Ok, I’m feeling a bit ranty today.
It’s because the same issue comes up again and again, it makes NO SENSE, and I’m tired of it.
I’ve posted previously (more than once) how people want to become wealthy but they don’t want to make any lifestyle changes to get there.
- They want to make more money in their jobs, but they don’t take career advice. See The Paradox of a Career’s Impact on Financial Independence.
- They want to get out of money trouble but don’t want advice or to change. See If You Want What I Have You Have to Do What I’ve Done.
- They want to negate others’ successes to make themselves feel better. See How to Ignore the Basics of Personal Finance and Still Become Rich.
- They want to focus on what they perceive/hope the issue is versus the true problem. See It’s the Spending, Stupid.
And it goes on and on.
It’s not just money either — the problem seems to be prevalent in life. More on this in a minute. Let’s get back to money for now.
As most of you know, my wife and I first saw this disconnect when we were doing financial coaching in the early 90’s.
Even the small percentage who actually ended up meeting with us came loaded with excuses.
Once we got into the budget review process, the objections flew out from all sides.
Here are a few we ran into:
- One lady insisted that $125 a week to do her nails was a “need” and there was no way the cost could be reduced or cut.
- One family came in and told us they had racked up about $50k in debt and that the husband, the sole breadwinner, had just been fired. Right AFTER that, they bought a bass boat (because, you know, they NEEDED it).
- One guy called me on the way to court. He was going to face a judgement and wanted me to show up and vouch that he was working on his bills. This is a guy I had never met or talked to until he called me. Uh, no.
- One family was making $250k a year (in the 90’s!) and they were falling behind each month. The reason? Each of them (two adults and two teenagers) had leased luxury cars (BMW, Porsche, etc.) and lived in a huge house.
And these are just the ones I remember. I know there were dozens more.
As we suggested what each couple do to balance their budget, almost every idea was rebuked with an excuse. Here’s why we can’t save on car insurance. Here’s why we need to spend $10k per year on vacations. Here’s why we have to eat out five nights a week. UGH!
They wanted the problem (mounting bills/debt) taken care of but they didn’t want to make any changes for it to happen.
Even worse, they wanted a 20-minute solution to a 20-year problem!
The vast majority ultimately decided that 1) getting their act straight was not going to be easy and 2) since it was not easy and required them to change, they weren’t going to do it.
Yes, they preferred to fall deeper into debt than take action to save themselves. It was like a drowning person refusing to grab a life preserver and instead turning and swimming OUT to sea.
Unfortunately, not much has changed since then.
The War Cry
Some time ago my buddy Sam at Financial Samurai posted an article detail how $5 million was barely enough to retire with a family. He’s an expert at creating controversy and this was hot on the heels of the Suze Orman issue.
He took some flack, but he seems to love the trolls.
Of course his scenario was set in a very high cost of living city (Los Angeles) and included lots of over-the-top expenses (like $21k per year in food, $24k in 529 savings, $20k in healthcare, $55k in mortgage and real estate taxes, $10k for childcare, etc.) that COULD be “reasonable” in LA but in 90% of the US are viewed to be crazy.
Anyway, after the internet tried to shout him down, he fought back on Twitter and posted this:
Dear judgy people of the internet! After much reader feedback, here’s the optimized budget for a retired LA couple raising an 8-month-old daughter. How would you further improve their budget without significantly impacting their lifestyle?
I couldn’t help but respond with the following:
The qualification “without significantly impacting their lifestyle” is the killer. Almost anything suggested could be interpreted as impacting lifestyle. So the question really is “how can they save $ without doing anything different?” which is inherently impossible to answer.
Then those years of counseling came back to me and I spurted out another response:
BTW, “without significantly impacting their lifestyle” is the war cry of every over-spending person I’ve ever coached. They all want to be out of debt, wealthy, etc. but they don’t want to change a single thing to achieve it. Life doesn’t work that way.
And that’s the problem with a lot of Americans today: they want the results (become wealthy, retire early, cut back on work, etc.) but they don’t want to change anything to get there (because they are comfortable and change is hard.)
Not Just Money
I run into this issue in areas outside of money too.
