In 1985, Steven King unleashed upon the world Cat’s Eye. Comprised of 3 short stories the first “Quitter’s Inc.” paints a picture of a company that in order to get you to stop smoking when you fall off the wagon punishes your family members with electroshock therapy (and then worse consequences). Crazy. If you really want to watch the short clip (which is more comical than disturbing) click here.
Why do I share that? Well, a lot of people tend to think that this is how behavior modification works. I need to be a good little boy or girl with my money, and if I don’t then I need to be punished. How else will I learn? That doesn’t work. Instead, we need to focus on positive motivation. Let’s explore some positive steps we can take to motivate us to reach our goals.
Debt consolidation is a very common thing in our culture. Banks offer it, late night TV offers it, and “reputable” companies offer it. However, unbeknownst to most consumers, debt consolidation has been one of the top industries investigated by the FTC for fraud. It’s a huge area of confusion for most consumers as they think it’s a simple process of merging all their debts into one easy payment. Here are 4 ways debt consolidation is robbing you of debt freedom:
Mention the word budget around someone (especially free spirits) and you may hear some colorful language. True as that is that’s actually not the kind of 4 letter word I’m talking about. I’m talking about the word “diet”. Actually, both “budget” and “diet” are words that are positive but have garnered a negative cultural connotation. Diet’s primary definition simply means “the kinds of food that a person eats” and budget simply means a proactive plan for how your income and expenses are going to flow. However, most people think of a budget as something restrictive that means they can’t have fun, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
The messages are all around us. “Buy Now, Pay Later!”, “90 Days Same As Cash!”, “You’re always going to have a car payment!”, and others. That last one was your broke family member in case you didn’t notice (though I’m sure you’ve heard it). The little man just can’t get ahead!
We are living in a culture that inundates us with the need for stuff and the belief that if we actually want to get the stuff we really do need then the best way to do so is with “easy” payments. Heck, you can even rent a LAMP for only $6.99/week or $30/mth! Just go buy the stupid thing!
Pay the Piper
Ultimately, you’re going to have pay for all that stuff, and it isn’t going to be pretty. A lot of us have gotten sucked into this payment mentality and have, even for the daily consumables that you could easily pay for, simply put it on credit to make those oh so “easy” payments. One thing I see often is that the average person is not paying full attention to their finances with a solid plan and only thinks in chunks about their finances.
I make how much? Chunk
My house payment is what? Chunk
My car payment is what? Chunk
My kids’ soccer program is how much? Chunk
It’s going to cost how much to fly there? Oh, yeah, I can manage that!
Eventually everything falls apart because they aren’t paying attention to where the majority of their spending goes: The little things. They don’t think about that purchase at Fivebucks they make every day which adds up to $150/mth, etc. The point here is payments deceive you into thinking you are paying attention and staying on top of your finances when you really aren’t.
Stop Feeding the Machine
Have you ever wondered why payments are offered? You may think that it’s to make something affordable for someone who can’t afford to pay for it all up front. If you think this, legitimate as it may seem, it proves you’ve bought into the lie of the payment mentality.