We all know there really is no miracle cure – for anything. I do actually believe miracles happen. But not the ones we often hope for regarding illnesses we or our loved ones contract, and even less so for the financial worries we carry around. I’m going to give it to you straight: there is no miracle cure for our financial worries, but there is a very simple solution.
What to Understand First
The financial institutions have made a multi-trillion-dollar industry out of engendering the perception that they hold the keys to that “miracle cure.” They’ve spent vast sums analyzing how our brains interpret the information we use to make financial decisions, and even more on how to exploit this information.
Their message is pretty simple; too simple, actually. Just give them all your money and the higher ROI (Rate on Investment) they earn will compensate for everything: the late start we got on saving, the mistakes we’ve made, the boat we bought, etc. Higher ROI is the miracle cure, and they have it. All you have to do is hand them all your money with all your trust, too.
Deep down, we know there’s no miracle cure. But there’s a little corner of our mind that wants to believe somebody out there has one. Somebody out there has the secret, and if we can just find that person, the outsized ROI they obtain for us will rescue our financial lives and alleviate these worries. Rationalization is one of (maybe the most) powerful defense mechanisms we have as human beings. We rationalize financial decision-making that provides immediate gratification. We are short-term, linear thinkers by nature, and evolutionarily speaking, the need to save money for the future is something we’ve really only had to even consider for a very short part of our history. Again, the industry knows this about us, and they know how to exploit it.
Deep down, we know there’s no miracle cure. But there’s a little corner of our mind that wants to believe somebody out there has one.
The lengths and level they go to in their efforts to encourage our rationalization and engender the myths they propagate is quite a marvel. In our service, we see and talk to hundreds of people, and the answers they give us to the questions are a clear indication that the messaging the industry is sending is very, very effective. The myth of ROI, and each company’s ability to generate it for us, has become gospel. Their mastery of marketing and the advertising message is truly astonishing to me. They have successfully brainwashed hundreds of millions of people.
The Universal Characteristic for All to Know
From the hundreds I mentioned above, we have clients that have very little money, and we have clients that have a lot of money. The level of anxiety each family has runs from one end of the range to the other. However, there is one universal characteristic we see in all our clients, and it’s in the ones we don’t worry about.
The clients we don’t worry about have a handle on their spending. As a result, they are less anxious than the ones who don’t, aka, the ones we worry about constantly. Without tracking our expenses, we can’t make informed decisions.
So that’s it. There’s your miracle cure. It’s so miraculously simple, people just can’t believe it. Or, rather, don’t want to. It’s not sexy. There’s no cache. And most of us will continue to rationalize ignoring this simple truth.
But it is just that. The simple truth.
Did I Say There Was No Miracle Cure?
Admittedly, as simple as this “miracle cure” is, it isn’t always easy. In fact, it’s a constant slug fest. Not only are the financial institutions bombarding us with brainwashing messages to give them all our money, but every other industry is, too. In an endless atmosphere of media, we are bombarded with “buy now!” messaging and are pulled farther and farther from simplicity and nature.
Now, in the interest of self-preservation and job security, we’d be remiss if we didn’t share that there are some subtle, and relatively simple, strategies we can all employ to improve our odds of success (if we define that as not going broke). Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, for example. Take some time to read and learn what your options are. Look at history for guidance. Again, simple.
We’re not suggesting you sell your belongings and become a Franciscan monk. I mean, if that’s what you feel you need, don’t let us stop you. There’s nothing wrong with that in our book. But it’s not necessary that we all do a complete 180 and go from spending and living unsustainably (which we are by the way), to a bare, austere existence of meagerness. Start with one little step of paying attention to where you spend. This simple, not so miraculous act will, by itself, naturally, and unavoidably, alleviate your financial anxiety.