Financial Journey

Dear Dr. Per Cap:

My spouse and I are trying to get our finances in order, but he’s impatient and complains it’s taking too long. How can I help him see the forest for the trees?


The Patient One

Dear Patient One,

Many people grow impatient when dealing with personal finances. And contrary to what some of the “financial gurus” on YouTube claim, some money challenges take time to fix.

Paying off debt, saving for a big down payment, or raising a low credit score can often take months or years to accomplish. Remember that most financial setbacks don’t happen overnight, so it’s unrealistic to think they can be resolved in a snap.

The secret lies in a person’s attitude. Nearly any worthwhile endeavor that improves a person’s life will take time. Earning an education, getting into shape, or learning a new skill are all goals that require a significant investment of not only effort, but also time.

Here’s what your spouse needs to understand. Life is a journey, not a destination. Half the fun of achieving a challenging goal is how the process transforms you. Every day you learn more about yourself as you grow and gain a firmer understanding of what you’re seeking to accomplish and why.

Think of what it takes to learn to play a sport or a musical instrument. What makes those skills so special is that not everyone has them and that it requires effort to acquire them.

Managing money is a skill, too, and one that offers just as many opportunities for self-reflection and growth. Please encourage your spouse to think of financial wellness as a journey, as opposed to just a means to an end. As you both keep plugging away, you’ll only become more committed and enthused as your finances improve. Then one day you’ll wake up and find yourself right where you want to be.

Today, the goal might be to save $500. In a few months, you’re working toward $2,500. Then it’s $5,000. Each one of those goals is meaningful and significant when perceived in the right frame of mind.

Best of luck!

Ask Dr. Per Cap is a program funded by First Nations Development Institute with assistance from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. For more information, visit To send a question to Dr. Per Cap, email