Recently Lance Armstrong, the seven time winner of the Tour de France cycling road race, confessed to doping through his career as a cyclist. I admit I have not watched the interview with Oprah Winfrey, I do not follow cycling as a sport and I only know Lance Armstrong through the headlines I have seen through the news media over the years. For some reason, he had become sort of a hero to me, a man that had overcome cancer and defied death to go on to achievements that had never been done before. So I couldn’t help pondering, why did he do it? Lance Armstrong had been a successful athlete as a teenager and into his twenties. When did he decide he needed to cheat to win?
I have often quoted from Luis Palau’s book “Heart after God”, where he writes “Nobody gets fat overnight. Immorality begins with tiny things, little things. Yet if you don’t crucify them, if you don’t bring them to judgment, if you don’t face up to them for what they are, sin, they can destroy you. They can blur your moral judgment at a critical irreversible junction in your life. No one sees the little flaws, but everyone sees the big collapse”.
It seems so obvious to us when we hear of a fall from grace like the one we have recently heard from Lance Armstrong, where he went wrong. He was cheating, over and over and over again and lied about it. It is so clear that this was wrong, and yet somewhere he made that first justification for cheating and started the spiral downward. So what does this have to do with your money?
In recent years I have met a number of men and women who are operating the same way with their money. I have met with couples who keep their money separate to keep the peace, only to find that one of them is adding debt to the household and endangering the family finances. Women have said to me, they need to spend beyond what they make because they have wealthy friends to keep up with. There are stories of widows who are surprised by the state of their family’s finances when their spouse dies. Their financial matters were not what they had assumed and they had been left in financial hardship.
So how do you not become the “Lance Armstrong” of your money? Accountability, be accountable to at least one other person for your money. It can be useful for couples to separate expenses or have one person manage the money to share the chores of the household, but they still need to be accountable to the other spouse. It also may be useful to have a third party help when you can’t find agreement as a couple. Recognize that it is not unusual for each of us to have very different views of money and finding agreement as a couple can be challenging.
If you are single, find a close friend, a family member or a financial advisor to keep you on track, to question you when you are going astray. It only takes one small little indiscretion to set you on a path that God never intended.
Kristi L. Andersen is the principal of Kristi L. Financial Partners, LLC. (www.KristiLAndersen.com) Securities offered through and Registered Representative of Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. Some Advisory services offered through AdvisorNet Financial. Cetera is under separate ownership from any other named entity.