A True Story from Frances Godek Goodman’s Financial Counseling Sessions – Open Your Mind To Prosperity

Open your mind to prosperity.

I’ve heard the words “could’ve” and “should’ve” during my financial counseling sessions at the Submarine Base in Groton, CT, on more than one occasion.  In this context the “could’ve” and “should’ve” refer to the failure to save money to meet living expenses and debt payments.

One of my “could’ve” “should’ve” clients came to see me because he was on the verge of losing his security clearance.  He had excessive debt and needed help.  Of serious concern for him was that he had only 2 more years before he could retire.  He came to see me when our government was reducing the size of our military, and a service member’s debt was one reason for dismissal.

I reviewed his financial situation and together we worked on a plan to reduce his debt.  The plan was workable and would show the military that he was serious about getting his financial house in order.

I gave him resources to help him get moneywise.  Let me add that he was single – never married with no dependents.  Thus, it was easier for him to reduce some of his expenses, including his very expensive vacations.

I told him to check in with me periodically so that jointly we could review his progress.  Six months later he checked in with me.  He was in panic mode.  His dismissal was almost certain.  I asked him where he put the financial plan we worked on together and all the material I gave him to help with his finances.  He said it was in his car.  I asked him if he could get all of it from his car.  He left and was back in a flash.  I put all the financial material I gave him in a large manila envelope which I sealed.  When he handed me the envelope, it was obvious he never opened it!  I asked him why he didn’t look at the material I gave him.  He had no answer for me.  He was dismissed from the military.  There was nothing I could do for him.  I had similar cases in which service members said that they were going to join the reserves to finish their service years to obtain retirement benefits.  I passed that message along to him and he smiled as he left my office.  Procrastination was a very expense lesson for him to learn.

Saving money requires discipline.  Here are a few tips for making it a habit.

  1.  Pay yourself first.  Most financial advisers suggest you save 10 to 15 percent of your net income.  If you cannot afford this much, at least set aside   as much as you can.
  2.  Think of saving as a bill you must pay – as an expense.
  3.   Collect loose change.  Empty your pockets and wallet at the end of each day and put the change in a container.  Every so often, deposit the change    into savings or a retirement account (if you are working).
  4.  Create a scrimp and save day.  Whatever you would have spent on that day for lunch, coffee, snacks or whatever, put that money into savings.

Truly, I do realize how difficult it is for many people to save money.  However, you are the one that must come up with some imaginative/creative ways to start saving even in small amounts. 

I had the most enjoyable experience to travel to Portugal and Spain in 2016.  One of the stops on my tour was Gibraltar.  This picture I am using here is of the lighthouse on Gibraltar.  It was taken by a fellow traveler.  I’ve used a lighthouse for this blog for a symbolic reason.  A lighthouse can be your beacon that points to where you want to go – hopefully to a bright financial future. 

Lastly, talking about being creative – during WWII Gibraltar was a base used by the Allies to defeat Hitler.  The Allies dug caves into the sides of Gibraltar.  I asked our tour guide if he knew what they did with all the dirt from digging out those caves.  He said that the dirt was used to make the runway for airplanes.  That runway is still used today.  Talk about imagination, creativity and solving a problem! 

Thank you for visiting money-o.com, and I wish all of you happiness and prosperity.

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