Have you stopped to think about how fast we all are running now? Our work is flat out, we are constantly connected via smart phones, and our personal lives are running just as hard. Life is a juggle and a lot of the time we can feel like we are paddling like crazy under the water – just like the proverbial duck.
In this environment, money – and even more importantly; debt, play a huge role in the stress of keeping your head above water.
Australians have one of the biggest household debt ratios in the world.
Our mortgages are huge and our credit cards are racked up. To the outside world this may look like you have a great house, nice car; go on good holidays and have it all.
But internally, as I know from personal experience, this means living inside the money trap – paying off one card, to rack up another. Stretching to pay the mortgage every month and always having that back of mind worry feeling about money.
It wasn’t too many years ago that I was on that treadmill. Big mortgage for the dream house, big leases on very nice cars and credit cards that never went down to zero. And for a long time there, I thought that was OK. That I could handle it, and that I had everything I wanted. But after a while, the shine wore off all the things I thought I couldn’t live without. And the stress of maintaining them only got bigger.
While I was not able to change everything all at once about my life, the first and important thing my husband and I did was come to the realisation that the house and all the stuff were not what made us happy. Being with our kids, and enjoying friends and family was where the joy was.
We also wanted to change the way we worked and have freedom to not do work we no longer enjoyed. This meant we had to undo all the things we had set up about our lives. We sold our house, paid down our credit cards to zero, and worked toward eventually owning our cars outright.
We also built a safety net account that will see us live for six months if no money came in the door at all, and got our insurance and wills/estate planning in order with a great financial planner. Now I am not saying it was fun, and there was a lot of stress along the way. There was also a fair amount of swallowing pride. It took five years to really turn it all around, and there were many nights spent wondering was it all worth it.
But I am here to say – it was. Until you no longer have a big fat financial burden on your back, you really don’t know just how heavy it was. When I sit in the traffic and see so many angry faces, frustrated people and short tempers, I know without a doubt, much of it is caused by the crazy pace, and the stress of making ends meet.
If deep down you know you are in a money trap, maybe its time to think differently about your life. About what really makes you happy. To start the process, I have created a Reinvention Journal to help you on your way. It’s free here and you can start filling it out to see what really matters to you, and the true financial position you are in. Only when you are clear on these two things can you really start to change your life and leave the money trap behind.
It’s not easy, it is not quick and there’s a whole lot of dumping pride in the process. But I can promise you, that long term change to move toward a life you really want, could be the most important thing you do in your adult life. Use your years wisely, as you cannot get them back.
You can change your life. Take the first step. I am here to help.
Until next time,