Guest Post: Does the Fear of Change Keep Our Finances Stagnant?
Some years ago, I was living the dream, or so I thought. I was fresh out of college with a good job and money to spend. My fiancée and I bought a new house that was big for a starter home. I had a number of “toys” that kept me busy. I even bought a jet-ski after listening to a radio commercial. That turned out to be the worst purchase I’ve ever made. I was chasing the American dream, at least what I perceived it to be.
Unfortunately for me, my spending, lack of saving, and stupid money decisions finally caught up to me. Owing over $70,000 to banks and loan companies was not a place I thought I would be, but when the economy dropped in 2008, it was the kick that I needed. In over my head and not knowing where to start, I walked slowly down the debt repayment road. My main problem was I didn’t want to change my lifestyle. I just wanted to continue my spending and having fun. I’m just glad I found information from sites like Budgets are Sexy, run by my friend J.Money.
The Fear of Change Stopped Me in My Tracks
I’m three years removed from my credit card debt after paying it all off by 2012. It took me four years of changing my habits and forcing myself to learn more about money and how I handle it. Looking back at it now, I realize the fear of change is what kept me from really digging deep and turning my financial life around. I didn’t know anything different than what I was doing. I thought credit card debt was no problem and everyone else had it. My life might have looked OK from the outside, but I was struggling internally.
It was the status quo, which I followed for so many years. I jumped in when companies told me to finance this or that. It was my routine for sure. I feared change as I didn’t want to make an effort to try the alternative. Why change when you have a good thing, right? The status quo could have put me in bankruptcy, but I battled through it. After following some personal finance bloggers online, I realized my mistakes. Better yet, I realized there were always alternatives to what I was doing with my money. It took me far too long to break out of my shell and allow change to come in. I kicked the status quo to the curb and I’ve never looked back.
The Fear of Change Can Affect Your Finances
I’ve seen it first hand. My desire to stay on my current path put me in a dark place. When my eyes were opened by the “alternatives,” I knew I could do better things. It’s services like Republic Wireless, which I call the “disruptors,” that allow people to make better financial choices. Who doesn’t want to save nearly $100 a month?
After I paid off my debt, I started investing for the first time. Instead of just going with the biggest brokerage, I decided to try out a little startup called Betterment. I’m still with them and it’s been a great experience. I would’ve never tried them before my transformation. The same with other services. I’m not afraid of change anymore, in fact, I embrace it. I guess I can be called an early adopter now. I don’t mind being the guinea pig for new and growing ideas. Heck, I even own an unlocked cell phone just for the purpose of testing out new services that are compatible. This is from a guy who was happy (maybe clueless) to pay nearly $150 a month for two cell phones.
I would encourage anyone looking to get out of a financial funk to start embracing change and trying new things. It doesn’t mean you will be spending more but hopefully making smarter financial choices. The fear of change kept me in the dark for far too long, but once I broke out of my confined shell, my finances have never been better. Why not try something to see if it works? We need to stop being so complacent with “average” and try for “better,” for the sake of our financial health.
About the author: Grayson Bell is a finance blogger and proud Republic Wireless member. His weekly articles on how to save money can be found at: www.debtroundup.com