Thursday, November 10, 2011

When Do We Get to Have Fun?

I was talking to some friends who didn't understand what getting into debt meant. They told me they had debt, but that it wasn't so bad. Debt, no matter how many leagues under the sea, can be crushing. If it isn't, then you're one of the lucky few. Generally, debt will throw you a curve ball and knock your socks off. Even if you don't get into trouble with your debt, do you really love paying all that interest which compounds over the course of the debt's life?

For those of you who are finding it difficult to do everything the Financial Genie has offered here and wondering when you might start feeling lighter and more relaxed about your situation, consider the story of the tortoise and the hare. The slow tortoise plodded along while the hare slept, ate, slept some more and malingered his almost certain win. Malingerers do that, they plump themselves up, over confident that whatever needs to be done will get done...eventually.

This means that while the interest is climbing out of sight, the vagueness has made you sleepy. No one wants to actually get up off the couch and go find all those statements and begin the work. So another nap. Meanwhile, the calls and mail from creditors keep coming in.

But the Financial Genie can guarantee that the fun begins when one commits to taking the action of tearing up the cards AND closing the accounts, of contacting the creditors with a payment plan - however small - and ensuring the daily income and cash flow are recorded with accuracy.

Slow? Tedious? Time consuming? Sometimes it can be. But the alternative is worse.

So the Financial Genie has an offer to make. You do the mundane work, and in a very short while you'll be enjoying a modicum of prosperity. You'll be sitting in the driver's seat and enjoying no more phone conversations with creditors AND you will have more money available to you than ever before.

It really doesn't matter if they've socked you with added interest. They'll see you're making every effort. You're just not taking the path of the boisterous, arrogant hare, but the path of the slow, steady, unassuming tortoise who has outwitted that lazy, old hare.

"Life begins each morning...Each morning is the open door to a new world - new vistas, new aims, new tryings." ~ Leigh Hodges

Sunday, November 6, 2011

One Giant Dumpling of Positive Expectation

I was watching my life turning from color to black and white film.
In and of itself, that wasn’t such a bad thing. But the characters in the film were bad and mean spirited.

I chose to throw out the film, start over and cast new actors.
I drew the lines and boundaries, I blocked each act and knew it was going to work. And this time it did.

Everyone knew their lines. Everyone performed with such precision, it was as if I had expected it to be that way.

So here's your great big dumpling of positive expectation:


Someone once told me she never expects anything to go well because she knows it won't. I could hardly hear her words. I've always believed that if you expect something to go well, it will. And in my case it usually has, sometimes even better.

"But," you say, "that's not realistic."

You right. But I don't care about reality. I can recreate my reality in a second just by changing my thinking of a thing. Good? Bad? Something in the middle? I no longer disaster plan because to do so means to stay in the problem. Back in the old days when I was a worrier, the things I worried about never materialized. So I wasted energy. That, and worrying about anything brings on physical maladies.

We could pound our chests for years and rue the day we took out unsecured debt. Or we could become grownups and take the bull by the horns and not retreat from our responsibilities. There's a short window of time when making these financial changes is uncomfortable. It may mean you'll have to cut out certain unnecessary things, the X Box, the movie dates, the dinners out. But eventually because you're working toward solvency, things will start to return.

At the end of an interview, the host said to Harrison Ford, "May the Force be with you," to which Harrison Ford replied, "Force yourself."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

You Are Not Alone ~ A Case Study

Among my many friends, one stands out as having the worst time of it, the it being difficulty paying off debt and student loans. The following is a brief description of what she went through.

Shelley's existence, if it can be called that, is a dramatic study in frustration and poverty. She's about to graduate from Columbia University in New York where she's given her life to a post doctoral program in clinical psychology. Every effort to pay for this degree has been thwarted. All she has to show for her efforts are calluses on her knuckles from knocking on so many doors.

She survives on a $1.44 bagel she buys from the "Hot and Crusty." When she treats herself, she buys a hot dog from the vendor, but puts up with men lurking nearby who steal furtive glances as she squeezes out the mustard and eats her hot dog.

In search of a summer job to pay the rent and light bill, she attacks department stores like Attila the Hun. But all her attempts are shrouded in failure. With only $18.00 to her name, she hears of an agency that will buy fertile ovum for $3,000. This sounds intriguing and worth investigating. But at 41, she discovers she's too old to qualify.

Finally, on a late Thursday evening, a bit of fortune comes her way. Talbots is hiring and the lady likes her. She accepts the application and asks for references. Shelley gives her a few names, but when Talbots calls and asks one of the references if he is Dr. Albert Schein, he says no and hangs up, thinking it's a sales call.

Shelley does not suffer from any apparent mental or physical handicaps. But after two years of duking it out with the fates, she begins to worry about her sanity. There is nowhere to turn unless it's the Park which makes her feel uncomfortable. That leaves her with the steady din of New York traffic and treeless streets. Still, she does have one friend who calls to tell her it might be fun this year to exchange birthday gifts. "This year," she tells Shelley, "I'm going to send you a beach umbrella."

Shelley, who by now has run out of panic buttons, stifles laughter. A beach umbrella?? Her slightly frayed neurotransmitters search to make the connection. Of course, what cardboard box on the street would be complete without a beach umbrella.

By now, she's developed a strange batch of schizo-affective symptoms in combination with a dark sense of humor. She's crumbling before her own image and tells herself she is one with everything, every panhandler, every homeless person, every mendicant. But, she's also one with Donald Trump.

Still, it is her lack of hostility and excessive composure that scares me. She's spending too much time in her 400 square foot studio staring at her beautiful long red hair and threatening to sell it because there's a market for red hair in China.

Her student loans are inching their way skyward and the calls keep coming in.
The student loans are exorbitant and she simply cannot pay them. She knows she will be paying for at least ten or fifteen more years.

Fast forward this case study and you'll see Shelley's picture looks radically different. Her student loans took 10 years to pay off. Did she mind? Not at all. Her goals and dreams were riding sidesaddle along with her debts. Only she reached her dreams long before the student loans were paid off. She now owns a business and is financially prosperous.

What did Shelley do that worked so well? She got out of debt on her timetable.

"Slow motion gets you there faster" ~ Hoagy Carmichael