This has officially gotten absurd. I would love to spend my time this morning detailing why this is absurd, but that won’t really help us address the problem. I have decided to write a new Bill of Rights (as related to our financial lives). Sometimes you just need to worry about yourself, and not look for someone else to drastically change your life. I waited for an NFL team to call me on Draft day for 6 years, and yet I am still not in the NFL. Waiting is wasting time. Here is the best way to get through these hard times.
- Your life is not about purchases. Americans tend to buy one thing, and then spend the next several moments planning on how they are going to get more stuff. We are the U.S.A. (the Upgraders States of America). We are constantly upgrading perfectly good stuff.
- Stop perpetuating the Main Street/Wall Street cliché. Part of the problem is that both Main Street and Wall Street are expecting to get bailed out for stuff that they can improve by simply changing their habits. The rhetoric, itself, is lame. I am part of both Wall Street and Main Street, and am insulted that this economic crises as been trivialized by using cutesy language.
- Understand the importance of an emergency fund. At the bare minimum you need about $1,000 that can handle most emergencies. This should keep you out of credit card debt.
- Adopt the phrase, “We can’t afford it.” It’s a healthy thing to do. Also add, “We shouldn’t buy it,” and, “We don’t need it.”
- People within 5 years of retirement shouldn’t be deep into the market. This is not an “I told you so,” but it is now quite obvious.
- Don’t waste your time looking to blame someone. Fight your way out of every ounce of debt you have. Equity is the new black.
Don’t freak out. You will remember yesterday for the rest of your life, but you need to make sure that you have learned from it.
Peter Dunn a.k.a. Pete the Planner® is an award-winning financial mind and a former comedian. He’s a USA TODAY columnist, author of ten books, and is the host of the popular radio show and podcast, The Pete the Planner Show. Pete is considered one of the foremost experts on financial wellness in the world, but he’s just as likely to talk your ear off about bass fishing.