What stage of life are you in? I heard a great message at church this morning related to stages of life and I couldn’t help but think about my early choices in life. How often do you find yourself dealing with situations because of a choice you made in your past?
I frequently find myself stuck in current situations because of decisions I made when I was younger. Think about it; the current career you are in is because of a choice you made when you were younger. Just like your current debt is due to the decisions you made yesterday, or even 10 years ago.
How long are we going to regret past decisions? If we continue to make poor and uninformed decisions, we will continue to look back at today wishing we had made a different choice. The effects of these poor choices continue to roll with us as we enter new stages of life – unless we consciously choose to rectify our past errors and stop making the same poor decisions. In order to be healthier tomorrow, you must change what you do today. If you are not happy with your weight or your eating habits today, are you content with feeling this way or even worse for the remainder of your years? What would it feel like to be skinny again? What would it feel like to be debt free again? Do you even remember what it felt like? (Before I get a barrage of emails, no I was not calling you fat – it was just an example!)
Debt Is Not Your Friend
That debt you carry with you today, those credit cards, that expensive truck payment, that cable bill that continues to go up, is going to stay with you for the rest of your life if you do not change. Your current lifestyle is not working and it is only going to get worse. If you are slowly chipping away at your debt but still spending more than you should, you will never save enough to retire. Life may be tolerable now, but what about when you’re older and have less energy to deal with the stress? The stress is only going to increase in the future if you don’t deal with today.
We all have made choices in our past that affect us to this day. We find ourselves comfortable with the chaos. Those monthly payments we make have become comfortable and we have resigned to the fact that this is how life will always be. Stop lying to yourself! You don’t need cable TV if you have debt. You don’t need that motorcycle if you have debt.
But My Children Deserve It!
The point is, whatever your normal is now – is comfortable. Stressful yes, but it is your norm and you are used to it. The idea of cutting back on things sounds scary. You work too hard and deserve to enjoy life to the fullest extent right? The kids are only young once so that much needed Disney trip should go on the credit card right? I have 3 kids and I completely agree we should cherish every moment with them and create memories on a constant basis – they are only young once. I am also a huge Disney fan. If my wife would have let me, we would have been married in Cinderella’s Castle. But my kids will remember those days playing board games at home and Friday popcorn and movie night (DVD) just as much as that big expensive Disney trip – I promise. Your kids need time with you, not expensive outings that put you further in debt.
I have much more to write about children and money in a future article but if you can’t control your spending for yourself, do it for your kids. Your children will learn how to manage their future finances based on how you manage your money. If you are a train wreck and live in the moment, chances are some or all of your children may follow in your footsteps. It’s your job to get your finances in order – that is one of the necessary skills you should be teaching them as they grow older. Do as I say not as I do has never worked well.
As I continue on rambling, let me get back to the main reason I started with this article. We all go through different stages in our life. From elementary school to teenage years and high school, to college and careers, marriage, children, divorces, etc. Each stage has the ability to influence the future stage, for the better or worse. In regards to finances, we can either continue on with our poor decisions that we will regret in the future, or we can change our lifestyle to set us up for success rather than failure.
Stop dwelling on the past and realize that is not who you have to be in the future. You could look back in 5 years and remember this day as the day you changed your future. Each success story started with a radical change in direction. Get out of your comfort zone and make the choice to change your future, you deserve so much more than this!
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