- I have a friend who is constantly complaining about his weight and health. When I ask if he is exercising and/or eating right he comes up with a long list of excuses. He says he’s too busy but really he’s saying he doesn’t want to pay the price (which can be painful) and would rather instantaneously turn into The Rock without the work.
- Another acquaintance is trying to “find a job”. I put that in quotes because he isn’t doing much. He fills out a few online job openings each day and is done. When I ask if he’s networking, knocking on doors, practicing for interviews, or doing anything that leads to better odds of finding jobs, he says he is not. When I suggest them his response (not in so many words) is that he wants the results but wants to make minimum effort (and in the wrong place, BTW).
- A third friend has medical issues and yet won’t listen to her doctors. She wants to be well, but since the recommended treatments are not pleasant, she doesn’t do them. She wants to be healed but is doing nothing to help herself become that way.
- I see this in the blogging world all the time. It’s quite common for someone say he’s not getting the results he wants. When I ask if he’s taken the steps to success I’ve detailed, the excuses come out. In other words, no, he has not taken any (or most of) the steps. And yet he wants to be a blog superstar.
It’s frustrating to be sitting on the sidelines and see these people want or even expect (generally feeling a positive solution is “owed” to them) without taking any action. What do they think is going to happen, a magic bunny will appear and make things all better?
Help from God
This reminds me of a “funny” story I’ve heard several times about a man looking to get help from God:
A very religious man was once caught in rising floodwaters. He climbed onto the roof of his house and trusted God to rescue him. A neighbor came by in a canoe and said, “The waters will soon be above your house. Hop in and we’ll paddle to safety.”
“No thanks,” replied the religious man. “I’ve prayed to God and I’m sure he will save me.”
A short time later the police came by in a boat. “The waters will soon be above your house. Hop in and we’ll take you to safety.”
“No thanks,” replied the religious man. “I’ve prayed to God and I’m sure he will save me.”
A little time later a rescue services helicopter hovered overhead, let down a rope ladder and said, “The waters will soon be above your house. Climb the ladder and we’ll fly you to safety.”
“No thanks,” replied the religious man. “I’ve prayed to God and I’m sure he will save me.”
All this time the floodwaters continued to rise, until soon they reached above the roof and the religious man drowned.
When he arrived at heaven he demanded an audience with God. Ushered into God’s throne room he said, “Lord, why am I here in heaven? I prayed for you to save me. I trusted you to save me from that flood.”
“Yes, you did my child” replied the Lord. “And I sent you a canoe, a boat and a helicopter. But you never got in.”
This story illustrates that even when there are advantages available, people often refuse them, preferring to stay where they are and hope things change.
They would rather do nothing and expect great results.
The problem is THE WORST in the money realm!
I frequently get comments and emails that highlight this:
- People want to make more but they don’t want to work at growing their careers.
- People want to retire early but haven’t saved a dime (and worse yet, don’t really want to).
- People want to save money but insist that frivolous spending is a necessity.
- People want to invest but don’t want to take the time to educate themselves on options.
This line of thinking DRIVES ME CRAZY!
Didn’t someone say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result?
That’s part of the problem here. People don’t want to take the steps to be successful as they are comfortable now and don’t want to experience any “pain” (which in most cases is simply exerting effort). They’d rather keep doing what they’re doing. And yet they want a new result!!!
Get Over It
Listen, if this is you (or someone you know), I don’t really care if you want to keep your lifestyle and not make any progress. That decision is up to you.
But please do not whine to me about how you’re not getting the results you want even though you are doing nothing to get them.
And save your excuses for someone else. I’m tired of them.
If you want to reach a goal, develop a plan and then take action (like millionaires do). You don’t have to change your life in one day — just small progress day after day will make a difference over time.
Hopefully this is the last time I have to write about this issue. I’m tired of it and you’re probably tired of reading about it, so let’s hope the message gets out.
That said, I’m not optimistic that we’ve seen the last of this problem. Not by a long shot.
“Everyone wants to go to heaven but no one wants to die”
Dave @ Accidental FIRE says
Last time I checked I’m pretty certain bass boats were in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, but I’ll check that again….
Dave, you are so right. Bass fishing is my and my wife’s fave retired hobby. And it can’t be done properly without a bass boat. It’s just too bad that such an otherwise intelligent blogger doesn’t recognize this true need from frivolous spending. I mean he is usually so perceptive?
