I consider myself a perpetual student. I love learning. I went back to school twelve years after I finished my undergraduate degree to get a Master’s degree, in large part just because I love learning. Because of that inner drive to grow and to know things, even my personal life is filled with knowledge-seeking. I read a lot– and it’s almost always non-fiction, from essays and/or instructionals written by Jiu Jitsu black belts; to learning how to understand and invest in the stock market; to understanding the mental game in athletics; to books about The Hidden Side of Everything. Another way I feel I am constantly educating myself and feeding my addiction to knowledge is by listening to the Freaknomics podcast, which I have posted about before.
Just last week, I had mentioned in my post that I am a better coach than a salesperson. Well, interestingly enough, in the time since I published that post I happened to listen to a Freaknomics podcast that hit close to home, in that regard. The podcast laid out some interesting ideas about motivation and about making the “right” decisions for ourselves.
The most difficult, heartbreaking part of my job is seeing people who need help (desperately, in some cases) who either don’t recognize it, who are in denial about it or avoiding it, or just aren’t yet willing to work at changing things. It’s tough. I think I’m a compassionate person; but I’m also a realist. I feel for your financial problems; but they will not go away on their own. They just won’t, which means that you cannot run from them. Your financial problems will chase you– and they have an endless gas tank. Your financial problems are the T-800.
This all comes to mind because I saw someone today at the credit union that I have counseled in the past. This day, he was in the process of ultimately being denied for a loan by one of our loan officers. I’d met with him only once before. At the time that we met, he shared with me plenty of reasons to make changes. He felt like he was constantly behind. He felt like he didn’t know where his money was going. We sat down and built a budget together and the numbers actually looked really good. That usually indicates a spending and/or discipline issue. We chatted about how to move forward and break the cycle. I’d like to think I gave him good information and good tools to turn things around and we talked about meeting again a month or two down the road. I never heard from him again. Instead of making another appointment, here we are, instead. He’s still in trouble, wanting to take on even more debt to try and “fix” his current problem, despite all we talked about. He already can’t seem to keep up with the monthly expenses but he now wants another monthly payment for a loan in the mix.
Honestly, I think it’s very sad. It’s the great mystery of the human race, to me: Why don’t we do right by and for ourselves like we should?
Are you saving too much money? First of all, for many folks, that seems like such a ridiculous question in the first place. Many folks aren’t saving at all and many more aren’t saving enough; but saving too much? Is that really a thing?
I absolutely think so. Saving shouldn’t just be something that you do– it should be something that you do with purpose. Like I’ve said countless times in regards to our financial lives, it’s important to have a plan. That includes how and why we are saving. Continue reading
When I was around 22 years old, I got my first credit card. It was also my last credit card for about a ten-year period after I cancelled it. You see, like many young people (or even just financially inexperienced people, regardless of their age), I got into some trouble with my credit and it scared me off of cards for many years after.
Thankfully, I didn’t even get into real serious trouble– but it was scary, all the same. I had bought a computer and put it on my new card, not really understanding how the card worked (so I found out), and by the time my first monthly payment came along (which was a higher amount than I could afford), my parents were quickly bailing me out of my trouble and I was swearing off of credit cards forever. Now, I had thought I understood how my shiny new card worked at the time– but it turned out that I very clearly didn’t. So this post is all about the things I wish I had known about credit cards before I ever got one.