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Are you shy about your financial successes?

MMI Copywriter

By Kim McGrigg, MMI Community Manager

My husband and I just paid off our second car.


I said it.

But it wasn’t easy.

The moment we hit “send” on that final payment was really exciting for me and I thought about sending a tweet announcing our accomplishment. Then I got shy about it. While I felt like celebrating, the questions in my head kept me from sharing. Would people think I was bragging? Would I make someone facing financial difficulties feel bad? Is the information is too personal?

A lot of us grew up in households where money issues were not discussed. In fact, a 2008 survey by Golden Gateway Financial, found that half of all seniors surveyed said they had never had an in-depth conversation about their finances with their adult children and most of those don’t ever want to. The younger generation might not be doing much better. Twenty-seven percent of parents with younger children surveyed by ING Direct said that when it came time to talk to their children, they would rather talk about the birds and the bees or dating than money and finances.

This isn’t intended to be a post about the importance of talking about your financial troubles (although I think that is a very worthwhile topic for another day). Instead, this post is intended to make the argument that it is okay to share some of your financial successes.

I am not suggesting that you share every little detail about your financial situation with everyone you meet. In fact, that would be weird. But is it such a crime to tell your close friends and family members that you’ve achieved a financial goal? If you do share your financial successes, are you quick to dismiss them? I have to admit that my first draft of this post started with: "My husband and I just paid off our second car, but...."

But nothing! (Brace yourself for a pep-talk.) If you achieve a financial goal, your close friends and family should be happy for you. Maybe you just need to give them a chance. You might even inspire someone to set and keep a financial goal of their own.

As you can tell, I think people should stop celebrating financial successes in silence. Whether small (like setting up a budget), big (like paying off a debt), or in between (like starting a savings account), I, for one, would like to hear about them. In fact, I am asking people who have overcome major financial problems to share their stories. It is my hope that during the month of April (Financial Literacy Month), this blog will be filled with financial success stories. My goal is to give credit where credit is due and to inspire us all to make positive financial changes.

Do you have a financial success story? Don’t be shy! Please share it though the comments section.

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Love in the Time of Recession: Dollar-less Dates

Dating, whether you are living the single life or keeping the romance alive in a committed relationship, can cost big bucks. A typical date of dinner and a movie, for example, can cost $50 dollars or more. If you are strapped for cash in the recession, is finding love really worth the price? Smitten experts at Money Management International believe love, the kind with real worth, is free and that dollar-less dates can make it red hot. Dating in the early stages of a relationship often involves extravagant, pricey plans because daters want to make a good impression. The rule of reciprocity, detailed in psychologist Robert B. Cialdini’s book ¬Influence, says that people, by nature, want to return the favor if they receive a gift. In dating terms, if one partner dishes out for an expensive date, the other partner is likely to reciprocate with love or a promise of another date. It’s easy to be misled by society into thinking that the “gift” of a date has to come with a price tag in order to be valued. The truth is that a dollar-less date, a date that cost little more than some creativity and brain power, can be considered unique and valuable by your date.

Want to spark a red hot romance without putting your finances in the red? Use some creativity to think up free date ideas that reflect you or your date’s personality. Here are a few dollar-less dates to get you started:

  • Volunteer. Spend your time together making a difference. Offering to walk dogs at a local animal shelter will give you time to bond, plus, you’ll feel good about helping out.
  • Capture the moment. Use your imaginations to create your own digital camera shoot. Pick a theme for your snaps like romantic downtown spots or funny business signs.
  • Take a risk. Spend the day doing things you have never done before. The fun part of this challenge will be finding things that neither of you have done before that are free.
  • Be young at heart. Remember when playing outside was the most fun you could have? Recreate those days by going to a local park with a picnic lunch and a bocce ball set.
  • Go back in time. Relocate your TV and DVD player (with the help of an extension cord) to the back yard. Set blankets on the grass and watch a flick under the stars, drive-in style.

The focus early in the dating relationship should be getting to know each other, a hard thing to do in a quiet movie theater or if you are feeling self conscious in an upscale restaurant. Dollar-fewer dates are great because they can showcase your passions to your date. Give your date the gift of your authentic self and, hopefully, they will reciprocate.

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Money Management International (MMI) is a nonprofit, full-service credit counseling agency, providing confidential financial guidance, financial education, counseling and debt management assistance to consumers since 1958. MMI helps consumers trim their expenses, develop a spending plan and repay debts. Counseling is available by appointment in branch offices and 24/7 by telephone and Internet. Services are available in English or Spanish. To learn more, call
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