Troy Campbell says
Everyone body wants the easy way out. The answers to most questions have been known since the beginning of time but they are not easy. You want to lose weight and be healthy, diet and exercise. You want to be wealthy, Earn, Save, Invest and maybe forgo some luxuries, pretty darn ESI in my opinion.
How was I able to retire at 48? How can I afford to travel around America and the world without having a job? ESI, the wife and I earned good money, saved a good deal of it and invested in our future.
I too have tried to help others along the way and almost all were unwilling to take even the first step. I usually advised they take full advantage of their 401k opportunity at work, most said they couldn’t afford to start contributing or to increase their contributions. Even after showing them the math they opted to spend vs. save.
I am now retired and travelling year round, they are still going to work every day to make ends meet.
Goes back to the old saying……people have a hard time separating a “need” from a “want!”
Frankly, I really doubt this will change.
Barak Strickland says
You’ve hit it on the nail head. I work with 2 other guys, one older, one younger than me. The younger has no savings, something that you could call a budget but really just resembles a “what do I have to pay this week”, no investments/savings etc etc etc….
The older guy has money, some investments, some savings and is very cautious at his age in regards to investing loss. (close to retirement).
Both he and I talk to the younger one fairly consistently about getting his “house” in order. But when you talk to him on a Monday what has he/family done? He forgot, he was busy, the kids needed xyz, I don’t understand (usually a sentence that means “I’m not going to try and understand”). My favorite is his statement “I gotta get it together but its sooo hard. There’s so much going on; you get distracted and then you spend money. Before you know it, its the next week and you got to start over…” ughhh
Both the older guy and I have pretty much given up on trying to explain things to him. If he asks we give a fairly simple answer and we don’t go into detail anymore. Some people just wont do what’s necessary.
Did I mention he’s 47 yrs old? Old enough to know better and there’s time enough to fix his problems.
I was 24 and had just started at my company and an old co-worker (I was young, so everyone was old!) told me to put some money in the 401k. Couldn’t get my head around why I would save for something that was 40+ years away, but I did. I’m now 52 and looking at the last 10-12 years before retirement and literally have a dog load (that’s a lot btw) in the 401k and have an affinity for saving.
All this is tied back to that one coworker that cared enough to get me on track. You may not be able to help this guy, but there are some that listen and are eternally grateful.
Agree with this article. And those who do nothing to help themselves are insanely jealous and demeaning to those of us who do. I retired at 56, one year past my goal of 55, only because I made a commitment to my boss to stay. Omg! I have been told “my husband and I discussed this and there is no way you can afford to retire”. Wow, had no idea you and your husband were so familiar with my finances. Another is “well, you have a husband”. Even if I didn’t, I would have still retired. Yes, it is better with 2 people, but it can be done alone too. I always depended only on me. Marriages can go south. Spouses can die. Jobs can end unexpectedly. Why anyone plans their lives as if there will always be 2 incomes is nuts. Whatever we purchased together including our home was based on the premise of only one income paying for it. Because you never know.
And “you worked for a good company, that’s why you can retire.” Sure, having a good job helps. So does contributing faithfully to your 401k, IRA, and brokerage!
You could do a keyword search and replace on just a few words and this post could be about weight loss and living a healthy lifestyle. Its the same old lessons of perseverance, motivation and dedication. Why are there so many poor/overweight, etc. people – because it’s easy and they can be – and it’s socially acceptable that none of it is their fault or doing.
Very good post and agree completely. For me it was frugality early and then as income increased I allowed for a little more fun but still very focused on the long game and being smarter than my peers with money.
That canoe, boat and helicopter story is one of my favorites.
Fred Leamnson says
Mr. r2e says
You can guide a horse to water but cannot make him drink.
I’ve had people who were in way over their heads try to convince me that carrying debt is a GOOD thing. You can’t even argue with people who situations have grown so out of their control that they’ve subconsciously convinced themselves that it’s good for them.
Them: “You need a mortgage so you can write off the interest, otherwise you’re throwing money away”
Me: “I thought I was throwing money away on the interest but call me crazy”
I never bragged about having our house paid off, but if people asked about our mortgage or house debt I just told them we had paid it off. Now I lie and just act like we’re still paying it off because I can’t have the above conversation anymore. Even when I had simplified it to: “You know what’s better than writing off interest and saving a couple grand on taxes? Saving 8 grand in interest.” Still couldn’t get my point across so I’ve given up.
