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Common blocks to financial well being
#1
In this post, I will list a number of the most common blocks to financial well being. I have looked at dozens of articles on the web in order to compile this list. The list is not meant to be exhaustive. We are all unique which implies that we can each have one or more factors that affect our financial well being.

What do I mean my blocks to financial well being? A block is anything that stops you from being financially stable or having all of your financial needs met.

Here is the list of some of the top factors that block financial well being:
  • People spending more money than they make and often try to support a lifestyle they cannot afford. In some cases, people try to fill the pain in their lives with things they can not afford. In other cases, people lack the self-discipline to delay the gratification for the things they want till they can afford them. They do not live within a budget or spending limits, particularly on non-essential items. People can tie their self-worth to what they have rather than who they are. As a result, they overspend to improve their self-image. Rather than having a frugal mind set, people often have a pro-consumerism attitude. 
  • People do not know how to manage the money they do have (financial ignorance). We live in a world wide system that encourages the use of credit (buy now and pay later) and they fail to understand how expensive credit is. They fail to understand that the borrower becomes a slave to the creditor. They make major purchases using credit rather than saving money to make the purchase. Credit is so easy in our society that people often make impulsive purchases. 
  • People can be unemployed or under employed. They may lack education or training to get a better job. Getting a better job with more pay is only a stop-gap solution unless they also learn to live within their means.
  • People can have an addiction to drugs, alcohol or gambling that consumes a lot of their money and makes them function below their peak.
  • A recent divorce can start a financial problem because it can dramatically reduce income while having little impact on expenses. A divorce can point to deeper relationship issues.
  • Unexpected death or disability of a primary wage earner can dramatically reduce income while having little impact on expenses. These events can point a lack of planning or insurance to cover these contingencies. 
  • Medical expenses can overwhelm people. A lack of insurance or inadequate insurance can even create a lot of debt. Looking to traditional medical treatments may not be the answer to the health problems since most health issues can be traced back to an emotional root. A gap in insurance coverage or lapse in insurance policy can also cause financial problems.
  • Unexpected expenses can overwhelm people. But this can be caused by having too little savings to cover unexpected expenses.
  • People can lack money communication skills with their significant other. When a family does not effectively communicate about money, it can lead to poor decisions or overspending. Poor communication can have deeper roots such as fear of conflict.
  • People can fail to have a vision for their finances and then fail to create a financial plan. Where there is no vision, there is no direction.
  • People can find their assets wiped out in a market downturn. This problem can be caused by a lack of knowledge and/or a lack of diversity in their investments.
I would suggest that all of the problems listed above are not root issues. I have found that there is one area where you can find a root issue to any problem, financial or otherwise. The one place we can look for the root issue is inside of us - our thoughts, beliefs and feelings. These determine our outer world. Our thoughts, beliefs and feelings about money determine our financial well being. If there is a financial problem, you can be sure there is a problem with what we know, think, believe or feel about money. What we think can be greatly impacted by a lack of knowledge or ignorance. Our thinking, beliefs and feelings are shaped by the sum total of our life's experience. Our experiences create beliefs that control our behavior.

Many people believe they are victims. When we accept a victim mentality, we are 
blaming others for our problems. We can give all kinds of reasons for why we are in the situation in which we find ourselves. We might say, I can't earn enough money because I can't get a good job, because I grew up poor and had a poor education. Or we could say, the economy is down and there aren't any good jobs available.  We could say, my spouse over spends.  The list of reasons to blame others or forces outside of ourselves is endless. The problem with blaming others or circumstances for our issue is that it leaves us powerless. When we blame someone or something for our problem, we have given that person or situation power over us and our life. The way to regain our power is to take responsibility for everything that happens in our life. I realize that in some cases other people can hurt us. Children can be true victims, but adults always have a choice. Adults don't have to stay in a hurtful situation and they don't have to remain the victim in a situation. When we begin to realize that we create our own reality, we are no longer a victim. We can choose to change our beliefs, our thinking and our feelings.

I have talked about thoughts, beliefs and emotions. Let me break these three things down a bit further. I have found that my thoughts are determined or controlled by my beliefs. Beliefs are acquired through decisions we make about the things we experience in life. For example, if my parents got divorced when I was small, I could decide that my dad left because I was unloveable. It is not what happens in life that hurts us but how we react or think about what happens that hurts us. I won't go into greater details on this topic here because the book I mention below covers this topic brilliantly and thoroughly. 

I have found that emotions or feelings come from our belief system. There is room for debate about this view but perhaps an illustration would be helpful. A mom and dad have a teenage daughter who is very responsible. She has a curfew of midnight and she is always home on time. But one night the daughter is out on a date and doesn't get home on time. As the minutes tick by, her parents get worried. They are both up and thinking about why she is late. With each new thought, there is a new emotion. They think she has been in a car wreck and they are afraid. They think she forgot to charge her phone so she can call and they get mad that she is irresponsible. They think she has gone to some party and gotten drunk and they get angry at her irresponsibility. For every new thought about why she is late, there is a new feeling. I have found this interplay between a thought and a feeling for every feeling in my life. The time between a thought and a feeling is very quick and if you don't recognize the thought, you may miss it and be left with the conclusions that feelings just are and have no cause. Play around with this in your own life and see what you learn.

My experience has taught me that by looking at thoughts, beliefs and feelings, the most important one to focus on is beliefs. My perspective is that my beliefs control my thoughts and my feelings. I have found an extremely effective technique for dealing with my beliefs. I learned the technique in a book by Byron Katie call "Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life". You can find the book on Amazon by clicking here. In the book, Katie calls the process "The Work" or "inquiry". Byron Katie has a website with a lot of helpful information and tools, click here - http://thework.com/. There is another website where you can find trained facilitators who will help you do "The Work" on any issue you have where you need help, click here - http://www.instituteforthework.com/itw/content/helpline. Byron Katie does workshops all over the world to teach "The Work" but thus far I have found the book to be all I need. 

So learn to do "The Work" and I am convinced that you can resolve any issue blocking your financial well being. You can also resolve any other issue that is causing you a problem.

it-man
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