Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Joneses are In Debt!

 I am diverse... I talk about everything, in my blogs and I hope that keeps your interest... but I speak out of wisdom, ALWAYS. You see, being the rebel that I am (and I don't mean that in the southern way) I have learned everything the hard way by making TONS of mistakes. THAT is how you gain wisdom my friends, and by my calculation; being that I have lived on my own since I was 17, I have the wisdom of someone twice my age... with that said, the best thing you could do is listen and learn. HA HA! (not spoken in a bossy way)

For a gagillion YEARS I have heard the phrase... "Gotta keep up with the Joneses" and although I knew what it meant in society today, I often wondered where it originated. (thanks Google, you are always there when I need you for useful information that seems useless to others!) I will not post all that I learned about the origination of this phrase, although it was very interesting; but if you are interested in the short version, here is a link for the knowledge.

We all know what keeping up with  the Joneses means today. And if we can't keep up, we have been brainwashed to believe we are inferior and pathetic. I hate ANYTHING that makes anyone feel inferior. The only thing that makes you inferior in my book is being dishonest, period the end.

When I was 19, I  was able to buy my first home after establishing "good credit" from the age of 17. Having credit available to me at a VERY young age was both good and bad. I was pretty responsible with it and only charged what I could afford to handle a payment for, but when I got married at age 20 that began to change. I was no longer the only one charging but still the only one making money and paying the bills. Needless to say I ended up over my head and could not afford the payments. I don't blame anyone but myself at this point in life... you get what you accept and allow and I allowed it to happen. I ended up losing my wonderful credit score and although I managed to continue to pay most of the debt back, I was consistently behind with my fluctuating income. I was no longer "credit worthy" I was branded with the scarlet "C" and had to begin living on what I made when I made it. I was bitter back then, mainly because I worked so hard to get what I had only to be left credit naked, and it was not directly my fault. However in hind sight it was ABSOLUTELY the BEST thing that could have ever happened to me.

So for the next seven years I lived on cash... if I wanted something I had to save for it. If I did not have the money, I did not get it until I did. WOW, what a concept huh? It did me good and after that seven years was up, I never went back. Now I will admit that when I was in my worst debt, it never exceeded $4,000 (excluding my home and car) , so when I hear of stories today where people are ten, twenty and even over fifty thousand dollars in credit card debt I begin convulsing! They ARE the "keeping up with" people to the extreme, and quite frankly it seems glutenous. Social society is to blame for the most part because of the status vice we are gripped with. The people in debt are merely victims of "socialitis", ridden with the "I will have more than you have" syndrome hoping to be looked up to and admired for the things they possess. (Not impressive or admirable in reality)

I was humbled losing my ability to charge, and for several years I felt "inferior" but I must tell you, it did not take long for me to figure out that I was the smart one... and being smart is certainly not inferior.

Today, I can say that I have continued to learn more and more about money. I am teaching my kids how to be responsible with it. They must earn it, I don't just give it to them. I spoil them with kisses, hugs and love but not with material things. They have what they need and most of what they want but over abundance is NOT in my household vocabulary. The best thing I did to solidify that what I was doing was right was to take the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace Course a few years back. Although most people seek his guidance when they are in debt, I sought out his knowledge to learn how to fund my retirement as a self employed individual. I will say that learning his principals almost made me WANT to be in debt so I could use his teachings to erase it. I encourage ANYONE married, single or engaged to find a 13 week course in your area... go together as a "date night", with a friend, or by yourself! It will enrich your life, and teach you how to make the Joneses look homeless! And you WON'T be in debt in the end.

If you are someone who has had to make or needs to make serious financial life changes due to trying to keep up and impress people you don't even care about; there is hope and light at the end of the tunnel... you are not inferior, you are wonderful and you have every ability to gain the financial knowledge you need that will allow you to bounce back better!

Love you all!

Here is the link to the Dave Ramsey  course I spoke of, although you can get the DVD's and the CD's and do this at home, I encourage you to physically GO to the classes which are typically held in local establishments. There is something to be said about being around other people who are going through the same thing as you are. Would LOVE to hear from you if you end up doing this! I have shared this with so many people I know and have heard their success stories and would LOVE to hear yours too! I LOVE a good story, don't you?