How much storage space do you have clear and free in your home?
Very little, right?
It’s simply part of the human condition that the junk in our homes expands and multiplies to fill all available space. Office drawers over-flow with unused keys, broken pencils and dried-out markers. Closets bulge with clothes you haven’t worn since the Beatles landed in America. Garages are so obstructed and cluttered that the main thing they were built for -- your car -- has found a permanent home outside on the driveway or street.
The same principle applies to our finances.
Very, very rarely is our personal income enough -- not because the dollars are insufficient to cover the need but because the clutter in our lives has consumed all of our financial breathing room and left us with no dollars to support meaningful investment!
“Oh,” you think, “so this article is about doing without, about turning off lights and eating out less, scrimping and sacrificing in order to build a nest-egg!”
No. This article focuses on the big stuff, the major common-sense issues, the stupid DUH! sinkholes that we know to avoid and yet ALL of us occasionally stumble into. These are things you do and slap yourself, moaning aloud, “What a dope! Why do I do this?”
So here they are -- the big habits that rob us of our quality of life both now and in the future:
#1 - Don’t loan money to relatives or friends. In 2000, the federal government was actively garnishing the Social Security payments to six -- that’s right, “six” -- American seniors because of delinquent student loans. As of April, 2013, that number had surged from six to 115,000! WHOA! According to Time magazine, Americans age 60+ in 2012 owed $36 BILLION in student loans.
Do not loan money to relatives and friends. Do not co-sign for the debts of others. Do not take out student loans on behalf of your grandchildren. It’s not good for you and, in the long run, it’s not a wise decision for your friends or relatives either.
#2 - Understand your budget! If you read that and ask yourself, “What budget?” then ask the nearest person to kick you really hard...