When 2015 rolled in, many of us made promises, resolutions even, that this would be our year to finally get our finances in order.
We were determined to follow budgets, eliminate debt, and maybe even increase savings. We had good intentions to change our financial situations; but now, halfway through the year, many of those promises are long forgotten and we find ourselves in the same old financial rut.
Why do we do this? How can we break the cycle for good? And how can we create more prosperous futures?
With the release of Tyler New Media’s much anticipated documentary on black wealth, the time could not be better to discuss possible answers to these crucial questions.
We’re ashamed or embarrassed.
Let’s face it. All too often, we’re too ashamed at how we handle money to take an honest look at our finances. It’s easy to get discouraged when our friends appear to be on the top of their financial game while we can barely manage to balance our checkbook. Their outward success – the late model car, the stylish wardrobe, the posh condo – only serve to magnify our own seeming incompetence with money.
But here’s the rub. Despite appearances, almost all of us are horrible with money. We are living paycheck to paycheck, drowning in debt, or have nothing saved for retirement. There is no shame in being inept when it comes to financial matters. The only shame is not trying to do something about it.
We don’t know where to start, so we don’t.
Overall, managing finances can be a daunting task. Where do we start? Should we work on a budget, pay down our debt, buy life insurance, invest, build an emergency fund, or save for retirement? We often get so overwhelmed with so many priorities that we end up doing nothing.
Remember, we don’t have to solve our financial challenges overnight. In fact, it often takes months or even years to get our finances back on track. Instead of trying to tackle several issues at once, focus on one area at a time. One plan, for instance, may involve first building an emergency fund, then getting out of debt, then, finally, saving for retirement.
We view wealth and the wealthy in a negative light.
Too often we internalize beliefs that sabotage our success. Perhaps we were brought up to believe the wealthy were unscrupulous, malevolent, or selfish. This may cause us to subconsciously equate wealth with these unsavory traits.
If we view the wealthy in this light, it is essential we change our thinking. We must realize that wealth is neither inherently good nor evil. It is what we do with our wealth that matters. Some of the Bible’s Godliest men were wealthy. Bill Gates and many of the wealthiest amongst us use their money to greatly benefit society. When we understand that being wealthy is not necessarily evil, we open ourselves up to accumulating wealth.
We internalize poverty expectations.
Many of us have experienced nothing but poverty in our lives, and this poverty becomes our accepted reality. Subconsciously we may come to expect nothing more. Poverty becomes the expectation and we internally sabotage any attempt to become financially successful. This is an especially pernicious trap that requires us to realize that we deserve more than poverty. Just as importantly, we have to recognize when we are sabotaging our own efforts to break free financially.
We let our past failures discourage us.
“There is no failure except in no longer trying.” – Chris Bradford
Perhaps we’ve tried to set up a budget in the past but kept with it for only a few months. Maybe we tried creating an emergency fund but failed. It can become discouraging when our past efforts fall short. Yet, failure is a part of life. Babies fall repeatedly when they first learn to walk. But, they get right back up and before you know it they’re walking and then running. Sure we may have failed in the past, but only by repeatedly trying and finally succeeding can we expect to achieve financial success.
BMWK, what are some of the roadblocks that have kept you from achieving financial success?