It Really Does Get Better

This post was written by Marie. 

Are you so far in debt that you think you’ll never get out?  Are you bone weary of scrimping and saving? Do you believe that what you are doing will never pay off – that you will always be financially insecure?  Do you peer into the hazy future and think  “life is not getting any better, will not get any better and I will end up as poor as I am today”?  Don’t despair. It really does get better.  You can stay the course. I know from personal experience, you can get where you want to be.

What Does It Take?

Reaching your financial independence requires the persistent setting and realization of many small goals, a lot of intermediate goals and an overall end goal. It takes time, sometimes a very long time.

Getting there is not just about executing a debt reduction plan or earning passive income.  It’s not a diet, its a standard of living/lifestyle choice.

How Do You Do It?

Get Rich Slowly, in their ‘About’ page states “My research revealed that few people get rich quickly, but almost anyone can get rich slowly by patiently following some simple rules.  “ They list 12 key beliefs and say that “By following my own advice, I’ve managed to ditch my debt and actually begin saving. I really am getting rich slowly.”

Miss T, in her post “Remember, Slow and Steady Wins the Race” states “After failing [to get out of debt] a couple times, I came to the realization that I needed a new plan, one that was attainable and manageable for the long term. I … allowed myself to still enjoy life.  Paying off debt is great but having no quality of life in the process is not the way to do it.  I adopted the tortoise’s approach and it got me to the finish line.  Living with an attitude of “all or nothing” was not productive.

It Really Does Get Better

In our twenties, my spouse and I were a single (low) income, two child family living in a thirty year old ‘dump’ in a semi bad neighborhood.  We struggled each and every payday to keep enough in the checking account to cover that month’s bills.  At year end and back to school time, we drew down the tiny savings we had managed to put aside to pay for life insurance, buy Christmas presents and back to school clothes (which were typically bought second hand from the thrift store).

We had a mortgage and car loan to pay off and were attempting to start college funds for each child.  It was the time of ‘stagflation’ – low paying jobs, high interest rates, increasing prices.  We had no savings and couldn’t take advantage of the high interest rates.  Our single income wasn’t adjusted for inflation, the rising costs of goods really bit.  Getting ahead seemed an impossible task.  We despaired.  We fought.  We felt trapped.  But we stayed the course, we persisted in trying to become financially independent.

At first, we were able to save only about a few dollars a month.  Gradually, by doing most of those 12 key things that Get Rich Slowly lists on their about page (things such as living below our means and paying ourselves consistently) and through the addition of a second income, we started saving more and more.  The day came (about 15 years later) when we had the college funds set aside, the house paid off and no more car loans.

When the kids graduated from college and established their own households, expenses went way down and since we were at the peak of our earning careers, the money flowed in at increasingly high rates.  We had plenty to invest and still do the things we wanted to do.  Our net worth shot up.

Stay the Course – It Will Get Better For You

It got better.  It got better through our efforts, through the lifestyle and financial habits we had developed over the years.  It will get better for you.  Stay the course. Be persistent.  Enjoy life along the way.

What suggestions do you have to help folks stay the course?


Comments

It Really Does Get Better — 12 Comments

  1. I find being grateful for what I have is really important in staying motivated. I don’t have a new car, nice clothes, or a lot of other things that many have and the media promotes, but I have running water, good health, and so many basics we take for granted. I am incredibly fortunate and I have what it takes to continue to improve my situation. It gets better, but it’s also not nearly as bad as it could be.

    • This is a great point. I think a lot of folks forget that what we think of as the basics – many people don’t have. A hot indoor shower is one for which I am always grateful. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the things we don’t have and forget to acknowledge what we do have.

  2. Thanks for this article, I think maybe it is time for a new plan. It feels like we will be in debt forever. But I know we need to stay the course.

  3. I think you have to remind yourself why you are saving and what the goal is! After all you had goals and a plan to achieve them at one time. If your plan is not working for you, it may be time to revise it.

  4. I reach most goals because I make them public. I highly suggest setting a realistic goal and then letting everyone know about. Don’t be a nutball, but just putting it out there keeps me on track. 🙂

  5. I find that the phrase ‘less is more’ has helped me most recently. Too much stuff can not only be expensive but can start to complicate your life. Also, take a look at the people who surround you – are they spenders or savers? Makes a HUGE difference in my habits when I make a point to spend less time with the spenders crowd.

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