Photo: Flickr via rafiqs
As you may remember I have a very unhealthy financial past and I do have some financial regrets.
I don’t regret making the mistakes because learning from my mistakes has helped me become financially responsible. However I do regret that I let my finances suffer for so long. Eventually I made a conscious decision to turn my financial life around and get my personal finances in order.
I was the product of what I now refer to as “The Britney Spears Effect.” This refers to the out of the control, reckless, and excessive spending behaviour that occurs in young professionals when they start earning a moderate to high salary at a relatively young age. We often see this reckless behaviour in Hollywood starlets such as Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, and Lindsey Lohan; however it also happens to regular young people who have regular day jobs. If we don’t have someone to help us manage our money and guide us financially we could end up regretting our financial mistakes.
Make the Decision To Make Changes
I am now responsible with my money because I learned from my irresponsible mistakes in the past. I used to enjoy my income without any conscious planning for my future wellbeing. One day I finally decided to “grow up” and I made the conscious decision to start paying off my debt, start paying my bills on time, and start saving money on a regular basis. I now save money in both my short-term emergency savings fund as well as my long-term retirement savings account because I know what it’s like to have an emergency and not have any emergency savings funds.
I am not exactly sure which light switch went off inside my brain that made me start to clean up my financial messiness, but it had a lot to do with the fact that I was sick and tired of seeing my high credit card balances. I was tired of making payments and not seeing my credit card balances decrease; so I decided to make a change and actively do something to change it.
Find The Root Of The Problem
It is ok to make mistakes as long as we learn from them. Before we can make any changes in our financial lives we have to find the root of our problems. Before we can change our spending and saving habits we have to first know what we are doing wrong and how our problems started.
I don’t mind sharing my financial story because I want to help people learn from their own mistakes and (if possible) I want to help people avoid making the same mistakes that I made in the past. All financial problems are fixable, but it does take time. It may take only a few quick months to make a devastating financial mistake, but it can take several years to totally repair our financial situation. I personally feel that if I am learning from my mistakes I can help others learn too, because if it is happening to me the odds are that it is also happening to someone else.