Saturday March 10th
It’s early and I cannot sleep. This is partially because I am so used to my schedule and it is partially because I see so much need around me. It is hard to watch people you know struggle with life, and especially finances. I know that I’m not equipped to solve all life problems, but I do feel like I know a thing or two about finances.And what I know comes from real life experiences. When my husband and I were in college, we bought a bicycle. That purchase was a real good experience for me. And I learned a lot! We really couldn’t afford this bike. But we really wanted it. It was super simple to just use our new credit card and get the bike. So we did. Right away I set out to pay off that bike. And it really took forever. Because as I said, we really couldn’t afford it. Each month I saw how much we really couldn’t afford it. And over the time it took to pay off that credit card, we paid a lot for that bike. Too much! I refrain from calling it a “stupid” bike. That bike taught me a hard lesson and I chose to learn from it. By the way, we still have this bike 23 years later. It really is a nice bike.
As a real estate agent, I find I am constantly working with people buying their new houses that they really can’t afford. (This is their bike). I want to say stop, don’t do it! I want to explain to them why…..But it is not my position to be lecturing them about their finances. I try to educate them in my own small way and help them go smaller. Sometimes they listen and sometimes they don’t.
And as a real estate investor, I am constantly buying foreclosed houses and cleaning up the messes created after people have come to the hard realization they couldn’t afford their purchase.
Now to be fair life can happen and sometimes what was once affordable changes. Loss of job or health comes to mind. This is why setting out to be an investor first and a consumer second is so important. If you train yourself to think like an investor, you can weather the challenges life will throw at you. You are still going to make financial mistakes, we all do. But if you have trained your mind then you really can tackle them head on.
This has been one of my goals in raising my children. I have tried to instill this understanding of money, how it works, and how not to fall into the traps that are out there. You have to work hard and smart as far as I am concerned. So We’ll soon see if I have been an effective teacher as they are getting to the age where they are going to be independent. I hope that I have taught them how to afford their bike first so they can ride it in peace.
My final thoughts for today are: What is your bike? What can you learn from it? and What are you going to do about it?