Alicia H. says
I’ve never understood this logic of thinking…why would I pay $10 just to get $1 back?? What sense does that make??
Okay I got this one. It is critical to learn how the wealthy use debt to make money as you climb the financial ladder.
If you are doing it correctly, you are not paying $10 to get $1 back. You are paying $10 to get $30 back…let me explain.
Let’s say you have $500,000 in cash and buy a $500,000 home. If you pay cash for the property, you pay no interest, but have spent all of your ammunition. If you finance 80%, you pay interest on $400,000 and keep the $400,000 (less mortgage closing costs) to do as you please.
If you ultimately spend this $400,000 on Starbucks, boats, vacations then you are absolutely correct. You are better off buying the house in cash. Wealthy people take the $400,000 and appreciate that money at a rate higher than the mortgage interest rate, and in complicated ways.
I’m going to use my MI-119 interview as a real world example. I needed a $2.3 loan to finance a $4M commercial office building to move into from a smaller office building. I borrowed a $1.7M commercial loan at 3.5% 10 year fixed, the maximum conforming amount of $417,000 against my already paid off house at 2.75% 5 year arm, and $200,000 against my vehicles at 2% 6 year fixed.
What is paying all of this extra interest (about $70K/year) affording me? Space to grow my business, ultimately to 5x current revenue/income as tenants move out. In the meantime, I now have tenants in both buildings generating for me $300,000 in leases every year. Plus my business is growing at about 15% per year, much higher than my interest rates. I can also now depreciate 20,000 commercial sq ft against my income plus the loan interest on the office building and house. In addition, the real estate usually appreciates faster than the 2-3.5% interest rate, historically.
20,000 sq ft can ultimately support about $8M-$10M/year revenue in my industry so this has created for me a solid business infrastructure for the next 20 years.
This understanding of good debt, tax advantages, long term real estate returns, business expansion and so forth now allows me to earn a 7 figure income and afford an 8 figure net worth in our mid 40’s. At the current trajectory, our revenue and income should at least triple by the time we hit full retirement age. It gets more complicated as you move up the ladder, so it’s best to stay ahead by studying what might not make sense to you now. What I knew to be true yesterday is not what I know to be true today and will not be what will be true tomorrow as I get to the next level. That’s why continuing financial education (crystallized intelligence) and being able to adapt to new situations (fluid intelligence) are both necessary to understand this to your full potential.
Hope this helped!
Another real world example where carrying debt is a good thing.
Of my debts listed above, I recently rolled over $50K into 2 credit cards at 0% x 15 months (paid no balance transfer fee). You can see from my MI-119 interview I have more than enough cash to have paid this off with savings, but cash flow is critical when you are spending $1.5M/year as I am.
The money in savings is earning 2.45% with CIT bank, and my CD rates are earning up to 3.2% APY currently, so I still enjoy these returns on cash positions while using other people’s money (bank’s) to bankroll some debt at 0% to be paid off before the intro. rate expires. I’ve been doing the 0% card thing for decades.
I just recently (past 2-3 yrs) started doing this as a way to make money since I can’t work outside the home (full-time caregiver). I have a friend who is so afraid of debt, they buy everything with a debit card. Meanwhile, I’m making tax-free intro bonuses, 2-10% rewards, plus interest on the money set aside to cover whatever is spent–so technically not in debt as the balances cost me nothing in interest and could be paid off at any time.
My utilization ratio is less than 10% and my credit score is still above 800. Done right, credit is good.
Fritz @ TheRetirementManifesto says
Change? But that’s so HARD! Can’t you change ESI to Easy Solutions Immediately?
Great post, I share your frustration.
B + P * E = R
Behavior, process, and energy equal results. Absent any one of those three, results suffer. This is so obvious but also so easily lost in our culture where, as you say, people want results but don’t want to make even basic changes in behavior. This is also why our country is $22 trillion in debt and a out to five headlong into Socialism in the coming decade. We want everyone else to do something for us, we are incapable of owning our own results.
