The Pain of Change

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Phoenix1

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They say it was Einstein who said, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." According to the interwebs though, he actually never said that. It wasn't until the 1980s that someone thought to attribute the quote to him. Regardless of who said it, it's a brilliant way of thinking and I like to repeat the quote often. Far too many of us continue to do the same things and expect different results. I guess many of us are insane.

Dave Ramsey said something that's similar to what Einstein allegedly said. He said, "If you keep doing the same things, you'll keep getting the same results." What he's talking about here has to do with finances. People get in all sorts of financial trouble by doing stupid things with their money. The problem is, the more they do stupid things, the more comfortable they become doing them; the more they form bad habits that are difficult to break. When the time for change rolls around, people don't want to do anything because they've become so set in their ways. It's terrible because when people get in situations such as these, they wait until the pain of staying where they are and not doing anything about is greater than the pain of changing. And sometimes, that's too late. They may never recover from their financial mismanagement. Or, at the very least, the effort it takes to change will have become much greater than was necessary.

Sometimes, spending money brings comfort to those who are stressed out. I know quite a few people in my life who have done financially irresponsible things when they were under great stress. I know someone who went on vacation as she was being evicted from her apartment. I know someone who went shopping for a new handbag right after she was fired from her job. I know someone who borrowed money to build a new garage right after getting divorced and losing tons of money in the process. I know someone who tried to buy a house after being laid off for over a year. These are all examples of people who are attempting to burrow into what they know and what they're comfortable with when they're under stress. They know how to spend and they know that spending makes them feel good, so why not spend when they're feeling bad? Perhaps it'll help the situation. We all know it won't. The people need to change their habits so when they do hit hard times, the stress won't be so great.

The trick is to add discipline to your life. Financial discipline, that is. Don't put yourself into situations where you're forced to spend money you really shouldn't. Or that you need to borrow because you don't have any. If you buy that fancy imported whatever and need to maintain it often, is the maintenance cost going to set you back? Of course it will. Be smart. If you get married to a bum and you know you'll need to support him or her, is that going to cost you all of your savings and then some? Of course it will. Avoid bums at all cost. If you go to the mall and buy a bunch of stuff you don't need, is paying the credit card bill going to be a challenge for you? Of course it will. Don't be a mall rat and buy stuff you never needed in the first place. Don't be financially stupid.

The goal is to pay off all your debt and then close down all of your credit card accounts. Get caught up on your bills and then slash your spending to college era levels. Then, begin saving and after that, investing. You need to get ahead of the curve and stop trying to catch of to it. Catching up to the curve is a loser's game. It's like being on a treadmill. You never get anywhere.

In closing, I'll tell you that getting in financial shape won't be easy. You'll be trying to change, but your friends and family won't be. And they most likely won't be on board to your lifestyle changes. If you used to go out to a big Italian restaurant with your family every Friday and then suddenly stop, you'll likely get pushback from those who used to go with you. If you used to vacation with friends every year and suddenly stop, expect some pushback from your friends. When you stop attending weddings and giving big gifts, expect to hear about it. Birthday parties, bridal showers, anniversary presents - you get the idea. When those who are close to you are used to a certain lifestyle, they will give you all sorts of hell when you attempt to disrupt it. People don't take too kindly to having their lives changed, especially when they're having a gay ol' time.

This post is part of a series: The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
 
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The Pain of Change was posted on 06-04-2021 by Phoenix1 in the Finance Forum forum.

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