Last book read: “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek
Books I’m currently reading: “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg
On my mind: Listen.
There are so many distractions in our day. We have embedded habits in our mind that we engage in unconsciously. For example, today, I unlocked my phone 77 times and used it for 3 hours and 51 minutes in total. Can you relate?
Do you ever ponder why it seems so hard to stop your bad habits? Maybe you snooze the alarm 2 to 3 times before you wake up. The trick is to find the incentive for that bad habit or a certain reward you give yourself when you engage in bad behavior. Recognizing that is the first step.
You are what you EAT
Perhaps you are wondering why habits are the focus of a blog called “Stewarding Finances”. Habits form us and we become as the saying goes “what we eat” – this also applies mentally!
If you are like most people, you woke up and spent some time in the restroom then ate some food, got dressed and started your day. These behaviors, despite how basic they may seem, are vital. We take care of cleanliness: shower, brush our teeth, and wear appropriate clothing so that we can maintain the basic requirements for our job.
Well how about if you incorporated habits that can help you go beyond the minimum standard and bring you greater returns? Would you be willing to test these habits?
More than we can chew…
Can you guess what the average American’s debt is? drum roll… $137,063 (according to the Federal Reserve)! The average American rent is about $1,200 but in Los Angeles, CA it’s more like $1,700. Anyways, this means you could pay rent for 114 months or 9.5 years for the average American or 6.7 years of rent for the typical Californian.
Talk about a bad habit going out of control!
You might argue that a lot of that is going towards education and necessities as a home or car. Do you have to go into debt for education? For most occupations, NOPE. There are exceptions such as becoming a doctor due to the many years of schooling which is justified by the income eventually made. I would mention you can make this more affordable by seeking out scholarships or even joining the military.
I would say that education can be done without debt if you are resourceful and that a home or car is NOT a necessity and if you cannot afford it, don’t buy it!! This is actually the reason why we are in for a down market in this coming year. The Fed assumes due to job growth, it’s rainbows and sunshine but do they factor in the “sharp decline in oil prices as well as slowing in homebuilders, autos and retailers as signs?” (Jim Cramer).
Not only are the factors mentioned above playing into the harder times up ahead, we are also dealing with enormous amounts of student loans (which are NOT bankrupt-able) and car loans that are not being repaid. I will digress in future posts.
There is HOPE
Sam, what’s with all this doom and gloom you might ask? R.E.A.L.I.T.Y. friend. I don’t want to leave you hanging without actionable tips to guide you in your financial journey. It’s at times like this when you should be more intentional about how you spend your money or God’s money as how I like to see it.
Time for new financial habits! Try the following for the coming year.
- Stick to the budget
- Save 15%+
Before your next purchase…
Simple things to consider before your next major purchase. Ask yourself, do I need this or do I want it?
Next, ask yourself, would the me 10 years from now appreciate that the present me bought X?
Replace bad habits with good ones and reward yourself! Until next time, learn, apply and share!