Every so often I write a post about the type of sacrifices one needs to make to stay out of debt and become wealthy. I then get a comment back saying that the advise is unrealistic. No one could buy a house and have payments of less than 25% of their take-home pay. No one could wait ten years after college to buy a house while they are paying off student loans. No one could do without a cell phone, or a car, or a vacation.
Excuses are what keep people in poverty and keep people in debt. “If I get a job, I’ll be earning less than I am on welfare.” “If I don’t have a cell phone, how can I stay in touch with people?” “There are no houses in my area safe to live in that cost that little.” “I can’t move to find a job because all of my family and friends are here.”
Such excuses are signs of enabling. This may be enabling from the government – people don’t improve themselves and get out of poverty because the government gives them just enough to pay for food and shelter, so they live a miserable existence of bitterness and jealousy. This may be enabling from a friend or family member who pays your rent or lets you live at home so you can keep living like a teenager, spending any money you do earn on alcohol and pleasure rather than starting to build your life. This may be enabling from yourself, telling yourself there is no other way but to stay in the job you have and never move up and that there is no way you could save the money needed to invest and increase your income.
In America, there are many stories of people who came from desperate poverty that were able to pull themselves up. One example is Herman Cain who did it not once, but twice. First he worked his way up and became a vice president at Pillsbury. Seeing no way to progress further and become a CEO, as was his goal, he decided to start again at one of Pillsbury’s divisions, Burger King. He went back and became a manager of one of the restaurants along with several other people who were just out of high school. He then worked his way up and became the CEO of Godfather’s Pizza when it was acquired by Pillsbury. He then took that franchise from the brink of bankruptcy and built it into what it is today.
There are many other examples. Clarence Thomas. Mike Huckabee. There are also people who went bankrupt but them came back and became extremely wealthy. One example is Dave Ramsey. The reason they got where they were was because they didn’t accept government hand-outs or fall into a comfortable life of living off of others. They accepted that they would live in poverty for a period but they never allowed themselves to be poor. They were looking for the opportunities rather than thinking that the wealthy, or circumstances, or anything else was keeping them down.
The truth is, poverty is a good motivator to better your life. If you are living in a moderate three-bedroom apartment with your family of four, paid for by the government, you might be happy to stay that way and never look to make your situation better. If instead you were living in a run-down one bedroom, you might be motivated to take on an extra job (or a job at all) and look for education and experience that will allow you to buy a house. There is usually a large gap and a lot of uncomfortable conditions between living on welfare and living on-your-own. Your total income will often drop when you start earning more money since your welfare benefits will be cut, but in the end you’ll end up with more money. More than that, you’ll end up actually providing for yourself rather than taking from others.
So, stop making excuses. If there are no good jobs in your area, move to where there are more opportunities or start your own business. If there are no homes that you could buy and pay no more than 25% of your take-home pay on the mortgage, live in a small apartment and save up until you have a big enough down-payment to bring the payments in line or move to a different area with cheaper housing. If making more income will cut your welfare payments such that you’ll be making less, go without a cell phone, ride a bike, take a second job, and go to a beans and rice diet until you can earn your way through the gap.
And get away from the people who tell you that you can’t do it. You need people in your life that will encourage you to make your life better rather than those who will pull you back into the slop with them. If you live your whole life and do nothing but suck off others, what is your purpose for living? You need to contribute and make society better to live up to your full potential as a human being.
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Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to give financial planning advice, it gives information on a specific investment strategy and picking stocks. It is not a solicitation to buy or sell stocks or any security. Financial planning advice should be sought from a certified financial planner, which the author is not. All investments involve risk and the reader as urged to consider risks carefully and seek the advice of experts if needed before investing