I like fish…now. I didn’t like it when I was 10 years old. It sucked. I hated it. Hell, I was 10. I remember on one particular occasion my mother made me eat rainbow trout. The head was still on the fish. I didn’t want anything to do with it. My parents made me sit at the kitchen table for three plus hours until I ate the fish I was given. I wasn’t happy. I would stare at the fish, and it would stare back. The head was still on the stupid thing. My mother was a masochist. I swore at one point it had flipped me off. I wanted it to die, but it was already dead and I was required to eat it. I ate it. I ate it nearly four hours after it had come out of the oven. I had no choice. The longer I sat there the more I hated it. But the longer I sat there the more I realized that I had to put the fish in my face for it to go away. I’m still half-pissed about this.
What do you hate about your financial life? We all hate something. No matter how well things are going, something is bothering you. I have financial crap bothering me. I try to ignore it, but I shouldn’t. You should never ignore what’s bothering you the most. The actuality is you should put it in your face. You need to stare your cold fish in the eye, and bite its damn head off.
The oddly comforting part about this concept is it affects us all. If you are in one of the last two stages of your financial life, you can still suffer the rash of financial stress. If you are broke as hell and feel like you have no way out, you can feel the same stress. This financial reality is what haunts us. Well, that and bad hair days.
What swims in your head and taunts you? What aspect of your financial life is a four hour old cooked fish that threatens the sweet memories of your childhood? I don’t really care what it is, you need to address it. I’m saying this to you because I’ve recently stared my financial stress in the face. I’m exactly like you. I’m human. I hated it. I faced it begrudgingly, and earned the right to feel better. Want to feel better about what’s bothering you? Earn the right, and put the cold fish in your face.
- Do you need to buck up and start that retirement account?
- Do you need to pay your parents back the money you borrowed?
- Do you need to start your student loan payments?
- Do you need to confront a spouse for an out-of-control spending problem?
- Do you need to admit a financial lie to a loved one?
- Do you need to start a college fund for your child?
Look, no one’s perfect. The sooner you can admit that and stare down your financial stress, the sooner the stress will leave your life. Please do this. Please take this blog post as opportunity to (wo)man up and get work done. Don’t wait for some arbitrary event to get the action started.
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.