Monthly Archives: May 2006

What A Difference 13 Months Can Make

I have 8300 dollars in my savings account. I have 8300 dollars in my savings account. I HAVE EIGHTY THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS IN MY SAVINGS ACCOUNT!!!!!!!

Now, this may or may not be a big deal to you, but for me, this is HUGE. Until last year, I was in debt, had no savings, and I felt anxious, every, single, day. I worried about my future, I worried about losing my job, I fretted over every expenditure, and I felt like I was going nowhere. Now… Man, EVERYTHING is different. I feel in control, confident about my future, ready to face a financial emergency, and pumped about saving more and more. Am I rich? Far, far, from it. But, I am preparing myself TO BE rich. I’m doing smart things. In fact, here are the smart things that I am doing, right now:

I have a budget.
I save money.
I don’t borrow money.
I pay my bills on time and early.
I balance my checkbook.
I am contributing to my retirement, and will increase my contributions after I have my 20K emergency fund.
I now longer worry, I plan, and take action.

That’s it. Simple, easy, practical. That’s how I like my life.

If you are overwhelmed, and you feel like there is too much info out there, or that you are too “stupid” to do anything about your finances…STOP!!! There is hope. You must learn to grasp hold of today, forget about yesterday, and plan for tomorrow. Quit borrowing money. Get out of debt. Make a plan. Enjoy the simple, everyday pleasures of life. Stop driving around in your retirement (that stupid new car you bought!!!). Think, think, think, think, think.

Far too many people float around, with no insight into their personal finances. Only YOU can make a decision to change. Only YOU can send those payments in. Only YOU can say no to that item you do not need. Only YOU can stay on budget. Balls in your court. What are YOU going to do?

ME April 2005: -11,510.22 dollars
ME May 2006: 8300 dollars
Total Change: 19,810.22
13 Months: = 1500 dollars a month! 50 dollars a day!

You can do this. You can do this. You can do this. You can do this. You can do this.

You must do this.

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The Match Beyond

(10 Bonus Points if you know what the title of this post refers to…)

Growing up, I LOVED to watch pro-wrestling. Old school stars like Dusty Rhodes, The Road Warriors, and “Wildfire” Tommy Rich were some of my favorite wrestlers. Back in those days, pro-wrestling was much different than it is today. (It was still fake…but man was it fun to watch!)

One of the things that used to make the matches so “believable” (at least to a 9 year old kid) was the way in which one opponent would choose to take on another opponent. Usually, each combatant would chose a body part, say an arm or an ankle, and spend the bulk of the match focusing their efforts towards hurting that particular body part. (For you wrestling dorks like me, this is called “ring psychology” where you actually try make your actions in the ring LOOK like they really mean something.) The greatest wrestler of that era, Ric Flair, was a master of this technique. He would spend the bulk of his matches attacking an opponents knee. Time after time he would kick, trip, and punch his opponent, trying to “injure” the other guys knee. Now, inevitably, the opponent would mount a late-match comeback, only to have his knee “give-out” at just the right time, allowing Flair to win the match by using his patented figure-four leg-lock.

Whew, enough of the dorkiness!!!

What does any of this have to do with personal finance? TONS!!! Why? Because, most people who find themselves in difficult financial straits try to attack multiple “fronts” at one time. Instead, you should FOCUS your energies on one particular financial area. Take getting out of debt. After paying your monthly minimums, try focusing ALL of your extra debt payment on one account. Don’t try to put 10 or 15 extra dollars “here or there”. Put every extra dollar you have towards one particular debt. If you are saving money, focus on saving money. One thing that I learned while trying to save for my emergency fund AND try to learn about investing was that I was easily distracted from my original goal. Instead of intensely focusing on saving up for my emergency fund, my focus would drift. The result? I saved less money last month than I had in the previous two. So, I had to “re-focus” my energies towards my present goal. I needed to “work the knee.” If you’ve lost focus, it’s time to shift back into that “intense-mode”. Get excited and motivated. Set a specific, relatively short-term goal, and go for it. Make each “punch or kick” matter. Stop trying to do every thing “half-way” and do ONE thing really, really well.

Okay, a little more dorkiness:
My top 10 favorite old-school wrestlers, in no particular order:
1. Ricky Morton
2. Magnum T.A.
3. Tully Blanchard
4. Nakita Kolloff
5. Road Warrior Hawk
6. The Freebirds
7. Ric Flair
8. Dusty Rhodes
9. Tommy “Wildfire” Rich
10. Buzz Sawyer

Okay, just a last little bit more:
My 5 least favorite wrestlers:
1. Hulk Hogan
2. Sid
3. The UnderTaker
4. Ken Patera
5. Koko B. Ware

If you know who all of these people are, God help you soul.

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