A Financial Freefall

by Kristina on September 10, 2010 · 6 comments

stack of papersYou may remember my friend Rosemary from my previous post called Funding Our Parents Retirement.  She is a lawyer who recently left DINK-hood to become a mother.  Before Rose became a successful lawyer, she was a successful banker.  When we worked together on the same team we had a co-worker named Matthew.

His weight was excessive and his organization was nonexistent.  Depending on the day, the season, and the temperature we could smell something “not quite right” coming out of his office.  The one time that Rose went to his apartment she saw several stacks of papers all over his living room, kitchen, and hallway.  Any type of newspaper, magazine, or flyer she could think of, he had piled up in his one bedroom apartment.

I always attributed his disorganization to the fact that he was a bachelor and a bit of a pack rat.  I attributed his extra weight to the fact that he was always eating out; which again, I thought was because he was a bachelor.  One day Rose mentioned to me that people rarely have only one aspect of their life out of control.  People who don’t control their weight, or their clutter, may also not control their finances. If someone is financially irresponsible they are often irresponsible in general.  It is not a financial fault; it is a personal trait that needs some correcting.

One day we could have it all…a great job, an expensive home, and a lovely family.  But, with one single mistake it could all come crashing down. When we lose control of one thing, if we don’t regain control of it, we could lose everything we have.  We witnessed this with the dot com crash as well as the current economic financial crisis.  If any of us have ever experienced a run of bad luck, we know how hard it can be to regain control over an uncontrollable situation.

I would like us to all think about our personal life, and how our personality controls our financial situation.  Maybe your good (or poor) financial habits are just an overflow of our personality traits.

Are you a “neat freak” who always has to control everything? Do you keep impeccable financial records?

Are you a “go with the flow” person who never plans anything?  Is your definition of a budget…Spend it if you have it?

If we want to make financial changes in our lives, we should try to make a general macro change. The individual micros will all fall into place. Organize your closet, and then your checkbook.

(Photo By Cishore)

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jesse September 10, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Being someone who has changed drastically changed multiple habits this year, I agree to your point. I found it wasn’t necessarily a problem I had with certain aspects of my life, it was how my personality was letting each of them fall, together.

Changing one habit has a domino effect on the others because not only could I see the change and how each was affecting each other, I knew what helped me change one bad behavior and my process worked on all of them.

2 Techbud September 10, 2010 at 2:32 pm

I have found since I got my fiances and budget in order a few months back that other things are falling into place. I’m spending less time on needless things like mindless surfing on the internet and video games,

3 Sandy L September 11, 2010 at 5:51 am

I agree with the clutter analogy, but not the weight one. I know overweight people who are great with their finances (oprah). In my mom’s case, she worked on a farm and burned tons of calories, so for years she ate like a horse and never put on weight. When she stopped the farm work, she still ate like a horse and now she’s a big round polish lady. I have other friends who will retire at 50…both obese, but they are foodies and their hobbies are not hiking, but gaming.

Most cluttered, disorganized people I know do have issues with finances on some level. At the very least they don’t pay their bills on time, even if they have the money. Many don’t keep track of their money very well either.

4 Kristina September 11, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Me too. Whenever I need a reality check I sit down and make lists. It helps me visualize my changes. I feel so much better as I cross things off. Organization definitely has a snowball effect.

5 Anthony @ DYL September 13, 2010 at 8:28 am

Organzation will, indeed, set you free. Sad to say, but my wife is not very organized at all.

Oftentimes, she’ll mention that she needs to do something, doesn’t write it down, and them forgets about it later… only to become frustrated because she’s forgotten. If she were to walk around with a notepad and jot down quick notes, her life will be much less frustrating. I tell her this, and she won’t listen!

Enough picking on my wife now. :)

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