Ready to Leave the Nest? Ask Yourself These 4 Questions First
- Friday, June 14, 2013
If you are still living with your parents, but plan to leave the nest soon, you should be thinking about your financial future. Living under Mom and Dad’s wings might give you financial freedom now that you won’t have once burdened with monthly rent, utilities and other bills. Before you opt to lave the nest, ask yourself if you are ready to handle the tough financial situations that may arise when living somewhere other than under your parents’ roof. Start with these four questions
Do I have enough saved up to cover my worst-case scenario? Do a little pre-planning. Think about your personal worse case financial scenario, whether it is losing your current job, being forced to cut your hours, or needing to urgently purchase a plane ticket across the country to visit a parent. Be sure to have enough “back-up” money in your savings account to cover that emergency. Knowing your personal worst-case financial situation and thinking ahead about how you will react can ultimately save a headache, or even financial debt, down the road.
Do I even know how much this will cost? Do your homework before deciding to leave the nest. Consider using a budgeting tool to track what you are spending now so you’ll know how much money you have to spend on rent, food, and utilities once you move out. Don’t forget to ask around, too. Your parents and others in your life should answer cost questions honestly, so you can grasp what it takes to live on your own.
Am I ready to discipline my habits and myself? As Proverbs 19:20 says, Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Discipline your spending habits by carefully comparing your income with the bills you must pay and the essentials you must purchase. There are several free, online budgeting tools to track your spending. The more disciplined you are from the beginning, the easier it will be to stick with your good habits in the future.
- Do I know what God says about money? Bottom line, the Lord wants us to be content, while free from the love of money. As Hebrews 13:5 says, God has said “Never will I leave you: never will I forsake you.” God calls us to be good stewards of the money he has provided by growing it appropriately and using it to advance his kingdom.
And parents, you are called to train your child in “the way he should go, so when he is old he will not depart from it,” according to Proverbs 22:6. So parents, ask yourselves this question as your child prepares to leave the nest: Have I done my part to prepare my child to live on his or her own? There are many ways in which you can help him or her prepare, even if the move out date is quickly approaching. Try explaining how you manage your bills and suggest ways in which they could organize their money. Another idea is to try “pretend play,” or having your adult child pay rent and bills so they can experience the cost hands on. Perhaps at the end of the mock experience, if it’s feasible given your financial situation, give your child the money paid as an unexpected surprise to help start them off on the right foot at their new place.
When Paul was providing counsel to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:17 he said, “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” Practice discipline when it comes to keeping your finances in check—and above all, place your hope in God, our provider.
Steve Smith is the Chief Executive Officer of Mvelopes and Money4Life Coaching, as well as the author of Money for Life: Successful Money Management and Financial Fitness in Just 12 Weeks! and the Money for Life Success Planner: A 12-Week Companion to Achieve Financial Fitness. He has strong strategic and tactical business skills and combines them with a passion to develop products and services that make a positive difference in people’s lives.
Publication date: June 14, 2013
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