Repetitive Financial Failures

Have you ever known someone whose life seemed to always be be in financial turmoil, BUT there really was no reason for it to be that way?

After all, they appear to have everything necessary to succeed financially.

They have:

  • Education
  • Good-paying job
  • A good marriage
  • Great personality
  • Lots of friends

But they are completely B-R-O-K-E.   Every single paycheck is immediately handed over to the lenders.   They’ve declared bankruptcy once, and it appears that they feel like a second one wouldn’t be too bad.   Every little bit of extra money is immediately spent on stuff that has zero value (or soon will have no value).

As the leader of an organization on a crusade to help people accomplish far more than they ever thought possible with their personal finances, this can be extremely frustrating.   We KNOW that everyone can win with their money.   We KNOW that it is possible for everyone to prosper.   Yet, it appears that some people choose poverty.

Surely you know somebody (somebodies) that lives this way.

I want your help understanding this behavior. Can you leave a comment below sharing the reasons you believe some people choose to live this way?

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  1. Shawn Martin on April 12, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    I got a couple thoughts. 1. That’s how I was raised. If we needed new clothes get the plastic. Need gas, pull the plastic, need a new washing machine, want a 4 wheeler, a new tv, whatever it was it was financed.
    2. When I got married and moved out, I wanted everything my parents had accumulated over many years in a couple years. How do you do it? Pull the plastic baby. It’s easy! Then ops! This ones full. Guess what? Let’s get another one!!! Hurray for stupidity!!!
    3. Keeping up with the Joneses. Wait, not keeping up, we gotta beat them and have more stuff than they do and it has to be nicer.
    This is just part of my story but has some points to it. We’ve been married for 17 years April 30th and still are broke. But I just finished reading your book last month and I’m on my way to freedom. God doesn’t want me to live like this. Thanks for going on a crusade to help dumb people like us!!!

  2. Ginny on April 12, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    I think for some people is the lack of saving. They would rather spend the money than save it. My ex husband was this way…spend, spend, spend. Never give, never save. Then when something would come up, we would have to charge it or use grocery money on it…meaning then we had to charge our groceries. After having a child, it got worse. Less money to spend, but he refused to give up his lifestyle. More charging. It got to the point we had $176 dirt bike payment each month for a bike he never rode but would not sell, yet we couldn’t put food on the table and diapers on our baby without charging. To make it worse, my ex boss had offered us an investing deal (a man I trusted and was very accomplished). It was such a tight spot and we wanted so bad for things to get better, we made the deal. Huge mistake. He took the money we did have and ran with it (he did some other terrible things to try to control me to keep me from speaking up). It was a very frustrating time for me and one for which I am still paying the consequences and my baby will turn 5 next month. Luckily, now I am married to a man who works with me to fix the problems. I am so relieved! I was a single parent for a while and was able to keep from adding to the debt but not able to get out from under it. I love him and together we are working through it all and it gets better all the time. I look at the progress from each year since the divorce and each month since our marriage. God is so awesome with the ways He has worked it all out. It still amazes me how he picked me up, dusted me off, and is showing me how to do this His way! And it just keeps getting better! Thank you God!

  3. Ginny on April 12, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    I guess I should have added, that from the outside looking in. A lot of people thought we had it all together. It just wasn’t true.

  4. Karen C. on April 12, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Most persons who find themselves in this situation lack self-control (temperance) which is a fruit of the Spirit. When temperance is a part of one’s daily routine, delayed gratification for the ultimate goal of living debt free becomes a priority.

  5. Sean on April 12, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    I believe the problem starts when we are young. If you are fortunate enough to have parents that teach you well then you have a better than average chance of doing it right. Most high schools teach you nothing about personal finance. College is even worse. We set our children up to fail by not teaching them about money along with everything else. We have started telling our 3 year old how groceries are bought and the clothes he wears. We talk to him about saving….for him its the recycled cans and he puts the money in his “jar”. Its a small step, but one I wish I had known growing up. Teach your children to not make the mistakes you may have made.

  6. Nikki on April 13, 2011 at 4:02 am

    I believe for some people its Depression. When they buy something it help them feel better for a moment. Then they could possibly feel guilty about it which causes them to feel more depressed which starts the cycle all over again. There is a movie call Confessions of a Shopoholic. Its a Really great movie to watch. It really gives an inside loom of the emotional struggle that someone with an addiction to shopping goes thru. Yes, its Hollywood, but still it really makes you think. Also, when your in debt sometimes you may feel like: “Screw it I’m already in debt what difference does it make now”. Only with Gods help can someone make it out of that dark place where they feel out of control.
    I understand we make our choices and stuff but, I also feel that if we truly have an addiction or chemical imbalance then it makes a difference on how we think. God,Professional Help,Medication and True Friends are the only things that will help.

  7. Lisa on April 13, 2011 at 5:15 am

    I think for most, it may be the lack of understanding HOW to manage their finances. For me, my parents did not show me how to manage money wisely. As simple as a budget is to me now, thanks to your book, I had no idea how to set one up when I was starting out. One bad decision after another led to an over abundance of debt and then began the scenario of “robbing Peter to pay Paul”. Numerous attempts to “create a budget” would end in disaster when an unexpected expense would arise. Thankfully, many years later, I have managed to create a budget that we can stick to. I also started out teaching my kids how to set up a budget and how to manage their finances, so they will have the opportunity to start out their life in a more positive way.

