I remember playing in a basketball tournament. We were playing terribly. We were being beaten inside and outside. It was really a miserable experience. When the half ended, we were behind and there was little hope.
At the half, our coach told us that if we would come out with intense aggression for the first five minutes of the second half, we would have the potential to come back and win. We were very skeptical. After all, we had just been smashed for the entire first half. We were teenagers, however, so we decided to give it a try.
While it may be a surprise to some, I am a rather enthusiastic and energetic person. We went after the other team with reckless abandon. We played intensely. We played defense like it has never been played before (much better than in the NBA). After five minutes, we had thoroughly frustrated the other team. The other team’s fans were frustrated as well. We were motivated by the results of the effort that we were putting forth. In the end, we won the game and the tournament!
Managing your personal finances requires hope. If you have no hope, you will not be motivated to endure through additional tough times in order to achieve future success. This is the number one issue I see in the people I counsel. They lack hope. They believe that they will always have a house payment, always have a car payment, always be in debt, never have enough money to retire, never have enough money to send their children to school, always have to have two incomes, and on and on.
The question is – How does one restore hope? This question is very difficult to answer. I do not have a clear answer to this day, but I do know some characteristics that surround those who have hope and are sufficiently motivated to make positive improvements in their personal finances.
Top Characteristic: They have a role model. A teacher. A coach. Someone they aspire to be like. Someone that they can look to who has been where they have been and experienced what they are experiencing.
They reached a trigger point where they simply could not continue in the current direction they were headed. For some, this is when they have to take out another loan. For others, this is when they have filed bankruptcy. Still others are motivated to change when they want to become a single- income family. It is different for each of us, but when this trigger point is hit, it simply makes us seek to change.
They learned the tools necessary to win. If one has not ever used a zero-balanced budget, it can be difficult putting the first one together. If one has never invested in mutual funds, it can be a very confusing experience to start. If the checkbook has never been balanced, it can take quite a lot of effort to straighten out the mess. While it is often frustrating and time-consuming to learn these skill sets, it is a common thread among those who have made outstanding improvements in the management of their finances.
If you are without hope, I encourage you to think about those who inspire you in the way they manage their finances. Call them up and ask them if you could meet with them. Ask questions that will help you begin to win. Go to the library and get a book or three about personal finances. Look on the internet. There are tons of resources on the internet for personal finances.