silensy: (Thinky Thoughts // Profile in Grey)
Which means it's time for another open post from the world of the Finance filter. The first part is important. The second is philosophical.

Taxes are due to be filed on the 15th. While you're thinking about that, this is a great time to review your withholding so grab your most recent paystub and head over to the IRS Withholding Calculator to be sure you're not giving too much of your money to the government as a free loan (or, conversely, leaving yourself short next year.) Go on. I'll wait.

Done? Okay, good. Part two.

Get Rich Slowly, which you all know I love, reviewed a old PF book today. I haven't read it, so I can't really offer an opinion (er, the book, I read the review) but I wanted to pull out something that J.D. highlighted (emphasis mine):

Mundis notes that many compulsive debtors and problem debtors often make excuses for their choices. They treat debt as if it were unavoidable. But he makes it clear: yours is not a special case.

It echoes back to Special Pleading and it's what keeps you (and me) in trouble. The bag of excuses that everyone carries around with himself each and every day sure comes in handy: "Should I buy these books? I'm over my budget." "[Bag of excuses says: But they're on sale.]" Bing! New books. We're so accustomed to using our bag of excuses that we do it when there's no reason to: "Do you want to watch a movie?" "No, [Bag of excuses says: I have to call my mom]. You have fun though." Why not just say no? Because that's not what we do.

Personal finance, like anything else, is not a matter of just doing the rational thing. If the only thing you needed to do in order to make money was spend less than you earn, there would be no financial crisis. There'd be no debt. Getting a grasp on your finances is a matter of changing your attitudes, not just your habits.

And honestly, it's just as poisonous to panic about debt as it is to ignore it. Paralyzing yourself with the enormity of the task (which is what I do all the time) just means that you're not making progress AND you're having a heart attack about it.


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December 2011

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