I started equestrian lessons about 3 years ago because I love horses and had dreamed of doing this most of my life. Aside from landing in the dust a couple of times, and being stuck on a stubborn horse facing into the corner of the barn, I also learned about some more bad money behaviors.
They’re being shared with you, so that none of you fall into the same trap. The father of a young woman at the barn lost his job. His salary was 7 figures. She had her own horse, received lessons, and also went to private school. The very same month this man lost his job, the family stopped the lessons, sold the horse, and yanked the young woman out of her school.
If Only I Made a Million I’d be Rich…
You would think that anyone reaching 7 figures in income would actually have a sizable emergency fund as well as long term savings. Apparently not. Without knowing much about the family, my guess is that they were busy keeping up with the neighbors in terms of home size, new cars, vacations, clothing, etc. You get the idea. It seems that instant gratification might have been front and center, without thought to longer term implications.
Let’s talk about the daughter for a second and the potential life time affects of this event. The bond between a young woman and her horse is usually exceptional. Riding strengthens and empowers young women. They and the horse become true partners – trusting each other. Imagine the heart break when she had to see her horse go. In addition to this loss, she would feel the embarrassment of leaving her friends and school. She would lose her support network at a time when she needed it most.
Your Ego or Your Security?
So what is more important? Boasting rights at the next neighborhood gathering, or ensuring your family is protected not only today, but if the gravy train stops? We all deserve a reward some time – a new outfit, a pair of really glam shoes, a new car to replace your clunker. But spending behaviors need to be managed. They should be defined by your family’s needs first, not your ego. These days you probably want an emergency fund of 6 months worth of expenses before you even think about having disposable income to play with.
You have to wonder what the young daughter will remember years from now. All the outfits her parents bought her or losing her horse and friends in one month.
Carrie Rattle is a Principal at BehavioralCents.com, a web site for women focused on the psychology of money behaviors. She has worked in the financial services industry for 20+ years and hopes to inspire women to better prepare themselves for financial independence.