Despite all that we preach and teach here at the Center for Financial resources, as we travel the final approach to Christmas I have one thing to say. In my best (and not that great) Brooklyn-Italian accent, I’ll leave this year off with a big “Fuhgeddaboudit!” (For those needing a Mid-West translation, that’s a slurred together ‘forget about it’.)
While one of the largest causes of financial trouble is a lack of awareness, I am actually going to encourage you to back off just a bit over the next week or two. Have a plan in place and operating? Great! Just give a little attention to making sure the plan isn’t dominating all you do.
Here’s the bigger picture:
What Really Matters – We have spent ample time and verbiage talking about the management of money lately, particularly in terms of Christmas. But, after all, that really isn’t the reason for the season. I was reminded of that the other night as my wife, kids, and I hopped in my parents’ Suburban to drive around town and do nothing more than look at Christmas lights. It wasn’t anything wild and crazy. At times the lights struggled to hold my 5 year-old’s attention. But we had a great time just being together.
While finances are important, they are usually just a means to an end – that end being whatever builds our relationships with friends and family. Don’t get so wrapped up in the numbers that you forget about the people around you. By stepping back from the nitty-gritty of our budgets, we get a breath of fresh air and a chance to evaluate our priorities. As you reaffirm what really matters, adjust your budget to make sure those relational priorities happen.
A Moment Of Recovery – While we can have the best plan imaginable, life still happens. Sometimes we make choices that just don’t make sense. Sometimes those choices simply mean a Friday night at home rather than going out. Sometimes those choices mean losing possessions or even bankruptcy. Personally, I can still feel guilty about things I did years ago if I let myself go there. I understand.
Regardless of the extent of your mistakes, I encourage you to ‘fuhgeddaboudit’. While we can’t change the past, we have control over our future. Don’t be crushed by the mistakes of your past. Instead use them as a springboard towards taking control of your future. With the coming of the New Year, use it as a new chance for new directions. Let go of the guilt of last year and move forward with confidence.
And In The End…. – As a part of Lutheran Social Services, I am so happy to be able to share the last of this. In the end, as we move through the Christmas season, remember that it is ‘Christmas’ and not ‘Xmas’. Christmas marks the coming of Christ in human form. Ultimately, it is only because of His birth, death, and resurrection that we can truly say ‘fuhgeddaboudit’, whether financial or otherwise. In sending His Son, God looked into our hearts and said ‘Let me take care of that for you.’
From the Center for Financial Resources to you, Merry Christmas. Make sure you take some time to focus on what truly matters and forget about the rest. See you next year.
written by Breck Miller
images courtesy freedigitalphotos.net