I see this all the time too, and it used to drive me nuts until finally, this sunk in: there is NO financial solution to an emotional problem. I’m sure you’ve thought about this, but people have emotional needs the same as they have financial ones. And spiritual ones.
Sometimes, a person has emotional problems and those show up in finances. (I’d argue that *most* serious emotional problems show up in finances, whether it’s an inability to put in boundaries with someone, an unhealthy attachment, lack of self-control, or whatever.)
Maybe boat guy is using the boat to deal with tremendous insecurity about his manhood as a result of losing the job. Or maybe his parents did things that taught him to be that way – things that need to be dealt with. Either way, some financial coaching isn’t going to get him there.
That’s one reason why I actually *like* talking finances: it leads you to the heart of the things someone is dealing with in life. It gives you clues to those that might take a lot longer to see otherwise. Though sometimes/often, there’s no financial solution; the solution is in another realm entirely. And all the money coaching in the world isn’t going to help someone understand boundaries, for instance. Or see why filling a spiritual hole with money is never going to work…
Love the rant!!! Unfortunately, 90% won’t get it. Can’t fix stupid!!!
Good stuff…. partially why I keep reading this website.. I know there is room for improvement for myself! But ESI here are some things that MAY help you from getting so crazed.
I’ll throw myself in the bucket of not being super willing to change! I do a pretty good job of managing my money but the wealth I have is mostly because of my Earnings… I’m not as frugal as I could be. I’m also in the category of: I want to lose more weight and get fitter. LOL
A few things I think contribute to bad behaviors:
1) Parents. Many times parents don’t help their kids understand “money” and health (or know how to)… and the consequences of not taking care of both early in life. When you are young you always think you have time and are invincible.
2) Habits. Don’t ask me why… but some habits are just hard to break. I can’t for the life of me give up my coffee with cream and sugar… as one example. Maybe I’m weak buy my desire for good tasting food outweighs my desire to lose more weight I guess. 🙁 I do exercise regularly though. 🙂
3) Schools. Schools focus on so many things but why don’t they have mandatory classes to teach basic budgeting, savings, etc. I’ve talked with some “smart” college students that really didn’t understand how compounding interest on student loans effected them. Yikes.
4) Being able to see long term consequences of today’s behaviors. I think this is the biggest issue. Many people are just simply too short sighted. Some people are just better planners.
Although it’s frustrating… it’s healthy IMO to keep fighting the good fight… to encourage people to make better decisions in life. If you can impact a few that’s a good thing right?
Re point 3. My 7 year old (2nd grader) goes to a very financially diverse public elementary school. There are families at his school that are new refugees to America, who live far below the poverty line and there are families at his school that bring in over $1 – million/year, with every income level in between. They just had a multi-week lesson on needs vs. wants and went on a field trip to the Young American’s Center for Financial Education where they learned about saving, interest and some more money basics.
I learned over the years (at work, with friends and family, watching people, general observation) that common sense is no where near as common as most people think… with health, relationships, personal finance, spending patterns, etc. Perhaps it takes something special to avoid the bombardment people are exposed to daily — advertising and marketing, lifestyle comparisons, Facebook experiences, etc. etc. etc. I don’t think so… but a lot of people seem to be paddling in the wrong direction.
Love this post! You covered all the bases and my complaints about society today… entitlement without any effort… !
Paper Tiger (aka MI-27) says
I guess they call it the “The Top 1%” for a reason.
Paper Tiger (aka MI-27) says
One extra “the” but you get my point.
Great post … and spot on. As a consulting engineer, some clients wanted their problem solved, but didn’t want to change anything or spend money. Even when it was costing them money.
Same thing with those asking how to break into consulting. Many wanted the independence, but didn’t want to take the risk or a temporary cut in pay/expenses, or make the effort to start a business.
But those who made the efforts to change or improve were rewarded. Personally now enjoying the “semi-retired” life of financial independence. Semi-retired because I enjoy it, not because I need the money. I also enjoy your blog — keep up your good work!
This article is soooooo, spot on. It’s always about discipline. Surprisingly, most folks just don’t have it. It can be improving your: health, golf game, relationships, career, financial well being, whatever…. without the discipline to change, it just ain’t gonna happen.
You can lead a horse to water….. Comes to mind.
