A strangely refreshing choice

Yesterday was a very long day. I had a number of appointments with a very diverse group of people. Despite my depletion of energy come day-end, I tend to enjoy very busy days. I love talking to people about their financial situations. I get to see how people deal with their personal financial struggles. Everybody has financial struggles. That is because struggle is a relative term. Some people struggle with a low-paying job, some struggle with not managing the income of a high-paying job, and some struggle with every decision they make.

One thing stuck out to me yesterday. That one thing: choice. Financial Planning 101 would tell you that when faced with a faced with a financial shortfall, you have the following options:

  • increase your income with current job
  • get an additional job
  • spend less
  • seek additional credit

Oddly enough 95% of Americans choose to seek additional credit (Side note about statistics: 80% of statistics are made up and the other 40% are inaccurate). Those who tend to improve their situation by increasing their incomes do it in the following ways. People with white-collar jobs tend to seek additional income opportunities within their current jobs, while blue-collar workers tend to get additional jobs. Yesterday was evidence of this. I met with a number of different couples both blue and white collar. They all had financial “issues”. The interesting part was how they each dealt with their problems.

One of the people I met with has two full time jobs. He makes a great deal of money in both blue-collar jobs, but he needs that money to deal with his financial issues. He was working a ton, but he had a great attitude about his future. He chose to take the easy way out. And by easy, I mean hard. You see, ultimately the easiest thing to do is to work your butt off and have two jobs. The easy thing in the short term would been for him to go into more debt.

I don’t think people think through their options thoroughly enough. So, today I would like to toast my guy from yesterday: you made the hard easy choice.

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