BY: BYRON MOORE, CFP®
posted April 9, 2018
Question: I know that I am financially sick. I am not sure how to start a budget. My credit score is a total mess. I cannot even figure out how I got here. How do I get well?
Answer: When you’re driving, it’s a good idea to keep your eyes looking forward, with occasional glances into the rearview mirror to see where you’ve come from.
Driving while focusing on what’s behind you is a bad idea. So is living while constantly looking back.
Just ask Kai Rainey. This week I watched her inspirational story. At 42 years old she weighed 300 lbs and was certain that she would soon need a mobility device just to get around. She hated herself, she hated what she had become and she felt helpless to free herself from this prison of her own making.
Kai found a community of friends that supported her on a journey of moving not only from physical sickness to wellness but then from physical wellness to fitness.
It struck me that this sick-well-fit continuum applied not only to physical health but to financial health as well. If the definition of “well” is simply “not sick,” then the definition of “fit” is somewhere beyond well.
An oversimplified example might be that a financially sick person lives beyond their means, is behind on their bills, is not saving money and has no savings.
A financially well person lives within their means, can pay all their bills, has debt they can easily service, but has no money in savings.
A financially fit person lives beneath their means, easily pays all their bills, has no consumer debt, saves money monthly and as a result has ample liquid savings.
The good news for Kai is that she made it. With the encouragement of a group of friends, she moved from sick to well…and then from well to fit. Like Kai did, it will be helpful to remember a few true things as you begin your financial journey out of sickness, to wellness and (hopefully!) on to fitness…
This can be done. You can do this. Not alone and not instantly. But you can do this. How do I know? Because…
Others have done this. You aren’t trying to do something others before you have not done. You are not the first person who has successfully gotten well financially. And if you know others have done it before you, you can say to yourself…
I can do this. It is very important that you say that to yourself, even if you don’t completely believe it! Others will help you believe it, because…
Others will help me. There are people who care about you getting financially well. There are a number of churches and community organizations that offer financial literacy and basic financial skills courses. As with anything, some are better than others. So don’t be afraid to try a few in order to find the group right for you. You are looking for a source to learn, but equally important is that you are looking for a community to support. Because your journey may not be completely smooth, but…
Failure is not final. Kai had a night when she got up, cut up an entire stick of butter and ate it a slice at a time. She hated herself, but she felt like she couldn’t stop. But her community came around her, supported her, loved her and wouldn’t let her stop. That’s a good community of friends!
All I have to do is start. Don’t over think this. You know you need change. No, you cannot imagine how someone like you could ever lose 150 pounds (financially speaking!) and actually become financially fit. That’s OK. All you need to do is…
Take a small step now. For Kai, small steps forward provided hope. And hope fueled her further progress. The small step you take now to find a group, or a course, or a class, or a friend or a community will light a small flame of hope in you that will help you take the next step. And then the next.
I think you can get well. I think you can get fit.
Don’t worry too much if you don’t yet believe.
Just take the first step.
Argent Advisors, Inc. is an SEC registered investment adviser. A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request. Please See Important Disclosure Information here.