Thursday, March 12, 2009

Are We There Yet?

Nugget for the Noggin
By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown, Octoer 5, 2007

Inspired by a passage in Dan Klatt's Ebook, "Law of Attraction Manifestation Process"

Who amongst us has not heard a small child from the back seat say, “Are we there yet, are we there yet?” What is he or she really saying?

I’m bored.
I’m tired.
I’m cramped up from sitting too long.
I’ve read all the books and colored all the pictures.
Why is it taking us so long to get where we are going?
Why have you done this to me; what have I done to deserve this?
Do you have any idea how much fun I could be having with my friends right now?
Are we having fun yet?

So are we any different?

We drive fast
We eat fast
We eat fast food
We use instant dry glue
We use instant dry paint
We print our own color photographs
We hire people to cut our grass
We hire people to wash our cars
We hire people to walk our dogs
We use airplanes to get their quicker yet it takes longer because of security restrictions
We look for a pill to lose weight, to gain weight, to run faster, to think better, to see better, to go to sleep, to wake-up more alert, and just to feel better.

Aren’t we all saying by such actions, “Are we there yet?” Well are we?

We all seem to be racing to get somewhere and it would be my best guess that most of us have no idea where that “somewhere” is. If you don’t believe that, let me ask, where do you think you will be in five years? Most people don’t know where or what they will be doing a week from Tuesday let alone five years from now. They can’t think that far in advance because they know it will take a long time to get there so they concentrate on what is right in front of them at this very moment. That would be the rear end of a beige 8 year-old, four-door sedan going 40 in a 55 mile per hour zone. (Have you ever noticed that slow cars are usually four-door sedans and brown in color? Check it out; you know I’m right on this one. It will be driven by a little old guy with both hands on the wheel afraid to look either left or right and of course in the fast lane. If I were President I would pass a law prohibiting the painting of cars brown or beige for that very reason; that should solve the problem.)

Do you remember the term “starter home?” At one time couples would look for an inexpensive starter home that was a little bigger than an apartment and yet affordable. These starter homes were on small lots, probably 25 years old, 3 bedrooms with one and a half, maybe two baths and the “starter home principle” worked. Couples would live in them for 2 to 4 years and build up their equity and their income and then look for a slightly larger home and either sell or rent their present home. People would work two jobs, maybe three, to raise enough money to put down on a home. A starter home today is new, 4 bedrooms with a pool in the back yard and a mortgage that would choke a horse. The young couple both work and both have good incomes and never dream what would happen if one of them ever found themselves out of work. They want it now so they get a 100% loan thinking surely our home will increase in value and we will make a fortune from the sale in the future. Then comes the nail in the coffin – their equity increases and they refinance and take their equity out in cash. Next the housing market bubble bursts. KA-POW! They find themselves in a home they cannot afford, a home they cannot sell, and a home that is not worth what they just paid or refinanced just one or two short years ago. And let’s not forget the relatively new BMW in the garage. Why? Because they want it now without any planning or forethought. “Are we there yet?”

You can’t get into better shape by having someone else do your pushups! (I only wish I knew who initially said that to give them credit for a brilliant one line analysis of what is wrong with our society today.) You can’t get to where you want to go by simply wishing or hoping you get there. As Dr. John Maxwell often states, “Hope (or wishing it so) is not an effective strategy.” The now famous movie, The Secret, would at first lead you to believe that you can have all you ever want in life by just thinking about it. Thinking about it is your starting point. For anything to actually occur, you must then take action of some kind – anything – as long as it is movement in the direction you wish to go. Are we there yet? Of course not and you never will be as long as “thinking about it” is all you ever do. The real problem is that we tend to think about it and then we want it right now; not a year or five down the road.

You might think this Nugget is in response to the economic problems of 2009 but if you look at the date at the top, it was started in October of 2007. I put it in a file for “drafts” and discovered it today, March 12, 2009. I was shocked at just how prophetic this Nugget was at that time.

Credit has been both a blessing and a curse. A blessing when it comes to putting a roof over our heads and being able to pay for unexpected and unbudgeted but necessary expenses like health issues and home/auto repairs. A curse when it comes to buying that jumbo flat panel television set with credit rather than cash.

It’s never too late to make changes in the way we think “are we there yet?”, in order to “how can I get there?” mentality. I am not without serious issues regarding finances; after all I am a product of our public school system and was never taught about money through 14 years of formal education. Never! Still, it's not too late and it is deinitely not too late for our children. There are some excellent books on the subject. I would recommend the following:

The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason,
The Wealthy Barber by David Chilton,
21 Distinctions of Wealth by Peggy McColl,
Financial Peace Revisted by Dave Ramsey,
True Wealth, Your Values and Your Money, 12 CDs by Joe Tye,

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