It is sad but true that in this society we have been conditioned to look for the quick get rich get fit quick type schemes that are out there. Even if some fad diet works or you hit the lottery there have been so many cases where people quickly go back to how it was before because they did not earn the results and thus quickly lose them.
People view doctors as making high income and some may even be outraged but they have no idea how many years of sacrifice it took for that individual to get to that level and start making that amount (not to mention the amount of debt he or she had to incur because of it).
We see others and want to get what they have without the work.
My wife is a physician and I have learned is people don’t want to hear her or my opinion on personal finance because she “has it easy” and (in their view) was gifted a sudden, lottery-like high income.
It’s easy to overlook the sacrifices she made during school and then those we made as a married couple during her residency. Sure, now we are comfortable (~8 yrs post residency) but we worked hard to save then and still do now.
We used to teach the three R’s in school. Now it’s only two R’s, rights and responsibilities. Everything you want is a right, and you have no responsibilities.
Nurture plays such a large role. People hear daily about all these rights they are entitled too. So if you want something, it’s your right to have it. Unemployed and want a bass boat, it’s a basic human right.
It’s reinforced daily in education. If they actually taught basic financial concepts, that would insinuate that you might have some responsibility for your own success and outcomes. We can’t be teaching responsibility.
So please continue preaching (and/or ranting) to the choir here. I think most of us have been down the same road as you have and can identify 100%. I know I can!
Great rant! True words be told!
ESI, a thought for your consideration: ‘Whining’ and ‘complaining’ and ‘asking’ all feel like ‘actions.’ As long as these people feel like they are ‘taking action’, then they won’t have to make the real changes that even they know they must make.
“Whining, complaining, asking” is a passive-aggressive way to put the responsibility somewhere other than where it directly belongs.
And there is an old saying I will amend here for this: “The issue is never ‘the issue.'” We’ve all seen this, maybe we’ve done it. But when someone introduces a conflict, i.e. “it’s too hard” “I don’t understand (I don’t want to try to understand)” “that won’t work”, etc. that isn’t the real conflict. The real conflict is that they won’t take action, and as long as they are arguing, whining, complaining, asking, etc. they don’t have to take action.
So, you are in the clear, and absolved from giving these people any space in your head anymore. Feel free to tell them to, “BEGONE!”:-)
Impulse. Stubbornness. Accumulation of “stuff”. Advised regarding all that in my recent interview:
The sad reality is that the people who are willing to change are the people who have changed, many of whom are the personalities that have done your millionaire interviews or worth far more.
Others need a financial rebirth but that takes an awakening from what the government and corporate puppeteers tell them they “need” to buy, how much they’re worth at work, or what type of benefits and returns they have to settle for.
No wonder upward mobility has been so elusive for the masses. The masses are very easy to herd, with seemingly very little independence of thought. The government and corporate America know this all too well, hence the power of mass marketing, and now targeted marketing online using what they know about you to influence your spending. God forbid you save it for your peace of mind rather than spend to feed corporate America and pay uncle Sam his sales tax.
As for me and the many educated readers here, we are willing to change day to day, month to month, and year to year. Otherwise there is no accumulation of wisdom, knowledge, and wealth.
I’m also heartened as I hear millennial’s have caught on to this, and have disrupted conventional wisdom on things like housing, automobiles, luxury expenditures, and savings rates.
So ESI, hang on to hope, maybe your sites have stirred a tectonic generational shift with the younger crowd focused on results and willing to make the necessary changes.
Young Limey says
Very well said!
Here’s to the tectonic generational shift.
Ranting is good once in awhile. I don’t mind helping people once or twice but if it doesn’t sink in, then it is time to stop offering advice even when requested. I’m worried about my nephews since my brother and his wife believe their children NEED so much. They will get a shock when they enter college and job market, unlike your daughter. It might be too late to help them, but I wait in the side lines and hopefully can assist with words, not financially.
So many of us, keep trying to help people since we have hope they can change or want to change eventually.
Sometimes I think the people making these complaints don’t want to actually be in a different situation. What they want is affirmation from someone else that they are just unlucky (or some other synonym).
I wonder what their reaction would be if instead of offering criticism you went the other way:
Oh, I know what you mean. You NEEDED the boat and the manicure. Those wealthier than you are just luckier. They pretend like they don’t do the same things as you, but in truth they knew a guy/got lucky on a stock/we’re friends with their boss/are secretly deep in debt. It isn’t you, it’s them.
