Has this ever happened to you?
A co-worker or acquaintance you are friendly with constantly talks about their money problems. Your heart goes out to them. You say to yourself, “I have enough I should really help them.” Maybe you can reach into our wallet and find something extra to get them out of a bind. Give them a little loan to keep them afloat, they have kids after all,” you rationalize. You think all this until you notice that they are arriving to work in a brand new Lexus while you are diving your beat up Corolla. Hmm…. Matter of fact, while they are relaying their money problems, they are sipping on a $4 fancy pants coffee. Interesting???? Then you start to notice that the shoes they are wearing are not the $50 knock off’s like yours but the $250 real thing, name brand. Really??
Ok, this exact situation has not happened to me but a version of this scenario has popped up in my life more times then I can count. These same people who are telling you they are short on their mortgage payment are also the same individuals that you see eating lunch out everyday while you brown bag it. It is also these people who cry poor that are driving in with their brand new leased Mercedes. Do you see a pattern here? I do.
I use to feel bad for them. I would make a second lunch and bring it in from home. I would sacrifice something for my family to buy them clothing, mistakenly thinking they needed them. I would give them a ride out of my way thinking they had no transportation. Often times the lunch would go uneaten (eating out was much better), the clothing unworn (it was not name brand), and as it turns out they were driving a nicer, newer car them me but couldn’t afford the gas.
Many people, even myself at times, claim they have no money. But in most cases this is far from the truth. We have money but we have just chosen to spend it on one thing over another. We have exchanged our money for something we want in the moment and have forgotten about those things in the future. We have chosen instant gratification of a Starbucks coffee or fancy new car, rather then the cheaper home brew or used model.
We all have choices in life. After several years of seeing this type of person, I am a bit sick of hearing the pity party sob story. When it really comes down to poor financial choices and lack of fiscal responsibility. In truth, for most of us, we have all we need. We are just making bad choices. We need to put our big boy pants on and not buy the thing we want when we want it.
Yes, you heard me we need to tell ourselves a big fat “NO, you can not afford it.” We need to deny ourselves stuff until we actually have the money to pay for it. If we don’t have the money we should not get the biggest house on the block, or not drive the newest car. When we do this, we are choosing piece of mind. We are choosing to be responsible.
Now I know the Wimpy’s of the world are not going away. (I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today…) But I for one will have a deaf ear to their money complaints. We all make mistakes but those that continue to make the same money mistakes over and over, and expect you, their family or the government to bail them out well…isn’t that the definition of insanity?
If you have encountered this type of situation I would love to hear your story. Please share it with me in the comments below.