Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Not so Honest

I just finished reading Diva (in Demand)’s post where she has one liners about how she really feels about people in her life and started thinking about my own honest assessments of people around me. Despite the moniker, I’m not as Honest as I’d like to think. I hold my tongue a lot because I’m generally non confrontational and nice with people I know. I’ve had a former manager at work describe me as someone who is straightforward, honest, and isn’t afraid to speak her mind. I agree with her assessment to a certain extent but I’m not always straightforward or honest. There are a lot of things I hold back on because I don’t want to be confrontational or hurt someone’s feelings. It’s also because I can be judgmental (90% of which I keep to myself) because as I get older, I realize we don’t all have the same thought process nor do we need to.

A friend of mine just asked me for a personal favor that would have included lending her money until pay day. Except with my family, I have a policy of only lending what I can afford to give away. I felt very awkward telling her I don’t feel comfortable doing that and although I know she’s disappointed she says she understands my decision. I’m not sure why I felt uncomfortable saying no, which is another problem I have. My friend expressed that she would never put me in a bad financial situation and I believe her but in the back of my mind I thought, she succeed in putting herself in a bad situation financially so why can’t she clear up whatever issue it is that’s keeping her from buying something outright or with her own credit card unless its an emergency (this situation wasn’t an emergency). This is where I should have stepped in and told her what I just wrote but I stopped because I didn’t want to sound too judgmental (which I can be when it comes to finances) and if she made the decision to ask me for this favor then she’s probably justified the expense in her mind and nothing I would say would make her budge.

Everywhere around me I have friends and associates who don’t have the same ideas regarding sacrificing to reach an end goal that I do. In fact my mother would say I don’t have the same idea that she does and I consider her the ultimate sacrificer (is that even a word?). During our retreat we had a friend’s husband come in and do a basic financial planning exercise. If we called bad financial planning and decisions a disease I could honestly say a majority of the group is dying from bad decisions. Will anyone make the changes they said they would to get on the right path to their goal? Maybe. I’d like to think I have sound, fool proof financial habits but in reality I don’t. I sat down with a financial planner earlier this year after forking over big bucks and have a clear goal I need to strive for but find myself constantly tripping over my own feet. I’m trying an experiment as of December 1 (not including xmas presents which will have its separate budget) and I’ll see how successful I am.


GeckoGirl said...

Unfortunately, the vast majority of the population has that disease. Simply put, if everyone around you is eating Big Macs, it makes it a little difficult for you to sit there alone with your veggie burger and bean sprouts. That said, them having clogged arteries is no reason for you to have them too...

However, I think as long as you take care of the big things, you can cut yourself some slack on the small things. I max out my 401k and my IRA so I'm not going to beat myself up over not bringing my lunch to work everyday or going overboard at Bed, Bath and Beyond. The key is to have balance. I could save/invest every spare penny I have but what kind of life would that be?

Luke Cage said...

I was a walking financial disaster in the early to mid-90's. If you asked me where all of my paycheck went, I couldn't tell you. It wasn't on drugs, women, booze or even addictions.. so where was it?

Fast forward to '97, and funny what marriage does to you. I couldn't carry those financial woes into a relationship that would deprive her as well if my shortcomings prevented us from getting a car or a house or whatever. I HAD to fix my finances.

It was hard, lots of sacrifice, but sacrificing then, has helped me to NOT sacrifice today. It's tough and can be very debilitating sometimes to be hampered by lack of finances or financial burden. And even with that in mind, I'm sure I have some piss-poor spending habits that can use a little tweaking up or so.

Hey, on the sneak tip, I don't always come off as honest as I'd like myself, but most of the time folks get my gist. ;)

Hostess said...

Hee-hee. I was just on my way to the mall after having stayed home sick. I really was ill but I'm better now. Instead though, I'll just go pick up my dry cleaning. I got a bunch of things taylored because it was cheaper to make my old clothes smaller than to buy all new clothes--and I kinda wanted new clothes. Ugh. I'm over it. Yeah so, I was talking to my dad last night and he was under the impression that because my car was paid off, I was squandering the money I'd be spending on my car note. I was offended. I think the drugs have me rambling.

TJ said...

I have the same policy you have about lending money. I guess time has made it easy for me to say no, hee hee. Like geckogirl said, balance is key. I come from a long line of extreme savers and while they have their share of benefits (house paid off, kids go to school in cash, etc.) a little balance goes a long way. Trust.

CreoleInDC said...

I know a few things about money only because I have been to hell and beyond when it comes to funds. I'd like to pass a few things on.

1. 401K
Invest the max allowed into your 401K. Truly. ESPECIALLY if your company is matching. That's like free money. AND...the money that you would get in your paycheck post tax dollars wouldn't compare even a little bit to what you're gaining by putting the money away for your retirement.

