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Sunday, January 8, 2012

If you're a fool with your money, don't come crying to me when it runs out

Fools get caught in the money trap!
Last summer it was slow at the RT Cave.  In fact, it was so slow we were losing about half our hours each week.  It didn't bother me so much because my wife and I were prepared for such a lull.  I was actually enjoying the extra time off.  Yet my coworker Paul wasn't prepared.

When he approached me I could tell right away he was distraught.  He said, "You know, Rick, it's unfair that we have to have so many days off lately.  If they complain about me getting a second job I'm going to blow up."

"I don't mean to sound rude," I said, "but you're barking up the wrong tree."

"What?  Why do you say that?  I only worked 24 hours last week. I could work another job and make up for the lack of hours."

"Well, if you didn't spend all your money on everything you wanted when the going is good and the money is flowing in, you wouldn't have to worry about losing hours, and you would need a third job."

His eyebrows seemed to cross and his lips curled, yet he didn't say anything. 

"Look, I said, you wanted to hunt, and you spent a thousand dollars on all that hunting gear that sits in your garage.  You took up fishing and now you have a boat and fishing gear sitting in that storage facility you pay a hundred bucks a month to rent.  If I remember right, that's also where you story your $250 a month camper you bought on a lease.  You have two leased cars in your garage, and you also have two jet skiis, two snowmobiles, two motorcycles and then there's that brand new car you bought for your daughter.  Add that stuff up and add them to all the other toys you have in your brand new home and it's easy to see why you have to work three jobs."

Of course this discussion didn't really happen, yet if I were completely honest with some of my coworkers, friends and family members I'd be having this discussion with many of them.  They complain about not being able to pay their bills, and yet they spend money like it were never going to stop coming in.  They never prepare for the inevitable recession or slow time.  And in the hospital, business has its normal cycles of up and down, just like the economy.

Our politicians want you to spend your money unwisely, and that is why -- I think -- it isn't taught in school how to wisely spend your money.  This is also the reason for bubbles when the economy is good (Internet Bubble, Housing Bubble, etc.) and it's also the reason people panic when the bubbles inevitably burst.

The same can be said of governments.  If those in Washington were as wise with their money as the frugal citizen, America would not be billions of dollars in debt.  If state governments wouldn't have been unwise with our money in the 1990s, they wouldn't be fearing bankruptcy.  Industries who plan and prepare and spend frugally wouldn't need bailouts.

If your work hard and spend your money wisely and go into hard times, then I'll feel sorry for you and maybe even help you out.  Yet if you are a fool with your money, don't come crawling to me with your sob stories. 


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