You Can’t Always Get What You Want

To paraphrase Mick, “you just might find, you get what you need.” A lot of us think, “If only I made more money, life would be so much easier.”  It would be nice not to worry about money, but let’s be honest.  Just like Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, we think more money will solve our problems.  He sang “If I were a rich man.”  It all sounds great.  Unfortunately, that isn’t how any of that works.

One thing I like to hammer home in my classes is that it’s NOT about how much money you make, but how you manage it.

I’ve had clients who brought home THOUSANDS of dollars in a month and couldn’t make it work. I’ve had others who get by very well on less than $1200 per month.

We had a client come in with a monthly income of about $7,500.  They were behind on their mortgage, credit cards, medical bills, and car loan.  They had a good income, but had borrowed past their ability to pay.  Clients often say “If only we didn’t have all that debt, we’d be fine.”  And they’re right.  Debt is sneaky bugger sometimes.  First one payment, then another and then all of a sudden, you’re over the edge.

This is when we come back to “It’s not about how much you make so much as how you manage it”.

Friend of a friend thing, but these people have figured it out.

They are both retired, although he works a little part-time for something to do and for some extra pocket money.  They are completely debt free, have a new car in the garage, give more than 10% of their income away to offerings and donations, and are DEBT FREE.

It must be a great retirement plan, right?  He retired with an ANNUAL retirement income of $20,000.  They each worked a part-time job after that, although she is now retired from that too.  They are happy and DEBT FREE.

MickHow?  Instead of a big house with a mortgage, they bought a trailer.  It’s a double-wide, and a nice one, but it certainly cost less.  If they want to spend on something extra, they save up and pay cash so that they pay no extra to a lender in interest.  They made some intentional choices and also realize there is a lot more than just ‘stuff’ that makes them happy.

So look at your own situation.  Be intentional about the financial choices you make.  Realize that spending in one place is probably going to mean you say ‘no’ to something else.  Think about what is the real choice you are making.  Is buying something now worth what you might have to give up in the future?

If you‘d like to look at making some different decisions and make a move in a different direction, but aren’t sure which route to take, the counselors at the Center for Financial Resources can help.  Contact us to schedule an appointment online at  or call us at 888-258-2227.

Written by Sylvia Selgestad, Financial Counselor and Educator

Photo credit:

LSS Center for Financial Resources
Consumer Credit Counseling Service | Housing Resources | Sharpen Your Financial Focus | Financial Fitness Education
705 East 41st Street, Suite 100 | Sioux Falls SD 57105-6047
605-330-2700 or 888-258-2227
Strengthening Individuals, Families & Communities

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