"Annual income, twenty pounds; annual expenditure, nineteen pounds; result, happiness. Annual income, twenty pounds; annual expenditure, twenty-one pounds; result, misery." — Charles Dickens
"His brow is wet with honest sweat,
He earns whate’er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face,
For he owes not any man." — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (The Village Blacksmith)
You’ll have to forgive me because this post is going to be a bit of a rant.
It’s going to be a rant based on my personal and professional passion to free people from the bondage of debt slavery.
I was freed from this servitude myself about 15 years ago ($43k Paid Off!) and the process before, during and after debt changed my life forever.
I want that so desperately for the 78% of my fellow peeps out there that live paycheck to paycheck and have staggering and growing levels of debt.
Break the spell. Cut up the cards.
The only way to be able to do this is to break this unbelievable spell that’s been cast on us as a culture.
It’s the spell of “more is more” and “you can have it all” and “same as cash”.
It’s ridiculous and we all fall for it at least once in our lives. Hopefully, only once, but not likely.
And the only way to break this spell is to reconnect our consumption with our income.
Yes, it’s disconnected and it’s killing us.
Another way of saying this is how Dave Ramsey admonishes, “act your wage”.
It’s a problem, without a doubt. Yet, we seem to be going further and further into debt
Just take a look at this chart from "Visualizing Americans’ Debt Problem" chart:
This is not an easy process. Our culture has made it extremely difficult to do this because of:
This used to be known as "keeping up with the Joneses".
The hard truth is that you can’t keep up. You don’t make enough money and you never will.
Why? Because it’s all an illusion. It’s all a construct designed to have you easily and painlessly part ways with your hard earned (mostly digitized) cash.
I’m here to help you reprogram your brain. You MUST reprogram your brain! Economics is warfare! Everyone is trying to “get in your pockets” and you MUST wake up to that if you’re ever going to win at this game.
It’s a game for the system but it’s a matter of life and death for you.
Dramatic words I know, but this type of language is warranted when 78% of our population lives paycheck to paycheck and couldn’t afford a $400 emergency.
Do you Pinterest? Pinning this to your favorite board just might help someone in your circle of influence to reconnect their consumption patterns with their actual income. Eh?
It’s been such an eye opening experience for me to see that most of the clients I coach make plenty of money.
The abundance of money is usually not the problem. The problem is their ability to hold onto it. The problem is that they don’t live on a budget.
They don’t see every dollar that comes into their hands as a “little worker” that has a specific job. The problem is they are almost completely disconnected from the limits of their actual income.
And the system makes it so easy for them to foster that disconnect. In fact, most of them don’t think about it at all.
I used to be among them.
Stop trying to outrun your overconsumption. Get on a budget and try cultivating contentment with what you have instead.
I just thought I would always be able to out-earn my purchases, my desires, my irresponsibility.
I had to learn the hard way that it just doesn’t work that way. It never has and it never will.
That’s why I want for you to look at this as warfare and get back control of your money.
Do you really want to be in this position or WAY worse in 5-10 years?
I have people contact me all the time who say they’re ready to retire and want to know if they have enough money.
My internal response usually goes something like this, "REALLY?! You're at "retirement age" and you don't know whether or not you have enough money?"
While I never respond like this outwardly, my internal reaction is visceral and ultimately boils down to my anger and disappointment at how financially illiterate we are as a culture.
It's truly shocking that there are millions of people arriving at "retirement age" that have neither been educated nor have taken it upon themselves to sit down and do the numbers to see how much would money they would have needed to accumulate.
Now, I don’t want to be too harsh on anyone because I understand the deep and pervasive indoctrination that we all undergo every single day.
And, unless you've made a very specific and concerted effort to separate yourself from the indoctrination, you're likely getting swept up in the consumption wave just like everyone else.
Unfortunately, the public education system is part of the indoctrination equation.
All of this financial illiteracy, I believe stems from an indoctrination to consumption and not to critical thought or even basic economic analysis.
You'll You see, retirement is not an age, it’s a financial number. And that number is revealed by a simple question. How much annual income will I need during my retirement?
But no one teaches us to ask that question. Some financial advisors might, but for the most part, that type of conversation is absent from our culture. Our education (really schooling) system is completely checked out on this and really ANY other piece of teaching solid personal financial literacy.
It’s all sad and it’s all true and there’s only one thing to do, teach people to exactly how to reconnect their spending with their actual income.
The best way I know to help you make this reconnection is with a free resource I publish called "The 8 Steps to Erase Debt". This is the exact formula I followed over a decade ago to pay off $43,000+ of debt in 2.5 years.
This is a resource that will help you:
1. Organize your finances
2. Get on a long-term, sustainable budget
3. Eliminate your debt, once and for all
4. Encourage the aspirational goal of working toward Financial Independence (FI)
0. Stop All Retirement Investing (Until Step 4)2. Starter Emergency Fund of $10003. Eliminate Debts Smallest To Largest (a.k.a The Debt Snowball)4. Full Emergency Fund of 3-6+ Months’ Expenses5. Invest A Minimum of 15% Income Into Retirement Accounts (and increase savings rate to 50%+ if possible)6. College Funding (if applicable)7. Pay Off The Home Mortgage8. Build Wealth, Serve, Be Ridiculously Generous And Go FI (Financial Independence)!