  8. Lacey on April 13, 2011 at 6:12 am

    I have a dear friend who you have just described! And as someone who is proud to be debt free (except for my home) it makes me very sad to see her make the choices that she does. She truly believes that the “next thing” will rescue her. When her first child went from expensive preschool to free public school, their lives would be better….not true. When her taxes come back, things will be less tight…. didnt happen. When she got a raise at work (that came with MUCH more work stress) that would let them pay off one of the four loans they have on their house… that still hasnt happened! It breaks my heart!!

  9. Phillip on April 13, 2011 at 6:16 am

    I know in my situation it has a lot to do with not being able to say no. It’s not being able to say no to eating out one last time, or to that one little snack, or that new this, or new that. Totally a lack of self control, but that is something that I am now learning comes from discipline… and discipline is not something people are born with.

    So learning to say no to the things that really don’t matter, and yes to the things that are essential is of utmost importance. Actually, another problem is actually being able to tell the difference between wants and needs. Yes we need food, but no we don’t need McDondalds. Or, yes we need clothes, but we don’t need the most expensive brand.

  10. Sharon on April 13, 2011 at 9:03 am

    If the person in question is a female – shoes.

  11. Mark on April 13, 2011 at 9:09 am

    I could ditto several of the problems listed in the above comments – great comments everyone. Couple those things with an overconfident perception that I would be able to fix it all by working harder and that was my recipe for disaster. When I was tapped out of hours in a day to work more I realized I had lost control. After almost losing everything my wife and I are almost debt free except for the house and I thank God every single day! There is so much to learn from life’s experiences and use it to help others.

  12. Ann on April 13, 2011 at 11:04 am

    I think sometimes it’s parenting, but not always. My sister (the spender) and I (the saver) have totally different spending/saving personalities and we were raised by the same parents. Unfortunately, she also married a spender and they live paycheck to paycheck. It is so frustrating to know that they have a great income, but nothing to show for it. They can’t live without cable and DVR and the latest gadgets that have to have internet access on all 4 cell phones and internet access in the house. Not to mention 2 i-pads, 4 laptops, 2 i-phones, who knows how many i-pods. There 5 year old has an i-pod! This is a will power, let’s keep up with the “Jones” problem. Not to mention my brother in law’s theory on retirement is that Christ is returning soon, so he won’t be around to see retirement. Oh, I could go on and on…

  13. Sherry on April 13, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Many people of this world define themselves materialistically; they have to keep up with “the Jone’s” in every aspect. They live above their means and try to financially fit in; not realizing that one natural disaster stripping us all bare will put us all on the same playing field! These people are extremely shallow and vain and truly pursuing happiness in all the wrong places; and they keep going through revolving doors of debt! I can only remark this because I must confess I have been there before my salvation!!

  14. mary on April 13, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    I think our society and materialism does not help. People get caught up in keeping up with the Jones and living beyond our means. The instant gratification of purchasing things that fill up a life with fluff! We tend to compare ourselves to friends and peers and people we look up to, but do not realize that they might be drowning in debt too, just to have the things they have. I am seeing a trend though where we are that is reversing and realizing that stuff is not gratifing. We need to get to the place where out of debt is the norm and the desired place to be.

  15. Tim Karr on April 13, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    After sitting down and listening to many people, I have formed an opinion on why people behave this way. It is simple. It is the American Way! Live on debt! I asked a pastor at a former church why everyone in the church was in debt so much debt? He responded with “It is the American Way”.

    Well, I must not be American. The normal is broke and I want to be ‘Abby Normal’ (Young Frankenstien).

    I was asked once after buying a $16,000 Ford Escape how much my payment was? I responded: “I paid cash for it”. They thought I was insane! After all, everyone has a car payment.

    Debt is a very bad disease that must be erraticated and the only way it can be is with financial discipline and continuouse education.

    Sorry for rambling……. Tim Karr

  16. Andrew on April 14, 2011 at 11:05 am

    I know a few folks like that in my life…they can’t pull their head above the waterline to save their life. Its frustrating, because they are my wife’s family. However, I believe that a good chunk of the problem is how you are raised. When I was growing up, we were poor. My folks did use credit cards, but not because they needed to have the coolest “stuff”. Dude, we didn’t have anything cool. Thankfully, my folks did model giving to the kingdom of God for us, and as a result, my wife and I are tithers and we give every month over and above our tithe. And God continues to bless us in return. I am proud to say that my folks are now debt free (except the house) and live well within their means, and still get to experience life and a very healthy marriage. They had a pretty big grocery bill raising us 3 boys growing up, that was probably the most expensive thing they bought! And wouldn’t you know it, now that we’re all grown and out of the house, they’re debt free.

  17. Karen on April 18, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Some people believe that….there will always be a car payment so why not trade in every year, no one actually ever pays a car off while it is still actually running. Same goes for appliances, furniture, clothes, Christmas, vacations and of course the house. So why not enjoy new things and enjoy life, realizing and accepting the fact that you will always have debt! This person was my husband for 25 years. BUT…NOT any longer. Thank the Lord, we are now debt free accept for the house and we are going after it next. God used you, Joe, to get through to my husband, and I am so very grateful!! It can be done, even after so many years of living in the hole 🙂 Thanks Joe

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