Most of us, especially those of us who have debtor's disease (if you have it you know what it is!), have commented or at least thought, "If I could just win the lottery, or sweepstakes, everything would be better." Unfortunately, even if that big dream did come true things probably would get worse instead of better.
It's a strange phenomenon. It seems the more money you have, the more you need. It makes perfect sense. Given more money, most people would increase their standard of living. My question is, "If you haven't properly managed the money you have now, how do you expect that you'll be able to properly manage two, three, four, five or hundreds of thousands times more money?" A good question, huh? Food for thought. Maybe you need to start learning to properly manage what you have now while it's on a much smaller scale. Then you'll be prepared when that big lottery win, or sweepstakes, comes through!
Now you may think this is a crazy, nonsense theory. Surely a million is enough for anyone to be on easy street! I'm sure you have at some time heard rumor about people who fall into great wealth by some means or another, and just a short time later are back where they started or in even worse financial condition. Many of these instances end in bankruptcy.
Not convinced? Let me tell you about my own, smaller scale, experience with this strange phenomenon. Once upon a time, I was a single parent raising four children on an income of just under $20,000 per year. My children did not do without, and while I did begin my journey into debtors demise during this time, I had everything under control. Or so I thought.
By my understanding now, I certainly was not managing my money well. I was not properly preparing for variable expenses or emergency expenses that were sure to arise. Thank goodness for a great family infrastructure that gave help and support when needed! My monthly payments were well within my income, including debt payments. I monitored my debt to be sure I maintained a comfortable debt to income ratio. I felt that I had the proper perspective on my finances.
It was not until the household income increased due to marriage that I somehow lost that perspective and my real problems began. I blame a good deal of this accelerating financial ruin to "over confidence." This "over confidence" lead to an arrogant disregard of proper money management. Looking back, you know hind sight is 20/20, if I knew then what I know now, I would be way ahead of the game!
Since my new husband earned more than twice the income I had, I quit work to become a stay at home mom. I've been working since I was fourteen years old (and I'm no spring chicken now) so when he expressed the desire for me to stay at home with the kids, I jumped on it! But, this was not a contributing factor to my financial demise. It was the mindset I acquired when the household income increased.
My mindset was this, "If I took care of a family of five on my near poverty level income, surely I have no financial worries now." Life was good! At least for a while. Our standard of living changed of course. Typically, my cup runneth over??and I thirsted for more. Now we could afford to charge those things we "needed?" (I question it because, my definition of this word has greatly changed) and wanted without fear. I had that fear before. The fear of not being able to pay back the debt. I believe that's why I kept it under strict control. With that fear now gone and a new sense of false security replacing it??..debtor's demise set in quickly.
Before I knew it we were living paycheck to paycheck. Sometimes, I even found myself juggling funds around to make the budget balance. It didn't seem like so much money any more. I can laugh at myself now that I understand exactly how it happened. That delusion of grandeur mindset I had let little ol' me fall into. After all my research, I now know that I am not unlike millions of other people in this world. It's an easy mindset to get into. This is why more money will never make everything better until you learn to manage first and then spend.
Your best preparation for that big winning day is to start planning now. Even if that big money dream never comes true, you may be surprised what a little forethought and planning can accomplish. A good debt free spending plan and monthly budget that encourage frugal living will, at the very least, provide you with more financial security and independence.
Why heck, if you're young enough, you can plan your way into millionaire status. It can be done. It has been done! It's the guy next door who you may not even be aware classifies as a millionaire. He or she probably doesn't brag about it, and their lifestyle doesn't hint of it. But I bet that's one happy, stress free, millionaire who has everything he needs and wants. He's probably just about the nicest person you ever want to meet. Simply because he manages his money and refuses to let his money manage him!
So what are you waiting for? Quit wishing for more money and make a plan to manage and take control of what money you have!
Good Luck and Success
Live Debt Free to Be Free. You Deserve It!
Cheryl Johnson is a mother of four helping herself and others become and stay debt free. Publisher of Simple Debt Free Living at http://www.simpledebtfreeliving.com - A self-help plan, ideas, and resources for debt management, household budget planning, frugal and debt free living, and extra income opportunities Money Saving tips to maximize savings everyday, reduce expenses, and encourage debt free living.