Saturday, February 2, 2013

Just Because Everybody Else is Doing It.....

Your mother said it, “Just because everybody else is doing it doesn’t make it right.” Your mother was right.

Dave Ramsey is fond of saying he doesn’t want to do what everybody else is doing, everybody else is broke.” Dave Ramsey is right.

Now I am going to say it too.

Let’s start at graduation.

Most likely you already have your first credit card. Just because everybody else is running up a balance buying a bunch of stuff for their clothes closet and new furniture for their apartment doesn’t make it right. If you can’t pay your balance off every month, lock up that credit card.

Most likely you already have a used car that your parents bought for you or at least helped you buy. Just because everybody else is taking out a car loan for a new car doesn’t make it right. It is almost always cheaper to repair a used car than it is to buy a new car. When the cost of the repairs exceeds the value of the car once repaired then you can look for a new….used car.

Most likely you will want to get married. Just because everybody else is spending an average of $27,000 (really) on a wedding doesn’t make it right. Perhaps some of that money could be better used to pay down those student loans that are essentially a mortgage payment without a house.

Most likely you will want to buy a house after the marriage. Just because everybody else is maxing out the house they can buy based on two incomes doesn’t make it right. In the next paragraph you may want to start a family. Perhaps mom might want to stay at home with her babies. If you bought the biggest house the two of you could possibly afford on a 30 year mortgage with 10% down this will not be an option.

Most likely you will want a family. Just because everybody else is having children out of wedlock or before they can afford to care for them doesn’t make it right. Modern birth control in the hands of responsible adults is almost 100% effective. Wait until your marriage is stable and your finances can cover the basic needs of your child. Children are a blessing from God. Debt is a curse. We live in a society that has that backwards.

Most likely you will now need to balance your personal self realization, the legitimate needs of your family, and life’s little luxuries. Just because everybody else is working and commuting 60 or more hours a week to pay for a house they can’t afford and a SUV they do not need doesn’t make it right. There are no easy answers to this one. It is something that you need to work out with your God and your spouse. I have seen some of my young coworkers suck it up and make some hard decisions for the good of their families. May they be blessed.

Most likely you will want to send your children to college, pay for their weddings, and still retire sometime before you die. Just because everybody else is living for today, taking no steps to save for these goals, hoping that good fortune and the Federal Government will take care of everything doesn’t make it right. Start to save for these goals today! If you are tempted to max out anything at the cost of something else, max out savings when you are young. The power of compound interest plus time is absolutely amazing.

Finally, whenever you look at your life; whether you are just starting out of school or reflecting on life and career at your retirement luncheon, avoid envy, regrets, and bitterness. How much other people earn, the cars they drive, or what they did to you doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you walked before your God with honesty, integrity, compassion, and love to the best of your abilities. It doesn’t mater what everybody else was doing.

In the final analysis it is about you and God.

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