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What's your biggest financial lesson? Mine is today is tomorrow.

August 22nd, 2009 at 10:11 am

I am a born procrastinator, and it has and is costing me dearly. The bad part is it is a progressive disease. Fall a little behind, no big deal, you can set aside some time and work extra hard to catch up. The all nighter syndrome a few of us may remember from our school daze. And it actually feels good to work hard and complete something. But fall behind big time, and you start to lose hope. THEN it starts to get REAL bad. Little things turn big and snowball, another term and concept that we debt-troubled people are all too familiar with.

In contrast, I know a guy, a former Boy Scout, who always does things as soon as he can. And he is a financial rock of Gibralter, I'm sure largely due to that and other good habits. He says he grew up poor, but I think it is also due to the Boy Scout experience, probably along with genes. My nature, in contrast, is a laid back "thinker", an absent minded professor who is interested in concepts rather than details. Needless to say, that ain't good in the anal world of finance. I try to concentrate and focus and I succeed for a while, but it's always a struggle and I then backslide big time.

It is an interesting paradox. The payoff for procrastination is obvious and I am hooked on it. But the payoff for hard work is also obvious, and I also love that. But it takes hard work! And actually, I'm more a fan of easy but satisfying work - you know - doing the laundry, etc. So a lot of financial chores actually do fall in that category - paying the bills, keeping track of a budget, etc. But I tend to put it off too long even though it is relatively easy. After thinking about it a while it is the feeling of being overwhelmed that snowballs on me. So now, since I have LOTS of saved up "staycation" (a vacation that isn't dirt cheap is, in my current financial situation, absolutely unthinkable). So cheer for me as I try to work hard to bail out the sinking financial ship.

By the way, what is your biggest financial lesson?

8 Responses to “What's your biggest financial lesson? Mine is today is tomorrow.”

  1. NJDebbie Says:

    Hi Ralph, nice to hear from you again. I'd been missing you!

  2. BuckhornGal Says:

    Always, always, always pay your bills on time. If you can't, call and let them know when you will pay.

  3. baselle Says:

    Good hearing from you!

    Mine is: always know where you stand.
    Even if its bad, it might not be as bad as you think, but even if it is, if you know you can do something about it.

    I have to say that paying, investing, etc as soon as you can works well for me like it does with your Boy Scout-trained friend. Automate, then monitor, which leads back to knowing where you stand.

  4. whitestripe Says:

    it's not really a 'lesson' as such, but i strongly believe that you should never buy something that you have not earned; that would be why i have never racked up a credit card bill. in saying that, i do have a personal loan and a mortgage - but i WORK for my money, and i make myself understand the commitment of the debt and the purchase (of a car and house) before entering into the debt. i get angry when i hear people say 'you deserve it' (like a friend told me when i was questioning the purchase of an engagement ring - deserving it has NOTHING to do with it!!!) when they know nothing of my, or someone elses, financial position. i get even angrier when i hear people say that THEY deserve something (cable tv, a haircut, a takeaway coffee, a new television, a handbag etc), when i know perfectly well it's not a neccesity and that they are finding money hard to manage or that they are buying it with money that is not actually theirs. so that is my one and only financial rule, really. Smile

  5. ralph Says:

    Thanks, all! I see you've been busily blogging away this August, NJDebbie - great! You were gone for a while too!

    BuckhornGal, I do at least manage to pay my bills on time, except for one medical HMO billing snafu that is now causing me untold grief. Frown

    baselle, great advice indeed. I have a tendency to look away when it's bad. I have to change that.

    whitestripe, you are right! On that subject, my mother told me I deserve a good car since I have to get to work reliably. Even so, that is my favorite area for economizing, driving cheap old cars. But thinking of the source of the money you are spending is a great thing to keep in the front of your mind.

    I love hanging out with you frugal people who have it going on financially! Smile

  6. Jerry Says:

    My most important financial lesson (which also leads to one of my most important relationship lessons) has been the importance of communication about finances, and being on the same page as my spouse. Once we got on the same wavelength about money, it helped us immeasurably, whether it was paying our car insurance, working together to save money, or killing off our consumer debt. I know that many people get divorced over money, but it can also be a unifying topic if it is managed correctly.
    Jerry

  7. homebody Says:

    Don't bail my kids out of their financial mistakes by making financial mistakes of my own.... Ralph I wish we could talk in person....Unfortunately I didn't learn this until they were 29, 27 and 21! PS We are the reluctant owners of a rental property.... need I say more?

  8. ralph Says:

    Great points, Jerry and homebody - thanks! Jerry, I agree that is key - throughout most of our marriage to date my wife and I were on totally different pages financially and now we are dealing with the wreckage - neither is happy. I, the saver, am very upset. And she, the indulge your kids person, is not so happy either. We are getting better, but it is late in the game.

    homebody, one of my biggest mistakes ever, and I continue to make it, is undervaluing my own opinion in respect to financial decisions for the kids. The biggie was college choice. Yup, I would also love to talk in person - you are a big inspiration to me. For example, that bit you posted recently about giving yourself one withdrawal per week is so simple and so commonsensical.

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