I had a great Aunt who was a school teacher in Louisiana. Her husband was in the military. Both of them retired and when they passed their estate was several million dollars. Why? Because they always put the max money away and they didn't spend money on frivalous things. SAVE people...SAVE!

If you haven't started putting money into your 401K...start doing it today. Straight up. The best thing in the money world is compounded interest. IT'S PHENOMINAL!

When you're deciding how to allocate your money in the different funds in your portfolio remember this....it's best to be as diverse as possible. Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

2. Insurance.
If you have kids, please make sure you (and their other parent if possible) have a life insurance policy in your children's name. Also...please get your ducks in a row and identify who would be the guardian to your children in the event of a disaster.

If you're a stay at home mom...don't make the mistake of not having yourself insured. Keep in mind that you are worth the amount of money it would take to replace you ie., childcare, housekeeping, etc. These types of expenses could reck havoc on a budget if not taken into consideration.

I personally use a no-load company called Ameritas. www.ameritasdirect.com It's considered no-load because they don't have agents like State Farm, etc. Therefore their rates are the best since they don't have to make sure that agents get their cut. When you call the number...you get a rep at the INSURANCE COMPANY. To me...this is a no brainer.

3. Roth IRA
If you have maxed your contributions to your 401K and your disposable income allows it...fund a Roth IRA. To find one, start with your bank first.

4. Personal Savings
Well...you KNOW you need emergency money. All kinds of ish comes up when you're not expecting it. In the event this hits you...it's good to have some cash liquid that you can get your hands on.

5. Credit Cards
STAY AWAY! Stop thinking of credit cards as a means to get things you want. THEY ARE DA DEBIL! Only use a credit card for convenience such as travel arrangements etc. Do not make material purchases using a credit card that you can't pay off COMPLETELY when the statement arises. Interest is AWFUL, AWFUL, AWFUL! You'll owe YEARS of bring home pay from going to your dang slave job to strangers at a credit card company. Humph. How crazy is that?

ALSO. The worse your credit is...the more you will have to pay for EVERYTHING! You can't save money if you're spending the max possible on everything in the world because your credit score proves you untrustworthy.

6. Credit
If your credit is jacked up. After you finish reading this...call Equifax, Experion, and Trans Union immediately and get copies of your credit reports from all three. You can't know what you're up against if you're unaware of what is on your report. Then...start writing letters to dispute what is there and if it the creditor doesn't respond to the inquiry in 45 days...it must be removed from your report. This is a way to "clean up" your credit report.

7. Financial Planner
If your money isn't funny right now...I can't tell you anything better to do than to hire a PAID financial planner. To find one, google the financial planners association and use one in your area. REMEMBER...THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PAID ONE AND A NON-PAID ONE.

A paid one costs about $95 an hour. They will fax you or send via email a list of all the things you will need to bring to your consultation. Don't waste their time and your money by not showing up with what they told you to bring. They will give you enough time to set up a meeting after you've had enough time to get your ducks in a row. (Your ducks should already be in a row. If not...get a file box from Walmart and GET your ducks in a row!)

The only money they make is from their meetings with you and other clients. They do not make a commission based on the "financial products" they sell you.

Non-paid planners make their money off the commissions funds pay them to sell you their products. This puts you at a disadvantage because you'll never know if what they are suggesting you do is going to benefit YOUR pocket or THEIR pocket the most.

The ones remaining....well...you're going to have to take your medicine and call them. Remember...they haven't been getting ANY money toward your debt so they will readily talk to you about getting SOME money. Flat out.

Now I know that it can be difficult to find even an extra penny sometimes for some people...but...ya gotta start. If you keep chipping away slowing but surely...you'll be there before you know it. Remember that this is for your FUTURE!

Money makes the world go around and the less we spend...the more we keep. The Robinator always says..."Monnie...we aren't going to get wealthy by spending." I know honey...I know.

The absolute BEST thing you can do for your financial freedom is to educate yourself on money. There are lots of books out there that read well but the best I've found is "The Truth About Money" by Ric Edelman and "The Millionaire Next Door" (forgot who wrote this...but you can google it).

Oh...and I am by no means an expert, of course, I'm just passing on to you what I have personally learned and some of what we do. CreoleInDC is SERIOUS about her money. I'm waaaaaaaaaaaaay too cute to be poor. ROFL!

Anonymous said...

There's different ways of being honest, and still protecting your friends' feelings. Sometimes you tell things slowly, over the course of days or weeks, so as not to overwhelm them.

Peach said...

i would like to say that I am pretty good with my finances, even though im broke. bills are always payed, food in belly, baby has diapers. The one thing i REFUSE to sacrifice (you're gonna laugh) is my tanning. I love the way i look when i'm tan. i told my auntie "I will not be broke AND look it" Im not gonna go buy a fendi purse, but i will feel good about myself regaurdless of my financial situation LOL

Brotha Buck said...

I let my wife do the financial stuff, or else we'd be in big trouble.

Anonymous said...

One liner: Show me the cats!