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
It’s very nearly July 4th, when proud, patriotic, red-blooded Americans everywhere celebrate our nation’s independence by blowing stuff up. I read an interesting article recently that talked about the tradition behind fireworks; how John Adams decreed that we should celebrate with “with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”
Independence, for John Adams, was worth celebrating, over and over until the end of time. I can understand why. I think you’d have a hard time finding anyone who has experienced freedom who doesn’t love it. It’s worth having a party over. Independence is awesome, whether it is independence from being ruled over, from being oppressed, or whether it’s simply having independence of thought and action. The human spirit longs for freedom; and often, freedom is won by fighting for it, which is evident in the countless wars (including the American Revolution) that have been fought since the beginning of time in order to wrest freedom from an oppressor. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”
Now, what does this all have to do with our finances?