If you are reading this post, chances are that you already understand what debt is and even may be neck deep in debt right now. That might even be true for you if just a few months ago you were actually making a pretty healthy salary.
There are some good reasons you could have for being in that condition. The first one being that you may have recently lost your job because of the pandemic and that has cut off your main source of income. That just about always spells economic disaster. If you were never really any good at saving money, certainly losing your job will make your financial situation a lot worse.
It has arrived…2020. Wow, it almost seems it should be followed with the words “A Space Odyssey” to someone like me. After all, it’s been over 50 years since that great sci-fi movie “2001” hit the screen and now we are living in 2020. You can imagine that feeling by thinking how 2070 might be now if you had to guess what life would be like then? A bit scary, isn’t it?
But having said all that, there is the real fact that we have to deal with 2020 right now using pretty clear vision, a la “20/20 eyesight”. The reason is obvious: if we don’t, we will be working with a handicap. And here’s the problem, without a 20/20 view to guide your finances, you are bound to fall short of your goals and there just aren’t any type of corrective lenses that will make your financial vision clear.
How can you do smart things with your money? Everybody wants to have a solid financial plan, but over 40% of Americans don’t have one. And if you don’t have a plan to cover the basics, how will you ever be able to afford the frills?
They say “the Candy Man can” and the Candy Man (the original, of course!) can sure bring back memories, especially this week. First of all, candy. It’s Halloween time and so you just can’t get away from it because it’s being promoted everywhere. Save money and buy, buy, buy in anticipation of all the costumed kids knocking at your front door this week. Yes, if you’re like most of us, you’ll be shopping and stocking up on candy and probably munching and stealing a few or more than a few for yourself, too. Guilty as charged here. I think it’s fortunate that this thing happens only once a year or I’d be perfectly costumed as one of those “walking dead” thingies myself. Candy may be nicer than a “rainbow” or sweeter than “sunshine” but for me, a diabetic, it’s not so much!
Your retirement is something you think about with a smile and some pleasant thoughts even though it might seem like it’s light-years away. But if you get to your golden years with insufficient funds, it’s guaranteed to be a nightmare and very unpleasant! You don’t want to live through that scenario, I promise you.
Saving up enough money over a 45-year career to maintain your lifestyle in retirement is pretty challenging. But there’s a lot to be learned from the people who have managed to hit their savings goals well before that point, people who then retire early. You can learn a lot even if you haven’t been bitten by the early-retirement bug. That’s why it’s important to concentrate and learn about these three things you can learn from early retirees when you think that your retirement is at hand. But before you find out the answers…
Life isn’t easy. We all make little and big decisions every day and sometimes it feels like there isn’t a minute that goes by that we can just veg and not have to do any decision making at all. Oh, and by the way, if you actually try to do just that, someone will probably call you out and tell you that you’re shirking your responsibilities or not facing up to reality or must be plain lazy or stupid. Is that why you never avoid making a decision or you agonize over one and never ever take a few minutes to take a deep breath before you do?
When it comes to your money decision making, the pressure is even more ridiculous. Why? Because not only are those decisions important to you, but they show up and stand out. I mean they are pretty visible to the naked eye and often are the main ways that others can see how you function and judge how good your decision making actually is. Even though it sometimes doesn’t show up immediately to the naked eye, your money decisions will eventually be very visible and will affect you, your family, friendships, and even your job. Perhaps you can hide a few bad decisions, at least for a while. But when that day of reckoning arrives, everyone will know what really happened. When that happens, it’s not just bad for you, but for everyone around you and that just sucks!
You are traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. It’s a journey into a land of overspending. Your next stop: the BBBB Zone!
– (With apologies to Rod Serling)
Even the most frugal people have some area(s) where they tend to overspend. They just can’t help it and neither can you or me. It is unfortunately just a part of our human nature that we have some sort of weak spot and that means we can’t easily control the acts of excessive spending on some damn thing or another. For most of us, it’s limited and only slightly out of control, but for some people, it’s not. It’s money they spend that they either don’t have or will never have and yet they simply can’t prevent themselves from entering into the BBBB ZONE: The Big Budget-Busting Bonehead Zone!
What Are You Telling Me Here?
Just about every well-intentioned personal finance writer will tell you that in order to be successful with your money and your spending, the very first thing you need to do (once you have an income) is to make a budget. Of course that makes absolute sense. When you have a budget you understand where your money comes from and where it’s going and you are allocating that money to real needs and requirements. The problem with that is that what you “require” may not be a good thing. If you’re spending money on illegal drugs because you “need” them due to an addiction issue, you can budget for them all day long and you aren’t exactly making any kind of good decision there. And that is besides the health and legal issues.
Do you remember that old phrase of years gone by, “ignorance is bliss”? Even if you never have heard that one (although I doubt that), it is something that seems to be true. After all, you aren’t going to worry about that big pothole on the road just a few hundred feet ahead of you when you’re driving to work on this sunny morning—if you are totally unaware of it, right? How can you? You don’t know it’s there. You haven’t heard any problems about it and your mind is drifting along with the latest tunes on the radio as you sip your coffee from your freshly brewed homemade K-cup coffee machine that you made just 10 minutes earlier. Life is good. And then…kaboom! What you don’t know can hurt you.
Funny thing about that “ignorance is bliss” thing, it has a tendency to sneak up on you and hit you squarely in the eye or even worse, your rear end and lower back like driving over a huge pothole does! That simply proves the premise doesn’t it? What you don’t know can and will hurt you!
One of things you hear pretty often when it comes to trying to save money is the concept of “just skip it”. You know what I’m talking about here, don’t you? Like when you’re on your way to work in the morning if you “skip” that stop at 7-Eleven and forgo the cup of coffee and that bagel you’ll save yourself about $5 bucks, right?
Or say, how about when you are at the restaurant and you opt for that tasty glass of Chardonnay with dinner and tack on an extra $14 to your bill? “Skip it” and have a glass of water with a twist of lemon instead, right? That’s fairly good advice and when you do it you will definitely cut costs and save some money. And truth be told, no real harm or suffering comes from that. But, and it’s a big but, sometimes we are “penny wise and pound foolish” as the old saying goes. Continue reading“Skipping These Will Save You Money But Ruin Your Life”