I recently had the opportunity to listen in on a conversation, that surprised me and saddened me.
The talk was centered around financial decisions. It never got heated or even loud. It seemed that each of the other participants completely agreed, and the comments just continued to build upon the original statement that having loans and consumer debt was a good and necessary thing.
I believe what shocked me the most was the comment that since saving money doesn’t accrue much interest, saving it doesn’t make sense?! Nods immediately followed, while I tried not to catch a fly with my dropped jaw!
The next line was one I have heard so many times, that it is better to have loans out and just pay them, maybe pay a little extra for paying it off sooner, than to not have loans.
Then came the age old how credit cards were vital to build credit and that it was important to get one as soon as possible. Which then moved in to talk of acquiring multiple cards.
Periodically I tried to get a word in edgewise, but for the most part I knew that it was best for me to remain silent, because these were seniors and quite set in their beliefs.
Yet, they are not alone, how many of us function in an out of date mindset?
How many of us have been lured into believing many of the things that these with an old-fashioned mindset believe?
But as Chris Brady is known to say, “You don’t know what you don’t know and some of what you do know isn’t so.”
My husband Ken and I have learned so much utilizing the Financial Fitness Program from LIFE Leadership. The 47 Principles spelled out in the Program were eye openers for me! I have to admit, until we started delving more into a financial education, I was of the old fashioned / out of date mindset.
I had grown up believing that credit cards were just a part of our financial plan. I had multiple credit cards and really wasn’t worried as long as I could make the minimum payment. So, I continued to add cards, my credit limits increasing, and managed to back myself into the proverbial corner.
Principle 27: Do not use credit cards to build your credit because this almost always leads people to more debt.
Ouch! Let’s just say that my financial physique resembled that!
Principle 04: Stop getting financial advice from broke people; get it only from those whose finances you want to emulate.
This one here was a bit humbling. When I looked into that mirror – and saw my reflection so similar to everyone I knew living day by day – just like me, I had a revelation. What is it Einstein said? Continuing to do the same thing expecting different results is the definition of insanity. I certainly felt insane, trying to juggle all of the bills and wishing I had money to do fun things rather than just pay the bills.
So, when I suggested doing the program to Ken, and he agreed – we jumped right in. It impressed me as to how quickly he turned our ship around to follow the system. When I asked what made him decide to change things so radically, he said that what we had been doing wasn’t working – so let’s follow those that know what they are doing. (Side note here – by doing that, we managed to get debt free in just a few short years!)
Principle 29: See your car(s) as transportation, not as status symbols. Save up and always pay cash for them.
I don’t feel that I am a ‘status’ person when it comes to vehicles, but I do know that Ken & I have owned 7 brand new vehicles over the years. I know that 6 of those 7 were purchased with incredible discounts and cost us less than a similar used one would have. But even still, we financed. We never saw it as being unwise financially, I mean seriously, who saves up money to buy a car other than a teenager buying their 1st vehicle? That’s crazy. Right? Or is it?
As we learned more about those that are fiscally responsible, we learned that yes, the wealthy do purchase used! This was incredibly shocking to me, as I always had the view that buying new was what the rich did. I felt that buying used vehicles was more geared toward the lower income brackets. I felt that spending that money on a new vehicle was worth it, so I had a ‘reliable’ vehicle. Well, after paying off our vehicles and going months without that payment going out, I began to see how much relief it created in our monthly budget!
It’s funny, isn’t it? How a worldview is forged and passed down throughout the years and we don’t question it?
It reminds me of a story that Terri Brady told of a young lady that cut the ends off her ham before baking it. She was asked why, and she didn’t know, she just said that’s how her mom did it. Curiosity got to her and she called and asked her mom. Her mom said that was what her mom had done. So, the girl asked her to call her mom and learn why they cut the ends off the ham before she baked it. So, she did, and the grandmother said, “Oh! I didn’t have a pan big enough to fit it unless I did!”
I laughed when I heard that! Then upon thinking about it, I began to realize how often in life we do that exact same thing. We blindly follow the path of those that walked ahead of us without questioning anything.
Financially that is destroying us. Families and marriages shatter due to mismanagement of finances. Stress levels are at an all-time high due to compounding interest against us. People no longer start with a position in a company and stay there until they retire. The odds of retiring from a company with benefits, retirement pay, and a nice little nest egg are minimal.
We have all heard that for things to change – things must change! Obviously, it is time – things must change.
Part of that means disrupting this out of date old fashioned mindset. We need to learn to live financially wise and we need help others do the same.
The Financial Fitness Program through LIFE Leadership has changed my life, Jorjia’s life and the lives of so many we know – feel free to contact Jorjia or myself for more information.
Please, starting today, don’t just follow blindly into the pit of financial stress, you deserve better!
Financially getting fitter, Amy