Do the names David Chilton, Suze Orman, David Bach or Charles Givens mean anything to you?
Are you familiar with the term Latte Factor? Double Latte factor? Pay yourself first? Maximize your contribution? Do you know your credit score? Are you living today on tomorrow’s money? Do you know how much you need for retirement?
Have you read classics like Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich? Or George Clason’s The Richest Man in Babylon? Are titles like The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy, The Instant Millionaire? or Mike Grenby’s Money Book, in your bookcase?
Are you disgusted with the returns You’re receiving on your investments? Are you aware of (and horrified by) the interest rates charged on your half dozen (or more) credit cards? Do you know the formula for interest calculations on purchases, cash advances, late payments?
Have you seen television programs like Til Debt do Us Part, Your Money or your Wife, Big Spender, or Maxed Out?
The proliferation of cable channels aimed at intervening in lives run amok financially tells you that this is one hot topic. Typically these shows involve interviews with spouses/friends/relatives who talk about out-of-control spending, shopping as recreation, fear of bankruptcy and financial ruin, and the money effect on relationships.
Have you noticed that there are as many ads and TV commercials in January and February for credit counselors and bankruptcy services as there are for gyms and diet plans? I guess the whole resolution factor kicks in both for weight and fitness goals as well as for plans to get one’s financial house in order, especially after holiday indulgence both financial and gastronomic. Seeing the credit card bills for Christmas spending does tend to give one pause, especially if you carry a balance.
Most of us have been sucked in by easy credit. Most of us have made attempts at saving. Most of us are good, sensible people who want to do the right thing for ourselves and our money. Stats also show that most of us have a problem. The average Canadian is in debt to the tune of 121% of their income.
The reality is quite grim for most. The reasons are complex and many: the ease of obtaining credit, the desire for instant gratification, to “keep up,” lack of discipline, highly effective marketing, filling emotional needs with material possessions, living our lives in overdrive and relying on the quick, easy, expensive answers to our time crunch.
But all is not lost. There is help and information out there. The authors and book titles mentioned above all have some of the answers. Websites like http://www.fcac.gc.ca have more answers. Talking to parents or others who have managed to handle their money well is also an option. Seek out the experts. don’t be intimidated. It’s your life. It’s also so much easier if you start sooner rather than later, from where I sit.