As this year is opens, now is a good time to reflect on some of the things that worked and didn't work in your financial life. What may be holding you back from living on a budget? What would it take to finally be serious about getting out of debt (renting money is very expensive)? Or when will you finally get around to setting up an estate plan that will ensure your family will be provided for if something happens to you? And remember procrastination is a very bad and expensive habit.
Here are the Top 10 – Out With the Old Excuses, to kick for 2015:
Don't have time
This is the big one! While many Americans are stretched to the limit when it comes to their time, making sure your financial life is in order is more about priorities than it is about time. We make time for things that are important to us, like watching TV or our favorite game. Getting your financial house in order means that with all your efforts to provide for your families, we are also ensuring that long-term their needs will be met.
Here is one I like:
We are all busy people and perhaps busy is the number one reason people don’t take the time. This is typically how it goes: “Its tax season and once I can get past April 15th then I will have more time!”
What’s next after tax season: “It’s the end of the school year and my kids are in all the different activities and between that and sports, we are just too busy, maybe during summer?”
Summer yes the kids will be out of school and we will have more time…how does this go: “We are so busy getting ready for summer vacation with the family, we just need to get past the vacation then we will work on our finances!”
After summer then what? “We are getting ready to get the kids back in school – after the kids are in school things will settle down and we will have time.”
The kids are settled in school and doing well, but then: “It’s the holidays and we are swamped with family coming and going and work end of year things to finish, I am sure we will be able to have the time after the holidays!” Right!!
And after the holidays: “Its tax season again and life is just too crazy right now!”
Don't have money
It is far cheaper to live on less now, and ensure that our financial life is sound, than it is to continue on a frivolous path and reap the consequences later. The old adage of “living on less than you earn” really is the wisest path. Either way there will be a day of reckoning. Consider ways that you can do more with less, and cut back in wasteful spending in order to make room for a sounder future. It is amazing what people do with a just a little money.
My spouse isn't on board
There are many reasons spouses may not be united in a family budget. It is your job to initiate the conversations that are required to become one in this area of your marriage. It will take patience, time, and probably a change of behavior from both spouses as well as some negotiations in order for both spouses to be united on the budget. While it might seem like an uphill battle now, many couples have accomplished the trek and have found greater peace in their marriage and power in their financial life. It is well worth the effort! This is a place where spouses need to be unified.
I don't know how, I was never taught
This may be true, but it is never too late to learn! Start now, make the commitment to learn how to manage your finances. Find a good financial advisor whom you trust and ask them to mentor you. Don’t let your ego get in the way – there is no shame in getting help! Everyone needs help now and then.
That is for other people, not me
This is a true case of denial. It doesn't matter how rich or how poor you are, your financial life affects you. Consider the truth in the statement that your choices will determine your destiny.
I don't care
Unless you are a welfare recipient, than perhaps you do care, but don't want to admit it. If you care enough to get up and go to work each day, then you ought to care enough to see that your hard work is not squandered.
I'm too lazy
This is probably at the heart of most of our excuses as to why we don't do the things we ought to do- whether in finances, diet & exercise, or any other should or ought to's in our life. It is probably the most honest excuse as well. People rarely change until they get sick and tired of being sick and tired. Short of that, it often takes some type of severe wake-up call before meaningful change ever happens.
I have more than I need so I don't worry about it
If this is you then congratulations on being financially comfortable! While this is a nice place to be, it is a short-sighted response in a world that is ever changing. Beware of being too comfortable for your own good!
The Bible says money is at the root of all evil, so I ignore anything that has to do with money
Yes, I have actually heard this excuse in others before! It is folly and a sheer refusal toward any type of financial maturity. If this is you or your spouse, some therapy might be in order to help you through your issues. We also have a responsibility to use our talents wisely.
Money, what's that?! I use the barter system for all my needs
While the barter system may be useful to you in some regards, it can only go so far. While the current world we live in may allow for some bartering, it also requires money. Both skills are likely necessary in order to get along in it. Consider enhancing your financial skills this year- perhaps you can barter for a good financial mentor!
They say that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result!” If you want to really make some changes then you have to reprioritize your time and make the time to get it done. You may also have to reprioritize your spending too as well as other things you like in life, but it all starts with “time!J. Pierpont Morgan said, “A man generally has two reasons for doing a thing; one that sounds good, and the real one.” What other reasons regarding your financial life keep you from success? I'd like to hear about them! Leave a comment and let's discuss it! In the meantime, Happy New Year and best wishes for 2015!