Beware of the subtle ways that your money walks out the door. Often, it’s you and your mindset that support the hole in your pocket. Other times, it is friends or family that strike the match that burns the hole in your money bag. Either way, knowing the dangers in the forms they reveal themselves can help you refuse them.
When it’s you, it’s the rainy day fund that ensures that it will rain. Putting money aside for emergencies ensures that emergencies will happen. Why? Because you are living your life by emergencies rather than by planned successes and sustained gains. Instead of saving for emergencies, invest in success.
When it’s not you: The ancient statement laments, “The poor will always be with you.” As policy, the statement was about changing societal barriers to wealth creation. As counsel to you, it suggests that meeting an immediate need is not as sustainable as solving the problem long-term. Teach them to fish–not a Biblical quote, but fitting nonetheless. My point is that someone will always need your money as long as you hold your money out as available. Instead of helping the needy, influence structures that provide access and opportunity.
When it’s you, it’s the tried and true self-deception, “I’m worth it, arent’ I?” This phrase has been uttered in department stores, car lots, jewelry emporiums, outlet malls, and gun shows forever. It’s the call to get more. How much more? More! The problem is that you often don’t have an initial purpose for what you are purchasing. Give yourself some time. You will come up with an excuse. But, that doesn’t account for the fact that without that item, you would be just as capable of reaching your goals. Instead of getting more, make your money return more.
When it’s not you, it’s a person who operates similarly to a child during a grocery visit. They hang with you when the suspect that you have some discretionary income. They systematically assess you for your financial vulnerability. They lie in wait for the moment when they can encourage your reckless behavior. Like a parasite, that latch on for the ride knowing that the financial strain is yours to bear. Instead of falling victim to this pathetic symbiosis, connect with people who are building beyond what you thought was possible.
When it’s you, it’s that feeling of power that comes from disposable income or unassigned money in hand. To some, money in the bank means money available. Let’s go to lunch. My treat. I feel like a spa day, but I don’t want to go alone. You come. I pay for both of us. I want to see the concert. Come with me. I’ll pay. Why? Because I have the money available.
When it’s not you, it’s that person who always conveniently “forgets” their wallet. Or, it’s the person who will gladly pay you back next Wednesday for your purchase of their burger today. Next Wednesday is code for Never.
When it’s you, it’s that impatience and need to move forward through the barrier of money issues. Sometimes you get the feeling that everything can be fixed with money. So, you arrive late for day care pick-up. No problem. It’s just a $6 fee. You pay your light bill late. No problem. It’s just a $12 fee. It doesn’t look like they have enough money for the party. No problem. I’ll put the $124 on my credit card, and hope that they will pitch in to pay me back.
When it’s not you, it’s family or friends who think that your financial ability is due to large sums of money being grown on a tree in your back yard. They fail to realize that priority setting, discipline, and sacrifice have netted you what some would call disposable income. You call it investment income.
The Consolation Prize Winner
In this scam, you convince yourself that what you were going to buy was so much more expensive that it is okay that you are going to spend this relatively little amount. I wanted to take a vacation in the Bahamas for $1500, but I won’t do that. I’ll just treat myself to this $300 spa adventure. I want a $30,000 new car, but I won’t make that unsustainable purchase. I’ll just repaint my car, reupholster my interior, and get new rims. All total, I’m only spending $5000. Your thought would be better focused on what that money could do as an investment.
When it’s not you, it’s that person who asks you, “But, aren’t you worth it?” They work to convince you that you “deserve” to have some fun. You work hard for your money, and you should play hard. You must educate them to the fact that your money needs to get on its job. Its job is not to satisfy your needs. The job for your money is to make more money. This additional income can invest back, sustainably, into your growth and capacity expansion.