As I research other financial articles, my thoughts take on a story of their own. I recently read a commentary about a family living on $22,000 a year. The first line was such a heavy statement that it brought back a memory of my childhood.
When we were growing up, our neighbor downstairs was a single mom raising a daughter. She worked a blue-collar factory job, but had a car and was able to send her daughter back home to Grandma every summer with a suitcase full of new clothes.
The first line of the article stated that “the only thing poor people need to have to improve their financial lives is money management skills,” (Daily Worth, Dec. 2017). The line also stated that having “this skill still does not take into account for low wages and the cycle of generational poverty.”
I was glad to see the author follow up with other factors that could additionally be the issue. If someone is poor, managing their finances is not the only thing that will alleviate their situation. The single mom I referred to earlier did exercise discipline with her money.
Having self-control when it comes to your income does not only happen with the wealthy or rich, as some of them mismanage their funds as well. The unfortunate part for households with modest incomes is that they probably have limited resources and will not be able to bounce back as quickly.
When teaching at various seminars and workshops, I hear many people say that they just need to have a larger income. I always ask, “Will you manage more money better?”
Of course, I am not saying that earning more will not help. However; if you cannot control your debt and/or spending, it will not matter how much you earn.
There is a commercial on television where a father is riding the bus with packages next to him. He states that he cannot afford auto insurance because of unexpected bills. It also happens to be his little girl’s birthday.
My question is did he not remember that his daughter was born and that her birthday would come around every year? Is her birthday unexpected, the insurance, or both?
If you are alive and have a car, birthdays and insurance should not be a surprise as these events are recurring.
Overall, I wish a more responsible analogy was used in this commercial to drive home the marketing ploy. The real question here is: does this person need to earn more or does he need to better manage his paycheck?
Not knowing the personal income of the guy being portrayed in the commercial, I could say he may need to have higher earnings to meet his expenses. On the other hand, I would also like to add that he probably needs to manage his money more skillfully to be prepared for planned and unplanned events.
If you have an annual expense, why not just plan throughout the year by expensing the monthly amount in your budget and then make the full payment when the bill is due.
If the expense is $1,000, then you should budget at least $85 every month to be able to make the payment. This is one way you can prepare for expenses that occur quarterly or annually.
I am not sure exactly how my friend’s mom managed her paycheck, but she seemed to have gotten it right despite the fact that her earnings were low.
Just because a person does not earn a high salary, it does not mean that they cannot practice good money management skills.