Everybody comes from a different economic and social background. Some are born to loving parents who dote on them. Some are born to parents who give them nothing. Some are born to parents who raise and teach them. Some are born to parents who totally ignore them. Some parents are always around. Some parents are gone all of the time. And yes, some parents are hooked on crack and die when kids are 10 years old. Some parents are abusive monsters. And some parents are just gone.
It’s easy to blame how you were raised. It’s also easy to blame things that happen to you along the way – a job loss, a car accident, a tornado – and certainly these things can set us back a lot. It’s easy to play the victim, saying nothing can be done and that we’re just stuck with this lot in life. It is also easy to get jealous and envy those who are doing better, to the point of wanting to take what they have or destroy it if we can’t.
Many people who live perpetually on welfare continue to make bad decisions. They figure out ways to misuse the money they receive so they don’t have money to feed their children. They continue to have children when they aren’t able to take care of the ones they have and they pick men who won’t stay around and support their family. They keep their income down, never trying to do better so that they will not see a reduction in their welfare payments.
A very small percentage of people are truly destined to live a life of dependency. People who have virtually no mental capability due to an accident or the way their brains were formed. People who go through an accident that destroys them physically and they don’t have the ability at their stage in life to develop the mental skills needed to earn an income with their minds. For everyone else, while we may go through some circumstances that may make us dependent for a brief period of time, like a tornado or a hurricane, we can change our future and become independent again (or for the first time).
Regardless of how we got where we are, if you keep doing what you have been doing, you’ll stay right where you are. If you keep spending all of your money on junk each time you get a paycheck, you’ll never have a savings. If you keep borrowing money, you’ll always be in debt. If you keep taking a check from the government and never do anything to earn more money, you’ll always be taking a check from the government.
I’m not being mean. I’m not being judgemental. I’m just stating a simple fact:
If you keep doing the same things, you’ll get the same results.
People who stay in poverty all of their lives, for the most part, made bad decisions while they were in school. They continue to make bad financial decisions as adults.
People who have a middle-class income but are always in debt made bad financial decisions when they started working and continue to make them.
If you want things to be different in your life, change what you’re doing. Get a better paying job. Stop spending your money on crap. Stop taking out car loans and home equity loans. Start saving for car repairs and medical bills. Start saving for retirement – it’s coming. Start taking advantage of the power of investing by putting your savings that you don’t need for a few years into mutual funds.
Start being about your investments and not about your electronics. Start being about acquiring wealth and not acquiring stuff. Start being about financial security and not impressing your friends and neighbors with your opulence.
And speaking of friends, maybe think about changing yours. Do they encourage you to better yourself or complain there is nothing that can be done. Do they handle money well or spend every dime, encouraging you to spend yours along the way. Are they going somewhere or just staying where they are forever?
You don’t need to change all of your friends, but try to find people who are better about handling their money and their lives and spend some time with them. Start talking to the guy who drives an older car yet makes a middle-class income. The one who has a neat and clean, but modest house. Start getting involved in volunteer events, Boy Scouts, and community organizations. Find someone up the chain at work and start talking to him about things he did to get where he was.
It’s trite but true – changing your circumstance begins with changing you. How you spend your time. How you handle your money. Who you hang out with. Your attitude at work and what you do while you’re there.
If you don’t like your life, change it. If you life is getting better, keep doing the things that are making it better. It really is as simple as that.
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Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to give financial planning or tax advice. It gives general information on investment strategy, picking stocks, and generally managing money to build wealth. 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. Tax advice should be sought from a CPA. All investments involve risk and the reader as urged to consider risks carefully and seek the advice of experts if needed before investing.