By Matt - Sunday, September 16th, 2007
As we get older in life we are tasked with more responsibility over our worlds. Whether it’s paying our income taxes or managing our spending habits, growing as individuals requires serious discipline. When we’re children we’re responsible for very little but by the time we’re making money we’ve got obligations and a responsibility to those obligations. Financial responsibility is no different; once we’re at the point in our lives where we’re making money our financial matters are our responsibility. We have to take that responsibility and accept it.
Debt for example doesn’t happen over night, people who find themselves very deep in debt have no one but themselves to blame for their situation. They spent more money than they had or than they made. They were irresponsible and now they struggle. I know I’m one of those people but unlike a lot of people when I’m asked how I got into debt my answer is: “I was stupid with my money” where a lot of people blame this circumstance or another. When it really comes down to it there will be times when you need to spend more money than you have but if you’re not willing to accept the repercussions of your own actions then maybe you shouldn’t be taking them.
Another aspect of the financial responsibility for me is the social pressures to spend. Keeping up with the Jones’ has always been a fact of life but when you’re pressured to keep up with the Hilton’s that’s a completely different story. Regardless of if we like it we’re all influenced by our peers and the media to some extent. We see what those around us have and sometimes we can’t help but want something similar. This is a fact of life and as long as we accept our financial responsibilities and live within our means we’re far less likely to find ourselves in debt to our eyeballs.
Accepting responsibility is hard. Even something as simple as admitting to yourself that you’re the cause of your own financial troubles takes time and a certain amount of bravery. Unfortunately getting into a financial mess is far easier than getting out of one. Knowing just how much you owe banks and other people is a frightening concept because you are forced to admit that you made mistakes and are likely going to make them in the future. Without accepting responsibility for your actions and yourself you’re never going to be able to get out of debt and into a situation where you don’t have to keep up with the Jones’ on debt but with excess money.
Taking the lazy way out by floating along and not accepting financial responsibility for your actions is foolhardy and you’re left with no one but yourself to blame. Circumstances will come up that will force you to spend money you don’t have, deal with it! Living in fear of your debts is not a way to live; I know I’ve been in that situation. I’ve accepted that I’m bad with my money and this blog is partially to help me keep myself in check. I’m using the experiences of other personal finance bloggers to accept responsibility for my spending and to improve it.
Accepting the issue is the very first step to being able to fix it.