Why Are You In Debt? (Part 4)

If you haven’t seen yourself in the questions asked so far, it may be that you’ll find yourself in these questions:

Have you educated yourself about money?
It’s easy to make mistakes with your money when you don’t know the money rules to follow. For while the most basic money rules are dead easy:

Don’t spend more money than you make,
Save something,
Pay off your debt, and
Mitigate your risks
Everything else gets very complicated.

Not knowing, for example, that carrying even one dollar as a balance on your credit card means everything you’ve charged is racking up interest is one way to fall into a debt trap. Not recognizing that any credit is an invitation to debt – so, no, a line of credit cannot be your emergency fund – is another way to get trapped. And assuming that those “in the know” – like lenders who are offering you a pre-approved mortgage – have your best interest at heart is naïve and will lead to no good.

No matter where you are now, you can learn how money works and how to use it to your advantage. And no matter where you’ve come from socially, economically, geographically, you can have what you want if you can figure it out, and if you’re prepared to bust your butt.

Do you have a money-sucking habit? If you are wasting money on things that add no value to your life, you can stop. It may not be easy, but you can do it. Whether you have a wicked cigarette habit, you’re downing too much booze, your sniffing away your future, your playing the ponies, or you’re giving into other demon desires, you are the only person that can make it stop. Seek professional help. Fess up to family and friends. Get everyone on your side, helping you stay true to a happy, healthier life. It’s your money. It’s your life. You decide.

Are your hoping to get rich quick? Lazy people look for ways to make it big without breaking a sweat. All the rest of us know that achieving financial stability takes effort. And it takes time. There’s no rushing it. If you leap before you look, grabbing at higher than normal returns, betting on a long shot, you have to be prepared to lose it all.  Big returns come from accepting big risks. If you’re not into the risk, then you need a long-term plan to put compounding and time on your side.

Are you wasting your time? Some people go into a holding pattern, almost as if they are waiting for something magical to happen.  I’ve known more than a few people who are waiting for the parents or grandparents to die because they know all their financial foibles will be forgiven. Pathetic. If you don’t have the energy, the motivation, the desire to do for yourself, you’re likely to end up struggling and bitter.  But if you want to make it, then you have to make every minute count. Learn to manage your time. Use your time to increase your skills. Use your skills to increase your earning power. It’s all connected, and it all begins with you and how you choose to use the time you have.  Focus on what’s important.

Are you enjoying the simple things in life? Some people believe that only expensive, complicated and intricate things are worthwhile. They take no pleasure from sitting in the grass watching a butterfly or listening to the birds sing. They need to be go, go, going, all the while spend, spend, spending. If it doesn’t cost a lot, it isn’t even worth considering.  They are jealous of what their friends have, envious of another’s success, bitchy and bitter. I’m talking about girls DEMAND engagement rings with hefty price tags. I’m talking about boys who think that the kind of car they drive is more important than their mate’s sense of security. Or the folks who want someone else to pay for their every whim. If you’re in this place, you should stop for a moment and take stock of all that you’ve been given that you may not be appreciating.  You don’t want to lose those gifts only to realize what a fool you have been for taking them for granted for so long.

Stop wasting your money – and your boyfriends’, mother’s, father’s, siblings’, friends’ money – on dumb stuff. Learn to play in the rain. Learn to sit still and watch the world unfold around you. Learn to say thank you for the blessing you do have.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

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