Well, the US election has told us a few things. First of all, there are a lot of angry people out there. But also, there are a lot of folk out there who have been hit so hard in the pocket over the last few decades that they will do anything to change things. Unfortunately for Hillary Clinton, that includes voting for Donald Trump.
But, it got me thinking. Money – or lack of it – doesn’t quite define who we are. But it has a hell of an impact. And I figured there are three states of being when it comes to finances, all of which have an effect on the choices we can make. Take a look and see what you think.
State 1: Saving Money
Saving money is a good thing. It gives you choices that others who don’t save cannot dream about. There is room for expansive thoughts about happiness, education, and positive futures. Holidays become a reality rather than a distant dream. And, yes, you can buy a lot more ‘stuff,’ too.
It also gives you choices. When it comes to election time, you can pretty much vote for who you like. If you love money, you go for the guy who is going to lower your taxes and give you the chance to save more. If you love people, you go for the party that is going to create a better environment, so you can enjoy what you have a lot more. Whatever you choose, it won’t have a dramatic impact on your life – you’re OK, and will remain so whoever wins.
State 2: Getting By
Getting by is not a good thing. But if this describes your financial situation, you are in good company. According to research, 63% of American citizens could not manage if faced with a simple, $500 emergency. And, theoretically, they are only one paycheck away from homelessness. That’s an astonishing figure and one that you can blame on many different things. But the point is, being in a state of getting by is not a nice place.
And the vast majority of us fall into this category. We just don’t know whether our jobs will exist in twelve months time. An emergency crops up, and the only way to manage is by looking into things like payday loans. We worry about funding our retirements. And we might be persuaded to vote for a guy who promises real change – regardless of whether we think he can deliver it.
State 3: Bad Debts
Bad debts are disastrous. You might work hard for a living, but because of stagnant wages and lack of opportunity, you can’t afford what you used to. You borrow a little here and there to tide you over for a while, but nothing changes. You end up running at a loss each month because the interest on your debts is skyrocketing. It’s clear you need to make a change – you know it. But there is nothing you can do when every penny is spent before you even take it out of the bank. Bankruptcy is a distinct possibility – it might even seem like a relief.
And you get angry. Sure, you have to shoulder some of the blame because you have overspent, just to keep up with the Joneses. But you know it’s not entirely your fault. There’s something wrong in a world that has such astonishing levels of disparity. Where a CEO earns multi-millions, while you work 60 hour weeks for the minimum wage. And then you hear he’s cost you your pension.
Your anger clouds your thinking. You look around and see the same old faces making the same old promises, but none of it is relevant to you. You want to stop doing the same thing over and over again because it won’t give you a different result. You want to rock the boat and have nothing to lose from taking the risky – possibly dangerous – gamble. After all, you have nothing already – there is nowhere further down to travel.
So, when it comes to election time, you might not go with the sensible decision – because it just offers more of the same. Who in their right minds would do that? There is no fear of the unknown, and no fear of failure – you’ve already been through those stages. You know that change can have a terrible impact, as it’s been landing on your doorstep for the past twenty years. But you still have a hope that a change could be fantastic, and it will give you a lot more opportunities for a better life. So, you put your faith in the outsider with all the promises. The guy who says he’s got your back. And even though, deep down, you don’t believe him, you also know that something’s got to give.