my teeth, would this person tell me?” If they would, then they obviously care about your well-being! They’re not afraid to tell it like it is.
All joking aside, you want your accountability partner to be someone that will probe and ask questions whenever you make a mistake financially. If they just tell you, “That’s okay, don’t worry about it,” you won’t grow from your mistakes.
They Should Be Willing to Make Time for You
Your partner doesn’t need to set aside an hour a day to talk to you, but make sure they are able to meet at least once a month for coffee. If you don’t schedule it out ahead of time, you’ll find yourself missing meetings and losing that accountability.
Meeting over the phone is okay once in a while, but looking them in the eye is important. Try and schedule times where you can meet face-to-face. Since this is someone you are close to, I’m sure they’ll be happy to get together regularly.
Taking control of our finances is hard. Don’t go it alone. Make a list today of possible accountability partners. It could be a family member, a friend, a teacher, a coach, or a mentor. Whoever you choose, call them today and schedule that first meeting.
Feel like you need some advice and accountability from an expert? I’d be happy to help. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about how I can help you!