Don't Wait to Have Denial Knocked Out of You

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I'm the type of person who is always waiting for the other shoe to drop. I don't like surprises. Security, especially financial security, is of the utmost importance to me. I would never in a million years extend myself financially to the point of becoming bankrupt if something in my life changed. My rainy day fund could last the rest of my life, if need be. I've planned it this way. I'm extraordinarily frugal, which has put me in a stellar position when it comes to money. I don't concern myself with how much I've got because I've got plenty of it and I spend hardly any of it. This is all by design. It's become such a way of life for me that I hardly even think of it anymore. It's because of all this that I'm floored every time I hear a story (which is quite often) about how an individual or a couple are thrust into the throes of bankruptcy, foreclosure, or repossession. I mean seriously, who gets their house foreclosed on or car repossessed? Doesn't anyone do math anymore. Doesn't anyone own a calculator? Windows 10 comes with a calculator built right into the operating system. You'd think that before someone makes the most likely largest purchase of their life, they'd pull that calculator out to add up how much it's going to cost them. And you'd also think that before a person extended themself so far, they'd do a bit of financial figuring to see how bad things would be if they lost their income. I thought this type of thinking was par for the course. I guess not because there are thousands upon thousands or foreclosures and repossessions every single day. It's really too bad.

I remember the time before I bought my first house. I was so cautious that I went into my boss's office to ask if my job was secure. I explained that I was about to buy a house and I wanted to be extra careful about my income. She affirmed that I was in good hands, which put me at ease. Right after I bought the house, she was fired. That one shook me. It hasn't taken many of these types of experiences to force me into my current ways of thinking. I've cut it close far too many times. I don't enjoy the feeling.

This section of Dave's book talks about a couple who went out on a financial limb too far. Apparently, they were in denial about their circumstances. The female, Sara, had two kids from a previous marriage. She married a male named Dave and both were very comfortable with their finances. Sara made $45,000 per year and Dave made $30,000. They had student loans, car loans, and $5,000 on their credit card. Because they were so comfortable, they decided to have a brand new house built. When the house was finished, the couple took on a big mortgage, which was no big deal because they felt that they made enough money to pay for it. Just as luck would have it though, right after the family moved into their new home, Sara was fired from her job. Now, they were down to only $30,000 per year. They couldn't make ends meet and they were facing foreclosure on the house, repossession of the vehicles, and bankruptcy to cover the credit cards. This type of story absolutely astounds me. And it annoys me to no end. I'll explain why next.

I find that people who inflict harm upon themselves oftentimes seek out understanding and sympathetic souls to confide in. Their goal is to dampen the blows of reality. The reality of their own bad choices. All too often, these souls are found and the people who are confided in attempt to sooth the feelings of or help those who have harmed themselves. On the surface, this seems like a noble endeavor. Sure, we all like to help those who are down and out, but the question is, should we? I say we shouldn't, which may be an unpopular view.

I believe in allowing others to hit rock bottom and then allow them to find a way to crawl out of the hole they dug - all by themselves. After all, it was them who put themselves there. Plus, we mustn't forget that the very people who need financial help were those very people who enjoyed all the benefits of their own spending. So let me get this right; I'm supposed to feel bad for and help a couple who bought a big beautiful house they couldn't afford, drove brand new cars, swam in a pool every weekend, and had friends over for BBQs in their back yard, all while I was sitting alone in my small house, working my fingers to the bone in an effort to save money to live the rest of my life in some semblance of comfort?

Dave's word of the day in this section of his book was denial. I'd say he's onto something.

Let's translate this into something that's being discussed in the political spectrum right now. I'm supposed to feel bad for someone who's got tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of college debt - someone who enjoyed all the perks of a four-year private college in a beautiful town, who ate the wonderful food at the dining hall (that was cooked for them, mind you), enjoyed the "college experience" in a dormitory, hung out with friends, had the times of their life, went out to bars, and earned a degree, all while I was in my lousy broken down car attending a local community college while living with my parents? I don't think so. I'm simply not into rewarding someone who has enjoyed the benefits of their own frivolous financial escapades. Don't come crying after the house of cards has fallen. This is why I say people need to hit rock bottom. If there's a safety net for a kid who went to college on someone else's dime, they'll certainly morph into an adult who will be just as irresponsible. We don't need anymore irresponsible adults, which is why I'm into tough love. You borrowed? You can't pay it back? You fail. If you're a college kid who borrowed too much money to have an awesome time at a great college, too bad. Spend the rest of your life suffering and in debt. If you're a couple who posted pictures of your big brand new house that you couldn't afford on Facebook and then were foreclosed on the minute you hit a bump in the road, too bad. You fail. I guess you're living in a motel. I think the motel living will even out the high life you enjoyed for too long. It'll also teach you a lesson about finance. One you should have thought about after enjoying the rush of signing those mortgage papers.

I know this may sound harsh to some who are reading this. You know what though? It's called being an adult. Adults don't look for handouts and help climbing up and out of a mess they created out of irresponsibility and thoughtlessness. Do you want to know what adults do? They plan and calculate and prepare. They're cautious. They have integrity and decency. They don't go on vacation after one of the two parents gets laid off of his or her job, just because "the stress of the situation is too much". They don't go on vacation, period. Do you know when the family goes on vacation? When there's enough money in the bank to carry them for the next ten years. What a novel idea.

This post is part of a series: The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
 
Don't Wait to Have Denial Knocked Out of You was posted on 06-04-2021 by Phoenix1 in the Finance Forum forum.
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