When Leah and I talked last Friday, I was disappointed. She hadn't had Eric make the bank account change (she had her reason about the timing). She hadn't started writing everything down as she spent money (the old behavior -- she kept her receipts). And she hadn't moved forward on getting childcare so she could go to the financial intake session.
I'm sure she could tell I was unhappy when I said, "OK girlfriend, nothing else I can do." One of the hardest things about being an advisor (of any topic) is when people don't take your advice. But this speaks to my main point: how we handle our money is emotionally and psychologically driven. Bad math skills aren't the problem! People spend, overspend, and even horde money for reasons that, in many cases, are very deeply rooted in the wounds of childhood, or the hurts and pains of adulthood. People marry, divorce, steal, lie, and cheat about money all the time. Some people kill or beat up others over money issues. This money stuff is complicated.
Thankfully, got an email from Leah Monday night with good news. Eric finally directed his pay to a new account separating it from Leah's unemployment, and Leah started writing everything down. I also commend her on making some little changes, like not buying certain items for the holidays as she usually would, and getting a free Christmas tree from the military. So, what next? Can Leah pay their monthly bills on Eric's salary and direct all of her unemployment to debt? We shall see.