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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dream Stealers

One lie that we have been told loud and long is that debt and credit are not only an acceptable way of life, but a better way to live.

Myth: Debt, credit cards and car payments are tools that allow you to live the good life.
Truth: Debt, credit cards and car payments are dream stealers.

Being owned by your stuff manifests four syndromes.  Syndrome: a group of signs and symptoms that occur together and characterize a particular abnormality.

  • Insufficiency:  If you have ever thought to yourself, “I’ll be happy when I get____________________.” you have experienced insufficiency.  There is nothing that can make us happy except for our own decision to be happy - happiness is based mainly on the happenings of life.
  
  • Busyness: If you have ever answered, “Busy!” to the question “How are you?” or if you have forgone connecting with someone important to you so that you could get something done, then you have experienced busyness.
 
  • Social Isolation: Social isolation follows busyness because busyness is, in part, the cause of social isolation.  It used to be that neighbors dropped in on one another, but now busyness is seen as a virtue.  Now people assume that everyone is busy and dropping by is seen as rude and as an intrusion.
 
  • Financial Insecurity: Financial security is achieved by putting in place some key tools: a realistic budget, an emergency fund equal to three to six months of expenses, proper levels of insurance and a method for saving for future purchases and expenses.  Financial security is not the same thing as financial independence.  Financial independence is the ability to pay for your basic needs and comforts from a source other than paid employment.  Financial security is the path you must journey on to reach true financial independence. 

The path to true financial independence starts with a dream; a personal dream of the things you want to do and how you want to be.  If you have a partner you must find a shared dream.

The next step is to create the vision.  In addition to breaking the dream down into manageable steps, the vision must incorporate the steps which lead to financial security because every dream has a financial component.  Without financial security you cannot reach your dreams or true financial independence.

The final step is to practice the discipline required to create the vision daily so that you can live the dream.  Without daily discipline we trade our dreams for instant gratification and shortchange ourselves.

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