Ring by Spring

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What is your (financial) plan?

We have a moral and financial duty as Catholics to make decisions that set ourselves (and others) up for success both spiritually and temporally. Marriage is a beautiful vocation, but it needs to be approached with a proper mindset of self-awareness and maturity, both financially and spiritually.

I am not a perfect person. I mean no offense to anyone with this article and I cede that there are exceptions to the points I will make. The point I try to bring to light with this article is that rushing into marriage, whether it be ring by spring or post-college, can bear financial consequences.

Getting married and having a family is a dream I’m sure most of us have. As a Catholic, I firmly believe that God, if it be in His Will, will bring each of us to that point in due time. Even if we are brought to that point, we as humans have free will, so we have choices to make in our lives. Some choices need to be approached very cautiously.

Before getting married, you need to ask yourself, “Once I tie the knot, will I have the capabilities to not only set up myself and my spouse for success, but also my future children?” In an economy which has fluctuated tremendously, there’s an urgent need for an increase in financial literacy.

If you’re financially literate, know what you’re doing and have a job lined up, then go get that ring. But if you have massive debt (student loans, etc.), don’t have a job lined up or have a job that won’t pay much, then I would be more cautious.

As Catholics, we have an obligation to be financially literate. The language of money seems to have become a lost art in today’s day and age. You need to set your family up for success, not for failure. To attain this success requires a healthy balance of financial stability without compromising the prominence and importance of your faith.

Again, one’s faith should always be at the top of the priorities list. One professor who helped reveal to me the importance of both Catholicism and financial literacy was business professor Dr. Jim Hamilton. A humble man and devout Catholic, Dr. Hamilton has become a role model for me. The financial success he has had as a businessman along with the care and devotion he has shown to both his Catholic faith and his family is incredible and extremely admirable.

Everything I have said so far begs the question: if Heaven is the end goal for us all, why does any of this matter? In short, we all have a vocation. If our vocations are to be fulfilled and if our college educations are to be put to any use after graduation, we first need to have a strong financial foundation.

Passive investing is one such way to lay this foundation. Having a secondary (passive) income on top of one’s active salary would allow for more financial ease and less burden, especially if a large family is desired. Regardless of whether you are a devout Catholic or a hardline atheist, financial problems will arise, so knowledge of how to navigate through these problems is necessary.

What are three practical ways to become financially literate? Primarily, have humility. I will admit that at times, I can be super prideful and stubborn. However, those faults have taught me that to grow, I first need to have the humility to admit that I don’t know everything.

Secondly, do personal research. Everyone should read “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. The book brings to light the real world of personal finance and economics, while teaching beneficial, real life lessons. Lastly, converse with those who have gone through these situations before. There’s no shame in seeking help and guidance. In short, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t get married. I think marriage is a beautiful vocation. Instead, what I’m saying is that both a financial conversation with your future spouse and a financial plan for your future family are essential to a strong, successful and holy marriage. Have those conversations now before your marriage.

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