Were friends. I hate autocorrect.
Young Limey says
I have to say-I love the rants!
I don’t talk about money openly, so it is interesting to hear your perspective of trying to help others. That is so frustrating.
For me, I think the challenge for lots of people, at least with the financial disconnect, is they are fighting billions of advertising dollars at work to convince them to spend.
If you make a lot of money, think of how happy and fulfilled you will be if you spend it!
When just the opposite is true.
This was a therapeutic read, thanks ESI. Despite all the negative though, I’m sure you have affected many through this website and in your personal life. A young colleague (26) told me she is now participating in her employer’s retirement program thanks to my urging, and I am so proud. I try to think of moments like those when I am frustrated with these kinds of stories.
Financial Samurai says
Oh man! That help from God parable was amazing. I guess people just see things differently and even if opportunity is smacking them in the face, they wont reach out and grab it.
Why quit when you can keep on going? I asked myself this every time I want to just kick back. But I need to kick back more as an old man now.
Great post. The rant is justified and inspiring !!
It seems that people justify various ways to have cash on hand and spend it than have their money do the work for you to grow for the future. Some people live for immediate gratification and then get into all kinds of trouble at retirement. Then starts the blaming of government, wall street, employer, insurance, other people, etc. What I have found is that all this stems from personal issues of unable to understand their psychology (mind and behavior) that is giving them deceptive messages. Our brains are wired based on our childhood, watching others (society, celebrities, wanna-be’s) and many years of wrong behaviors. Creating new pathways to have a different learning doesn’t come unless one is committed to it through learning, therapy and practice. How to be content, happy and do the right thing can only come through understanding & admitting one’s own issues and making changes to it.
This has been a learning process for myself and today I am happy and content. I enjoy life more than ever before. I think my networth is growing more rapidly than ever before because my needs are different.
Thanks for the post.
Ellen Mitchell says
These folks get what they deserve. Moving on…
Little Seeds of Wealth says
Old habits die hard. Most people don’t have the discipline required to put up with short-term sacrifices.
But I’m sure you advice doesn’t always fall on deaf ears! Seeing people like you inspires me and others to start my blog and get more serious on my journey towards FIRE.
I worked for a major company with a great savings plan for 34 years. When I first started I asked a guy retiring what advice he had and it was to always maximize the contributions into the savings and stock plan. He was right. This, along with a good career, allowed me to comfortably retire.
Loved the rants, and couldn’t agree more… Reminds me of the marshmallow experiment with little kids. You know the one…where only a handful of kids can delay gratification a few moments to get a second “extra” marshmallow…while the vast majority decide to just choke their one marshmallow down right away and get no second…
But here is the scarier questions, if we don’t try to educate those kids… What happens when that small group of kids has skewed to largely 99% marshmallow chokers? Will they decide to vote as a majority to grab the delayed gratification kids marshmallows? Will the chokers chose a sharing paradigm that shares everyone’s marshmallows equally? Will the chokers decide to penalize the delayed gratification kids in order to get more of their marshmallows? Or will they choose to redistribute the marshmallows in a more equal manner, so no one is left out? Makes you think…
(Awww Crap…now I want another marshmallow!) ?
I always thought I would have been the kid that would have ended up with 3 marshmallows. If they had given me the two I still would have waited with an eye on the possible third. laughing
I’m the same way Debbie. I do think it’s a certain amount of internal wiring we are born with, but I also think a lot can be learned (by many, but probably not all…unfortunately). Enjoy your marshmallows! ?
This is one of your best posts. Remembered a few years back when I had damage from a tropical storm and had to pay out of pocket to remove 3 large downed trees out of my backyard to a tune of 2 months of my income. One of my co-workers said to me “you are lucky you have money to throw at it.” Luck had nothing to do with it. I’ve been saving part of my income since I started working at 15. Have always lived by Pay Yourself first, budget for now and save for future needs/wants/emergencies. No luck, just being responsible for years with my money like my parents taught me.
I’ve heard that parable many times and it never gets old.
Anything good I’ve received in life has come from hard work. And you know what follows? A good night’s sleep.
One word sums up the behavior you described – entitled. Entitlement is a sick state of mind.