Angela K. Love
Personal + Business Finance Consultant

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Are You in Drive-by, Destination, or Dweller Mode with Your Finances?

The recent cold and snowy weather has made it difficult for our daughter to drive herself to school and work, causing my hubby and me to drop her off and pick her up.  Earlier this week, we decided to run a couple of errands together and pick up our daughter from work.  While waiting for her to finish her shift, we began to ponder how people deal with their finances or money management.

Our discussion filled my mind in the wee hours of the morning.  Yes, I sometimes lose sleep thinking about blog topics.  My thoughts led me to realize people approach their finances as either a drive-by, a destination, or a dwelling. 

When in the drive-by mode, a person will slow down long enough to pay bills and check an account balance.  Or, they may notice their bank account level(s) when they pay their bills each month.   Generally, they don’t have a good understanding of finances and are scared to deal with their money.  Their fear results in a distant relationship with their financial situation.  Many times, these individuals do not know their bank account balance and may overdraw their account.  When a loan is needed, or finances become a disaster, a person goes into destination mode.

Destination money-management occurs when a person wants a loan or is having financial trouble.  They stop in and stay awhile, getting their finances in order and managing them in the short-term.  Once things are fixed, or a loan is obtained, they return to drive-by status.  This scenario may occur several times before a person seeks out financial knowledge.  As their financial knowledge grows, they become more comfortable and move toward dwelling with their finances. 

Dwellers may love managing money, or they may tolerate dwelling with their finances because they want to achieve a list of goals.  Dwellers create budgets, following them as best they can.  If they make a mistake, they continue moving forward, tweaking their approach.  They usually know the exact dollar amount in their bank accounts or how much they owe on loans without looking it up.  Money decisions are intentional every day.  A person’s knowledge level and organization are key components to successfully dwelling with one’s finances. 

The goal is to become a dweller, which requires intention.  Intention to learn about finance and money management, intention to build a workable budget, intention to become and remain consistent, and intention to grow from failures and continue moving forward. 

Life and family responsibilities make it difficult to remain focused or intentional about managing money.  Many people never move beyond being a drive-by observer.  However, as financial responsibilities increase, many people and couples reside somewhere between destination and dwelling. 

Couples who are unmatched in managing finances deal with a greater degree of financial stress.  For example, one person may be in drive-by mode while the other is in destination mode.  Conflicts over money issues occur when the focus is divided.  Also, if both partners in the relationship are both in drive-by mode, the money situation may be in dire circumstances.  Some literature states the leading cause of stress in relationships is money.  Michael Korezky of Debt.com cites interesting data from three studies in his article  Money is Why Your Marriage Will Fail.  The data in the studies state some interesting facts. 

¨      70% of married couples stated they would reconsider their relationship if they discovered their partner had more than $5,000 in secret debt.

¨      63% of people surveyed stated their significant other overspends.

¨      40% of couples do not know how much their partner makes.

¨      20% of those surveyed who are in a committed relationship stated they have secret debt. 

¨      7% of Baby Boomers, 15% of Gen-Xers, and 36% of Millennials fight about money a minimum of once a week. 

Money and how to manage it is a difficult conversation in relationships; however, learning to be dweller with finances is difficult for everyone regardless of relationship status.  What mode are you in with your finances . . .  drive-by, destination, or dweller?  If you are not in the mode you desire, now is a good time to take steps to change.