Archive for June 2006

What keeps us from changing?

Human feelings amaze me. It drives much of our behavior. It appears clear to me that children (certainly my child) do not contain the relationship between their feelings and behavior.

“I am hungry” = “WAAAAHHHH”
“I am sitting in stinky doo” = “WAAAAHHHH”

Even 5 and 6 year olds struggle to contain any of the relationship between feelings and behavior.

“I am hungry” = “Mooommm. (very whiny) What’s for dinner? … I WANT IT NOW!!!”
“I am tired” = Fierce rubbing of the eyes, whining, crying, and immense stubborn behavior

As we grow up, we are constantly being bombarded with “Helpful” ways to contain the relationship between our feelings and behavior.

Depression = Think happy thoughts or take medicine or exercise
Fear = Just do it!
Even if it feels good, it may be bad for you = “Deny yourself”

I am sure that there are many more, but I want to focus on FEAR.

There are many people that I have observed that are in severely poor financial condition. It has been brought on by many bad financial decisions. They go through the 13 week personal finance course that I coordinate. In many cases, I have even personally counseled them. They know the feelings they are having “Fear” of 1) what others may think 2) that they might have to change their behavior.

I find that FEAR paralyzes. Even in HORRIBLE situations, fear can paralyze. It is much like the extremely young child. Fear completely paralyzes them.

Let me illustrate …

My daughter was recently crying and begging to talk to me. She had been told by a cousin of the same age that there are monsters that just pop up in front of you. In my daughter’s words, “It freaks me out, Dad! I don’t like it! I’m scared!”

There it is – Fear. It paralyzes.

It paralyzes children. It paralyzes persons in horrible financial conditions.

Only until you bring under control your FEAR of the situation will you be able to make positive change. I am not saying that you will eliminate your fear. I am saying you should bring it under control.

What do you need to do?

I have to ask it again …

Is it worth it?

I had a person express to me the importance of them receiving a paycheck because they are living paycheck to paycheck.

This individual has been working over 20 years and is still living paycheck to paycheck.

WOW!

Is everything they have purchased with their money been worth living paycheck to paycheck for 20 years? Balancing each week to pay the bills without bouncing a check?

OUCH!

If you keep doing what you are currently doing, are you going to look back in 20 years and still be living paycheck to paycheck? 10 years from now? 5 years from now? 1 year from now?

Really?

You see, I believe that for more than 95% of Americans the issue is NOT income. It is OUTGO! I believe that you can change your financial future. I believe that I can NOT change your financial future. You will change your financial future only when you have committed yourself 100% to the goal of living beyond the life of “paycheck-to-paycheck”.

I can help teach you. I can help educate you. I can plead with you. Your spouse can beg you. Only you can do it!

Personal Finances Made Simple

Personal finances made simple …

INCOME – OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO

Spend less than you make.

Save for a rainy day.

Learn how to tell yourself, “NO!”

Do not sign up for any more debt starting TODAY!

Ask yourself the question, “Is this really worth it?”

Work TOGETHER with your spouse.

GIVE plenty of money away.

Stop caring about what others may think.

Spend cash for all of your purchases.

Always ask for a better deal.

Seek counsel from others who are financially successful.

PRAY!

How old are you and what do you do?

I was asked the following questions yesterday after teaching a budgeting class:

“How old are you?” and “What do you do for a living?”

From the tone, it was more like – “What qualifies you to teach me about finances?”

I have a question – does age and my full-time career matter? Possibly. However, I believe that what matters most is the answer to this question – “How are you doing financially by using these financial principles?”

If you want to lose a bunch of weight – are you going to seek advice from someone who is really heavy? NO! You are going to speak to someone who has lost a bunch of weight and kept it off.

When I was preparing for my marathon, do you think I sought out persons who were outstanding weight-lifters? NO! I sought out persons who had completed marathons and finished well.

When I sought out financial advice, it was from someone who practices what he teaches – Dave Ramsey. Dave has a set of financial principles that he abides by every single day that simply resonate with Jenn and I. As Dave has stated repeatedly, he did not invent any of these financial principles – they are what God and Grandma say about money. Hard principles like – “save money for a rainy day” and “spend less than you make” and “learn how to tell yourself NO!!”

I also speak to acquaintances and friends who are also doing well financially – not because they earn incredible amounts of money, but because they manage what they do earn very well.

The answers to the questions: I’m 32, I work in manufacturing, and “I Was Broke. Now, I’m Not!”

Make it equal ZERO!

INCOME – OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO!!!!

Have you gotten this figured out yet? If you do not make your money obey this extremely simple formula, you will always be broke. Money will always run from you and not to you.

You can do it! Remember that OUTGO includes items like saving, giving, blow-it funds, and vacation funds. When you reach the point that your finances follow this formula, you will start to see financial success that you have never been able to enjoy!

The monthly budgeting session has become THE TIME that Jenn and I use to discuss our future plans. What are we saving for? Why are we saving for it? Where are we headed short-term? Long-term? What are the mid-stream corrections we need to make to ensure that we get where we want to go?

We just completed our budget. Guess what it equals? EXACTLY ZERO!!! It took about 30 minutes to complete. It works very well. Why? Because we agreed long ago to make it a priority, we agreed to follow the budget as it is written, and we both know why we are doing it.

I love budgeting!!! Go ahead and say it – I am a NERD!!! But as the title of my page states: “I was broke. Now, I’m not!!!”