- I was making good money, but living paycheck to paycheck. I didn’t think it was a big deal because “I have good job security” “I’ll get a raise soon” “I can always get another job if I have to” “Money isn’t that important anyway” all that nonsense we tell ourselves to avoid admitting any responsibility and rationalize our reckless indulgence.
- I had a fancy $40,000 leased car. You wouldn’t believe how much I loved this car. I used to put blue tape all over the front end when I drove more than an hour so it wouldn’t get rock chips or bug splatter. I LOVED this car. It was $450 a month and I was selling cars at the time so compared to what other people were signing up for, I thought it was cheap! (I actually still miss that car honestly.)
- I was buying new clothes all the time, expensive stuff too, you can’t believe how few people I impressed. Such a waste.
- I went out drinking couple times a week.
I‘m certainly the first person you have heard tell you this (does my sarcasm come through text well?) but: Everything is directly due to choices we make. Really, though this is such common and underutilized advice that it’s dismissed as an empty cliche, which is unfortunate. Any advice that’s really abstract isn’t always very helpful by itself, you have to believe in the information apply it, and you have to know how it works. Since the majority of people make awful choices all the time especially financial ones, it’s easy to undervalue the potential of our choices. Few people I’ve ever met have a great plan or strategy and a vision of how to make choices to accomplish that plan, and I’ve met even fewer who then turn around and teach someone else what they’ve figured out. So you have this great advice but the vast population is just cruising with whatever life hits them with. I think the kids call it YOLO!
So things got better after a while as I made better choices, and I certainly didn’t know all this stuff as it happened so I had to learn my lessons on the backs of mistakes and then look back at what worked then try to reduce those lessons into simple principles that could be useful. As I transitioned from a reckless moron to a moderately responsible moron I found myself not just creating a financial safety net, but something much more: freedom. What I realized along my journey is that living week to week isn’t just a financial burden, it’s an emotional one. It forces people to create attachments to people, things, and places that they might not want to be attached to, but maybe can’t afford to get out. If a person is stuck in a job they can’t afford to quit, that’s called wage slavery, it’s as old as economics. If a person is in a relationship they aren’t happy with, but can’t afford to leave, that’s emotional servitude. If a person lives in somebodies house or a place that they can’t leave, is that freedom? Does it make them a pet?? Yes, it’s harsh, it should be. No one should be forced to live in conditions that aren’t on their terms, and ESPECIALLY not because of financial reasons! The more I fixed my money problem the more I realized I was fixing a far more important problem.
I HATED my old life of being beholden to someone or something else. I hated living week to week, worrying about money, and never seeing an end to economic stress. I hated being stuck in jobs I didn’t like but couldn’t’ afford to leave. I hated being stuck around and with people I was forced to make work with because I had no economic breathing room to make changes. I haven’t fixed all this, but it’s a process and I’m getting better. I’ve learned the hard way and I have spent the last few years of my life spending almost all my waking time learning how to fix, and then teach other people not to make the mistakes as I have and to make better choices! Money and all the problems that not having enough of it creates, they can all be fixed. You don’t need to be smart, and you don’t need to have a been born in some lucky condition. I’m none of those things, in fact, I’m kinda lazy actually, and people think I’m a rockstar! The bar is set SO LOW it’s incredible. Everyone can have a far better life once they understand and believe this one thing: