Monday, January 31, 2011

Debunking A Money Myth: The Only Way To Get Out Of Debt Is By Making More Money

Last week I was asked my opinion of a business opportunity of a company I’d never heard of. My simple answer was, “I don’t know anything about them.” I did end up doing some very little digging, which included going to their website and viewing a three-minute recruitment video.

It was a typical video of happy anonymous people talking about freedom. And then there were the testimonials which included some money figures, with significant amounts of debt that some of them had paid off. The implication was that the money they were making from this particular business opportunity is what they were using to pay off those bills.

The truth is that this company offers its distributors a plan to get out of debt. I think it’s great that the company offers a debt-elimination plan. The video though is misleading because the debt was paid off not necessarily because these people were making any money with this particular business.

What I know about debt-reduction programs is they have little or nothing to do with increasing your inflow, and everything to do with decreasing your outflow.

So the hook for this particular business opportunity is that you can become debt-free. It’s a good hook. Debt is a serious problem. People, in general, are lousy money managers. And because the crazy amount of credit that people have had access to the last decade, people drowning in debt has become an epidemic.

Here is the good news: You can get out of debt. And you can start the process today. There are so many resources, and so many free resources to help you. One of them is Dave Ramsey.

I am late to the party, since I only recently heard of him. But when I mention his name to some folks, they start fawning about how great this guy is. I ended up checking out two of his books, Financial Peace and The Total Money Makeover, from the library and reading them just to see what all the fuss was about. And I gotta say I like how he thinks, what he says, and his plan for ridding oneself of debt and for building wealth.

My husband and I are debt free. We became debt free before we knew of Dave Ramsey, but using the same principles. And he’ll be the first to say that there is nothing revolutionary in what he says. So what sets him a part from others out there?

First, he’s been there. His story of, in his words, the idiotic choices that he made, and all the feelings of fear and stress he felt, makes him empathic and passionate about helping people.

Second, he doesn't sugar-coat the truth. He tells it like it is, and tells us what we need to hear, such as to "Grow up!"

Third, he challenges people to get angry about their debt. He knows that it is emotion, not logic, which moves people. So while his plan for debt-reduction and wealth building is very methodical and logical, he is good at lighting a fire under people to get them thinking differently, and moving them in the right direction.

Fourth, and maybe the most important, he has created a community (live and virtual) of folks who are in the process of, and who have succeeded at, ridding themselves of debt and changing their thoughts about money. It's a community where people can get encouragement and support, just by the mere fact of knowing that they are not alone.

Monday, January 10, 2011

"Future Tripping" Is Not Allowed

Tonight was the first time I "future tripped" about my children. I had a flash, a realization, on an emotional level, that they were going to some day be too big and not interested, in flopping around our home with me.

It was a few minutes before 5:00 pm, their daddy was going to be home soon, dinner preparation could wait a few more minutes. The three of us were sprawled this way and that, on one of their twin beds, as I read from a book I happen to grab off the floor.

I then flipped on to my back and looked over at my daugher lying next to me. I then looked at my son who was lying in the opposite direction as he sat up.

I looked at his innocent little seven-year-old face. I stared actually. Attempting to remember every detail.

"What mamma," he asked.

"You are not allowed to grow up," I blurted.

"Huh," he looked confused.

"No really. This is it. You are not allowed be more than seven years old."

"But I want to get older," my daughter announced.

I took a deep breath. I smiled, squeezing and kissing them, which grounded me and brought me back to the present moment, the present gift, the present joy.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Life is a Theatre...Invite Your Audience Carefully

When I started realizing the powerful effect the people with whom I hang have on my life and my future, I became purposeful about my association. Not an easy process. Certainly sometimes painful. Just the same, necessary.

I came across this anonymously-written piece over a decade ago. And perhaps because of my theatre background, it is in language I  understand. Of how and why I must be intentional about where I let people "sit" in my life.

~ Life is a Theatre...Invite Your Audience Carefully~

Not everyone is mentally healthy enough to have a front row seat in your life.
There are some people who need to be loved from a distance.
It is amazing what you can accomplish when you let go of - or minimize your time with - those draining, negative, incompatible, 'not-going- anywhere' relationships or friendships.

Observe the relationships around you.
Pay close attention...
Which ones lift, and which ones lean?
Which ones encourage, and which ones discourage?

Which ones are on a path of growth uphill, and which ones are going downhill?
When you leave certain people, do you feel better or feel worse?
Which ones always have drama, or don't really understand, know or appreciate you? 

The more you seek quality, respect, growth, peace of mind, love and truth around you, the easier it will become for you to decide who gets to sit in the front row, and who should be moved to the balcony of your life.

Ask for wisdom and discernment, and choose wisely the people who will sit in the front row of your life.
You cannot change the people around you, but you can change the people you choose to be around.
Who is in your front row?