People are woefully unprepared to handle their money. It doesn’t matter how much money they make or how well educated they are, folks keep making the same mistakes over and over. While we love to blame everyone else for our lack of money skills – my parents didn’t teach me, why didn’t we learn this at school? – the reality is that the only REAL solution to the financial literacy issue is… wait for it… Personal Responsibility.
If you’ve been looking for “The Answer”, for a solution that will make you less frustrated, less scared, and less susceptible to the scam artists that abound, it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee: YOU are The Answer. YOU — your determination to be in control, your desire to make things be different, your commitment to learning –YOU are The Answer.
Not all the hucksters working to separate you from your money for their own benefit are dressed in checkered suits with slicked-back hair and a greasy smile. Many of those who would profit from your loss look pretty much like you and me. Some of them work for companies you’ve come to think of as having your best interests at heart. But times have changed and so must your attitude towards those “helpers.”
You do know that banks are corporations whose primary mandate is to make a profit for their shareholders? If you’re following the old rule that bank have a fiduciary responsibility to you – that they’re looking out for your best interests — you’re woefully behind the times. They’re selling products and services that can do YOU HARM even as they get richer. Just look at products like credit and mortgage life insurance, two products that are definitely profitable, but not in any customer’s best interests.
Just because some banker has offered you a whopping credit limit on your credit card, suggested over-draft protection as a way to save money, or given you a bright, twinkly new line of credit doesn’t mean you have to use them to your DISadvantage. You have the good sense to know that money spent on credit not paid back in full every month is DEBT and that “debt” is a four letter word. If you choose to ignore that good sense, it is YOUR choice; no one else is to blame.
There is no magic to money management. So much of what you see, hear, read about money makes it sound far more complicated than it really is. Most of money is simple and the majority of what you have to do to make your money work for you is pretty straightforward: don’t spend more than you make, save some, pay as little in interest as humanly possible, and offset your risks so they don’t sink you.
Canadians typically spend about 28 hours a week watching TV. Are you willing to take just one of those hours back to manage your money? Just one. Only one. Simply one. One hour a week. You can do that right?
Step 1: Do a Spending Analysis.
Step 2: Create a debt repayment plan with an end-date.
Step 3: Make a realistic budget that balances.
Step 4: Start saving.
Step 5: Watch where every penny goes.
I’m going to quote myself from my book, Money Rules:
For all the people who have said:
- I just can’t figure out my money.
- I can’t get a budget to work.
- I wish I weren’t in debt.
- I didn’t really understand…
- Hey, everyone’s in debt.
- I don’t have the time to sort out my finances.
I want you to do the following:
- Get several pieces of newspaper and a black marker.
- Write with the black maker on the newspaper: It’s my money.
- Write it 100 times.
- Roll up the newspaper as if you were making a tube.
- Beat yourself over the head with it.
YOUR money is YOUR responsibility. If you want to be successful, you have to be prepared to step up and take charge. Finally.