MasterPo says: This blog is about topics and issues that are of importance to me. I am not one of the countless blogging lemmings that are tripping over each other scurrying down the hill and off the cliff of blogging oblivion trying to write the greatest blog on the latest topic de'jour. Your comments are welcome.

August 1, 2008

For Crying Out Loud - Learn How to Handle Money!

I have often read (and heard) the average American carries a credit card balance of $10,000!

I'm not surprised (any more).

The more I live the more I meet people who just don't have a clue how to handle money. They have absolutely NO self control. They get a dollar, they spend a dollar.

I've spent my share of money on frivoless things, momentary pleasures, things I only use once, and things that are still in the wrapper in the back of the closet. I have some fish lures that I bought 20 years ago to this day still haven't touched the water!

But I never bought things I couldn't afford (or at least reasonable foresee how to afford) with in the boundaries of my means. I never bought something for fun or pleasure and threw caution to the wind about how to pay for it later. Or worse, spend money I needed for food, gas, rent etc. on a moment's pleasure or little bobble and then wonder how to pay the important bills.

But I see that happening with people all around me.

I know a woman who's 29 y/o and acts like a 10 y/o. I've seen her spend $100 on cheap junk jewelry and then complain she doesn't have the money for food or gas to get home! I've seen her buy a tray Starbucks Grande cappuccinos for friends on a daily basis but doesn't have the money to repair her car! I've seen her spend $14 on really cheap sunglass (and it wasn't an urgent situation that she needed them) but say she'll forgo food for the rest of the day because she can't afford it.

I know people that when a once-in-a-life-time trip is suggested they immediately step back and say "Well I have no money so I can't go" but they go out drinking 2-3 or more nights a week! And don't forget the concert tickets every other weekend!

This isn't just a young person's problem. Older people are just the same.

Some years ago I worked with a man named Patrick (not the same Patrick from the fishing community I will be discussing in a later article). He told me his goal was to retire early at 55 (he was in his early 30's when I knew him) and travel the world. Good goal. But he wouldn't put a dime into a retirement account! We discussed at length IRA's (back then the annual max was $2,000). He said he didn't have two grand to put in. OK, how about half now, half later in the year? Couldn't do that either. How about $500 spread out over 4 times during the year? Still couldn't do it. How about $100 per pay check? Nope. How about each week one night a week instead of going out to dinner putting the money into an IRA? That was just too much too. I'm not sure what ever became of him and his goals. You can only help a person so much and I'm not into banging my head against the wall.

People – listen up!

Learn how to manage money!!! Don't go for the crap about "What if I die today? I can't take it with me!". I'll take odds that you will survive the day to see tomorrow and the next day and the next. Except now you won't have 2 pennies to scrape together.

One other point: You're embarrassing yourself when you say and act like that. People know you have a job and you blow your money on crap. So when you say you have no money people talk. And it isn't pleasant talk. You're making a very bad reputation for yourself. People will only have sympathy for so long until they realize you have money to spend on junk but not on what counts.

I'm banging my head. And it hurts.

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Anonymous said...

I sent this essay to my kids who are in their 20s. Thanks!


MasterPo said...

You're welcome. I hope they find inspiration from it. Learn how to handle money is sooooo important for young people and the schools fail miserably at it.

Good luck.

Everyday Finance said...

Yeah, I like this one. Aside from a complete lack of interest from schools teaching this topic, I think kids learn a lot from their parents. There are plenty of pretty poor money manager parents out there; tough to expect the kids to be the adult in the relationship. I had a friend who mowed lawns in the summer and his parents were always bumming money off him to cover the bills. What kind of message is this sending?