It’s a tough conversation. We create a façade to show others we are living the good life. As winter approaches (in fact it’s already arrived) the conversation around the office water cooler is happening.
“So where are you going this winter for your holiday?”
Some people try to outdo each other with their winter destination plans or may do their best to pretend they can do so. Others don’t have to pretend; they have saved money for their holiday. The concern is for those who haven’t. Their vacation getaway will be charged to their credit card to prove they can keep up the pace.
When will there be a time for the barriers to be removed and simply be honest?
“Our situation is a little tight now. Our kids are in hockey; we need to purchase winter tires for the car; and our monthly utility bills have gone through the roof. And then there’s Christmas.”
“I think we will sit this one out ~~no winter vacation for us this year.”
Being honest about our financial circumstances isn’t something we practise very well. No one likes to share their story about how tight their situation is but statistically new results are proving this is reality. The Globe and Mail printed this headline last week “As household debt reaches precarious levels, Canadians need to take control of their financial lives.” The article staged this important comment: The capacity to make smart decisions about personal finance is a critical skill for everyone.
Maybe it's time to stop pretending and be realistic. If we can't do things, buy things, go places, the best solution is stop and sit this out. If we need someone to give us permission or better yet to lay the blame on someone else, just say, "My financial planner said, 'No more spending!'"
Do you remember the days when your parents had to tell you, "No! This is for your own good!" Here's your chance. Go ahead and assign responsibility to someone else especially if you can't take the ridicule from family, friends, and coworkers about not "doing", "having", or "going" because it will cost money.
The month of November is Financial Literacy Month. This opportunity allows us to assess our reality and stop pretending. Playing charades about living the dream isn’t fun when we are drowning in debt. If more people were honest, then more people would admit, “Me too!” Peace of mind comes with having a plan of action to meet your short and long term plans. Our lists are individually unique and may be long. A young family with children–sporting activities and education plans. A retired couple living on a fixed income–managing day-to-day living expenses and medical costs. Everyone--escalating utility and grocery bills.
Borrowing the following message from the Globe and Mail article gives a plan of action. This can begin by encouraging open and honest conversations about our relationship with money. It’s an important way we can keep financial literacy top-of-mind with Canadians, and build the kind of financially security we all want, and our economy needs.
My stance: Everyone prefers to hide their personal struggles but that's not always the best strategy. When we need help, the solution is ideally found from the wisdom of professionals. Let's take a chance on them to see our way through our trouble spots. This is one time you don't want to sit out. This is the time you want to be part of the action.