Last night was the last in a series of nine money management classes that my husband and I co-facilitated. I felt a bit awkward, doing the class. I mean, here we were sharing a process that has so radically changed how we handle money and yet, oh dear, what if everyone thinks the whole thing is stupid?
No one said that, of course. They were much too polite.
But the situation is kind of rough. Basically, you take a group of people, people who are fairly comfortable and confident with how they’ve been handling money (because, Hello, we aren’t walking around naked and starving, are we?) but yet are willing to shell out $93 because they want to improve. You spend the next nine weeks showing them how they are doing everything all wrong and then try to get them to change their habits by telling them they must do lots of super-hard work. To top off the whole sorry mess, the lead (and very gifted) teacher is opinionated, sports spotty theology (by my standards), and often rubs people the wrong way. Plus, in recent months he’s gotten in legal and ethical trouble—clearly, the guy is no saint. And yet I still want people to spend nine hours watching him prance back and forth on a fancy stage and then do what he says because, dagnabbit, it works.
Like I said, AWKWARD.
(Also, I am so not a good salesperson, what with my freakish tendency to flaunt the underbelly and all. “Oo-oh! Agony, turmoil, irritation, stress, and despair can all be yours for a small fee of just ninety-three dollars! Sign up now!” This is me selling the class. Someone shut me up.)
In last night’s meeting, I asked the group how they have changed as a result of the class. Answers included:
“My wife and I are more on the same page than ever before.”
“I’m paying more attention.”
“I’m no longer afraid of money.”
“I’m tightening things up.”
“I want my kids to learn this.”
One guy said that he’s feeling both better and worse. Better because he feels like he has a more complete understanding of their financial situation for the first time ever, and worse because, well, the financial situation.
And then I told them (yet again) that it may take another 18 months (at least) of steady chipping away (i.e. making a monthly zero-based budget, attacking debt, etc) before they will start to see any notable difference. And even then, there might not be much! Discouragement will probably continue to be the predominant feeling for a good while. But also! There will be the pride that comes from tackling a difficult job head on, and, if married, the satisfaction that comes from team work! (Actually, I didn’t say that part about pride and team work last night, but I wish I had. Because it’s true.)
We’ll be hosting another class this spring, and our youth pastor will be teaching a junior level of this stuff to our youth group. If you’re interested in the adult class (final dates TBA), let me know.
Your Guide To Misery and … (fingers crossed!) Beyond!