Often, we are quick to judge those who get into financial trouble. We see them as selfish, lacking discipline, or trying to keep up with the Joneses. Don’t get me wrong, more often than not, that probably is the case.
After all, we live in an era of materialism and Kardashians. They are still a thing, right?
One of the reasons why I dig the personal finance community is because it feels like we are fighting back against this.
But sometimes financial struggle doesn’t happen this way. It’s not always because of sports cars, private jets, and lavish vacations.
Financial Struggle From Good Intentions
It’s a real shame when people have a hard time getting ahead from trying to make seemingly positive life changes.
Case in point, we know a wonderful family that is barely scraping by after moving across the country to be closer to family and where they grew up. They wanted to raise their children closer to grandma and grandpa which is very admirable. I certainly can’t blame them for moving, and their heart is in the right place. However they moved to a very small town which limits their work options, and their income. They went from both working decent paying jobs before the move, to only one working parent with a small income job after the move.
They are now eligible to receive government assistance, which they refuse to do.
So obviously they miscalculated the ability to find good jobs in their excitement to move back to their old stomping grounds. Human emotion clouds judgement sometimes, I have been guilty of this too. We aren’t cold, calculating robots that make zero mistakes.
I would imagine they will eventually move to a bigger city with more opportunities, which will incur more moving costs.
All for trying to give their children a better life. Ugh.
Common Traps That Lead To Financial Struggle
It can be tricky to improve your family’s or your own well being without getting into a paycheck to paycheck type of scenario. Or worse. Especially if you rely on one income or live in a really expensive part of the world. After all, there are lots of people that aren’t trying to live like rockstars. Folks are simply attempting to make changes they believe will help the family and don’t realize how fast everything adds up against them. We shouldn’t criminalize them for that. The common traps include:
1. A bigger, newer house in a nice neighborhood. Maybe an extra bedroom or two.
2. An upgraded, reliable vehicle to keep your family safe on the road.
3. Sending children to a private school vs a public school.
4. Enrolling the kids into every activity available thereby ensuring most weekends to be spent traveling, staying in hotels, and eating at restaurants to watch them participate.
5. Dropping from a two income family to one income before you are financially prepared to.
Now it can be argued none of the above mentioned items are things you actually NEED. But some people have the perception these things equal happiness and bring improvements to life. And everyone has a different value system as we know.
We Can Help Others Fight Back!
I just saw this CNBC article stating only 39% of Americans have enough savings to cover a $1,000 emergency. This is not from some old study, this is current times folks. And I don’t need to remind you $1,000 doesn’t go very far anymore. We are constantly reminded by the media that we aren’t saving enough for retirement.
Obviously the personal finance community is not saturated enough and people need additional guidance. At times it probably feels like there are so many PF bloggers and articles out there, but judging by these stats, there is still room for more! Further content needs to be produced to get in front of more eyeballs.
While I don’t have as much sympathy for professional athletes wasting their fortunes out there poppin’ bottles and buying jewelry, I do for the common person having good intentions but still facing financial struggle.
If nothing else, this serves as a reminder to me to not be so quick to judge the situations of others. There are good folks out there trying to do the right thing but need our help!