By Catalyst Lindsay Burke.
Let’s be honest. Money matters. Not always for the reasons we think, but yes- it is our livelihood, a major tool in building our physical security! If you are anything like I was 10 years ago, you may be feeling like money controls your life.
Are you living paycheck-to-paycheck?
Do you find it hard to put anything away into savings?
Are you overwhelmed with credit card debt, car payments, or student loans that never seem to end?
Do you see other people have all these nice things and feel like you’ll never get there?
I totally get it. Been there. It sucks. It is literally the bottom of the pyramid on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs…security…safety…. People who tell you that money does not matter are lying, or maybe they have never been broke. I have been broke. It sucks and made me realize how much it matters.
Being broke is motivation…I was not broke for long, but it was just long and humiliating enough for me to get my act together. If you are interested in hearing my “sob” story in more depth (as long as you promise not to laugh!) you can check out my video course, but I won’t bore you here. Anyways, I kept thinking- “Hey, I’m smart! Why can I not get this?!” Long story short, I started reading everything I could find on money management, building wealth, and picked the brains of everyone I knew who seem to be “free” of financial burden. Yes, they still had bills, but they seemed to be doing the things I dreamed of…traveling, taking classes, and NOT STRESSING ABOUT MONEY!
One super cool person who advised me was my cousin, who will still walk two blocks before parking at a parking meter. When I asked her about it she said, “I know what I can turn a doller into…it’s not worth it.” Wow. Okay. So, I needed to change my lifestyle. It is not always easy and, sure, we (my husband and I) break the rules and get off course occasionally, but we actually have a pretty cool system down now.
In 5 years, my husband and I bought and paid for two cars, planned and paid for our out-of-state wedding, and paid for most of my graduate school, spent a minimum of $5000 per year on travel and paid for a red-light ticket (Aghm, $1500- Yes, Beverly Hills tickets are rough! Shhh…don’t tell my mother!). During one of these years my husband was completing and internship and did not work, and I did not work for one year to complete my MFT traineeship. How did we do this? Besides eating a lot of potatoes and carrots, we lived within our means! Yes, I would be lying if I said we have not stressed a little here or there about money and, man, it is hard saying no to certain things, but for the most part we have had the best 5 years without being anxious about making ends meet. I have learned a ton and I just want to share a few things with you.
The MYTH: Everyone has credit card and loan debt. It is okay and normal.
Have you heard that funny term labeling people as “Forty thousand dollar millionaires”? Sorry, Austin, Texas, but I have heard there are a lot of you down there. I met one a year ago- a couple through some friends of ours who invited us over for a barbeque. They were the same age as my husband and me, had their bachelor degrees and both had pretty decent, medium income, 40-hour-a-week jobs, but damn! When I saw where they lived I (seriously) thought, “I’m really doing something wrong here…I must be failing or doing something wrong…My husband and I look like we’re nearly homeless compared to these two!” How in the world could they afford all this on those incomes? Maybe they have wealthy relatives, or somehow made it in the investing world in their early 20’s, but woah! They both had new high-end vehicles, a beautiful two-bedroom home with an enormous back yard in the heart of the very expensive Los Angeles (not sure where you are reading this from, but it is nearly impossible to buy a home for under $1.5 million here these days, and renting one like that is, minimum, $2,500/month), their furniture was all leather, the house looked like it was decorated by a professional agency, they had a fire pit, outdoor furniture out of some high-end magazine and they were traveling to these amazing destinations at least twice a year. How were they doing it? I had to know. So, the nosey me did what I do best…I asked nosey questions. And I got answers….
Credit cards and loans. Eeeek! What was the honest truth? They did not own a thing. They were in EXTRORDINARY debt and had zero savings. Ah! They had car loans, every vacation went on credit cards, they had payment plans with the stores for all of their furniture and they even owed the interior decorator a monthly fee until they payed her in full. Shewee! They were only able to afford the minimum monthly payments on all of these bills so, as you can imagine, the interest was through the roof! At one point, my new friend admitted to me that they were on 30+ year payment plans for most of this stuff. Ahhh!! It was all I could do not to grab her, shake her and say, “You’ve been lied to!” Think about it, she would be paying off this stuff longer than it would most likely last. That couch is going to need replacing in 10-15 years…those cars- what if they needed to be replaced? Then, they would take on another loan while they are paying off the first one?
Now, I’m not saying all of this to just point my finger and say ‘shame on you’ to this sweet couple- they were, obviously, taught that this was the way to do things. I learned the hard way, myself. However, this is what the media teaches us- the glamorous Kardashians and Cribs shows make us feel that what we have is not enough. Success is measured by the niceness and newness of our stuff.
So, let me tell you the truth: Debt is a tremendous burden and is NOT used by wealthy people nearly as much as we are led to believe.
Debt is also a sure way to stay poor for a very, very, very, very, very…..long time.
Credit card companies want you to live outside your means…this is how they profit! So, this is the lie they tell us in the form of “points” and “flyer miles.”
Nowadays, people seem to talk about car loans as if they are a normal, acceptable form of obtaining a vehicle. No. No. No! I rode my bike to work for two months when I could not afford a car so that we could save money. Let me just say, the bonus was that it got me into the best shape of my life! You are better off riding the bus and saving for a few more months/years than taking out a loan for a car. Do you know that most millionaires drive 5+ year old Fords and Hondas? Yup, those fancy cars you see celebrities driving around in- most of them are rented by some agency promoting that person or vehicle.
Start to get to know your local Goodwill and Consignment Shop and, let me tell you, I do not care if my husband and I can afford the new stuff…there is no more satisfaction for me than getting an amazing piece of furniture for nearly no cost at a yard sale or estate sale! Win!
Sure, it is inconvenient taking the bus, driving and old beat-up vehicle, finding quality used furniture and having to vacation locally than going abroad, but guess what…it is MISERABLE going bankrupt. Living within your means is called being a responsible adult. Grow up! Be a little uncomfortable! Welcome to the real world (not the show…that one is completely fake… and those cars are rented)!
So, the point is, it is time to start living within your means. What does that look like?
I just made a video course giving you A STEP BY STEP PROVEN METHOD on how to get out of your personal debt.
It also comes with an invite to a secret FB group that I will be in so that I can answer any of your questions and make you accountable by keeping the dialogue going.
If you’re ready to get out of debt,