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Centerpointe Research

It Is Never Too Late


budget (Photo credit: The Survival Woman)

It is never too late and it is never too early to budget your time and especially your money.  Some of the most important things in life, we rely on experience to learn.  For example, being pregnant and giving birth, keeping a home, and raising children is something people frequently have to learn the hard way.  Some of this in the past was taught to children by having them learn by doing,  by modeling behavior, and/or by having children shadow their parents.

Many articles about the causes of divorce and marital conflict highlight budgeting money and housework as the chief or most common problems that develop conflict.  Yet, we often do not anticipate these problems when set out on our own and establish our own household or family.  We limp along and rely on credit and wind up in serious financial straits with no idea of what we can afford to spend, to borrow to  pay for a house and/or a car, and still pay our bills.

As our income improves, we often do not use it wisely.  We see ourselves as having increased buying power and credit card companies encourage us to take on an even larger debt load rather than paying them off.  It is like a house of cards ready to collapse at almost any time when a small breeze (decrease in income in terms of increase in deductions for medical insurance or reduction in pay due to a dem0tion, loss of job, or becoming a part-time employee instead of a full time employee, the death or loss of an income provider, another child especially one with serious medical problems, a dependent parent, and property loss due to fire or storm damage) comes along.

I remember in high school being taught how to fill out an income tax return and how useful that was especially when I had to figure out my parents income and expenses to apply for financial aid for college.  Some schools have kids carry around a five pound sack of flour or a very realistic baby doll 24/7 that requires frequent feedings and diaper changing as well as not being able to be left alone.  Tutoring children, adolescents, and young adults in how to finance their current or future lifestyle makes sense.

Why should learning the most important things in life be left to chance.  Few people learn to budget their time and money because they like to do it, usually they don’t do it until they have to do it and then they often make a mess of it.  Yes, we rely a lot on parents to do this; but how can they do this when they weren’t taught to do this themselves.  Our society thrives on financially competent people who can take care of themselves; but we do little to promote this.  Instead we encourage dependency on welfare and government payments to take up the slack which is getting bigger and bigger.  Some people when this happens (God bless them) learn to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps; but this can be a big price to pay for financial independence which they might have been able to learn how to have before they went out on their own.

Do you fit this picture?  Is there anything you can do about it before it is too late?

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