Words of the Financially Challenged

There’s someone I know that I have been trying to help improve her financial future. Unfortunately, she seems to be stuck in a self-inflicted financial ineptness that’s beyond rescue. Somehow, she always come up with some lame excuses when it comes to money.

“Hey, I can always make more”

She symbolizes the living paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle. It seems whenever she wants to spend money, she’ll say something like this. I tried to explain to her that this line of thinking is foolish. Her income will come to a grinding halt if she loses her job, gets sick, becomes disabled, etc. I shared several ideas on how she might protect her ability to earn money, but none of them seems to matter.

“There are just two more things that I want, and I will start saving money”

Oh, really. Every time we have a conversation, it’s always one or two more things and she will start to save. For some people “wants” is a bottomless pit, no matter how small they make it appears. The truth is, if you don’t make “saving first” a priority, it will never happen. There is no such thing as saving unspent money; especially, if she doesn’t believe in budgeting.

“It’s only $10 a month”

Little things do add up. This is one of the reasons why she can’t save any money. Sure, each membership and monthly fee only cost $10-20 per month, but she has about a dozen of these going — i.e., premium channels, web-access for her cell phone, online movies membership, satellite TV, satellite radio, magazines, Xbox Live, Netflix, etc. Sometimes, you just have to say enough is enough. Do you really need all these things to keep you happy?

“You never know what’s going to happen tomorrow”

When she uses this phrases she meant why bother accumulating a lot of money. To her, it’s better to live NOW. Instead of using this as a justification to buy the right insurance, and protect her future, she uses it to defend her spending habits. For me, life is about balance — I want to enjoy my life now and in the future.

“The new model just came out”

Why is it that some people feel the need to upgrade every time there’s a new model? To me, her “old” stuff works just fine. Heck, some of the stuff she wants to replace are newer and better than stuff I own.

Does this sound like anyone you know?

This was a guest post I wrote for Five Cent Nickel on February 22, 2007.

15 thoughts on “Words of the Financially Challenged”

  1. I know lots of people like this. One neighbor never has the money for her home owners dues. But she always has the latest Ipod. Her son wears designer clothes and was the first kid to have a Wii. They go on expensive vacations.

    They say when you are ready the teacher will appear. This applies when you try to give advice. Until they are ready to learn your advice falls on deaf ears.

  2. “I can always make more” – yes, I have a friend who says that too. She says she needs very little to be happy, that getting a job has never been a problem and that money is a renewable asset. When I talk about recession, being laid off or having an unexpected expense, she just says I’m a pessimist. She’s a highly intelligent person, so it’s not lack of intelligence – just a very different outlook than mine.

  3. “You never know what’s going to happen tomorrow” Oh yea that is a good one. This one bugs me. It is possible you could die at any moment, but it is more likely that you will live. Sure you might have fun for a little while but when you’re old and unable to work you will be sorry that you had that attitude and didn’t save when you were younger.

  4. I also like, “Well, we never treat ourselves,” especially from folks who eat out every other day or have new wardrobes each month.

  5. Yes- My spouse!

    And a few of my friends- ever notice how it’s the same people that complain about their jobs that also don’t manage their money they make from those jobs?

  6. @Sara – that’s the one I always get stuck on too! We do it a lot with food and 2 kids, and it’s amazing how often we hear that around here… 😉

  7. “There are just two more things that I want, and I will start saving money”

    I hear this one all the time!

    There is one individual at work that always asks me for advice. I always try to help him the best that I can. We sit down, work out a budget, talk about goals, etc. Everytime he’ll go out and do something stupid with his money and then a few months later he’ll come back again for more advice.

    This time around after our latest discussion he goes out and buys and abrand new truck for $37K!!!

    He tells me “oh don’t worry, I’m going to keep this truck for ever, I ready to start my financial plan now!”

    Of course he is now so leveraged that he can barely make his current minimum payments let alone attack the principal!

  8. This is so true. Not just for money issues, but for everything in life that can be challenging. People have similar excuses for not eating better or exercising. It’s always easier to come up with an excuse than to just get started on something that you’re not particularly looking forward to.

  9. I think that those of us who have grown up in the consumerism generation have yet to fully understand and appreciate the importance of frugal living. Perhaps this economic downturn isn’t a bad thing as it will enable people to make do with what they have rather than always having the latest equipment or throwing things away at the first opportunity.

  10. I hear those comments from time to time from friends and family. However, I tend to disagree with living frugally. That is not to mean that I dislike it. To me, my personal motto that I go by is this: “I don’t live below my means, I live to expand my means” While I am careful when spending, my ultimate goal is to have assets that will pay me whether I am working or not.

  11. Thanks everyone!

    @Frugal Babe – “People have similar excuses for not eating better or exercising.”

    So true. I am guilty too. 🙁

  12. Oh well, I think I’ve just heard some lines from my friends.. And I personally don’t want to hear those from them. Everytime they say those lines, I sometimes just zip my mouth or, most of the time, i would disagree and a long conversation will eventually start.

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