As originally appeared in The Jerusalem Post on February 15, 2017.
Too often in life, something happens and we blame other people for us not being happy or satisfied or fulfilled. So the point is, we all have choices, and we make the choice to accept people or situations or to not accept situations. Tom Brady
Over the last few weeks I have come across various posts on financial blogs, and held meetings with individuals who couldn’t stop blaming others for their dire financial situation. As if it’s everyone else’s fault that they can’t get out of debt, buy an apartment, or pay for a Bat Mitzvah. At some point these individuals need to examine money decisions taken and accept personal responsibility for their current lot.
It’s called work!
A few weeks ago I met with a man who had started a business selling certain hi-end products. After six months he had still not made a sale. While his wife worked, she wasn’t bringing in enough money to support the family, which included six kids. After he told me he was behind in the rent, he said everything else was fine, well, except for the electric bill which hadn’t been paid in a while. I asked if that meant he had taken on debt and won’t you know it, he was close to 100,000 nis in debt. I asked if he felt a certain responsibility to bring in some money by hook or by crook, to make sure he doesn’t get evicted and/or have his electricity disconnected. He said yes, but what can he do, he has this business and he works 6 hours a day at it, and he thinks there is huge potential to make big money. I asked him how many hours are in a day and he answered of course, 24. I said then why not spend a good chunk of the extra 18 and deliver pizza or work in a store, or do anything to bring in a few extra thousand shekels a month? That’s when I was met with an avalanche of excuses why that wouldn’t work out. I told him a story that I have written here numerous times. When I was a freshly minted oleh, and between jobs, in order to pay the rent, I cleaned toilets to make some money. He said he has a family and it just won’t work. I then politely told him I couldn’t help.
It’s not fair
Start making smart money decisions. If you don’t have money to buy a certain”must have” item, don’t buy it! Stop complaining that had you stayed in America or the U.K. you would be making huge amounts of money, but since you made aliyah you are resigned to a life of debt and poverty. Don’t spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars getting a college degree, which will make you a very low salary but put you into a very high debt level. Previously I have compared being fiscally fit to being physically fit. If you happen to be overweight, whose fault is it? Is it the fault of Coca-Cola, McDonalds, or your neighborhood bakery? No it’s your fault because you didn’t have the self discipline to eat in moderation and exercise. Just like no one lost weight by blaming the food company, no one ever became financially secure by playing the blame game.
Mirror mirror on the wall
The way out of your current malaise is to look in the mirror and find a solution to your problem. Don’t look to the government for a solution, or bad mouth the “rich” for taking what should be yours, come to grips with your situation and make a change.
As Trent Hamm wrote in the Simple Dollar Blog, “Whenever you hear yourself blaming someone or something else for a problem, stop. Blaming others for your problems is an incredibly pernicious habit. Yes, there are bad things in life. There are bad things in everyone’s life. The people that succeed are the people that don’t waste their time looking for someone or something to blame, but instead look to themselves for a solution to the problem.”
The information contained in this article reflects the opinion of the author and not necessarily the opinion of Portfolio Resources Group, Inc. or its affiliates. Aaron Katsman is author of the book Retirement GPS: How to Navigate Your Way to A Secure Financial Future with Global Investing (McGraw-Hill), and is a licensed financial professional both in the United States and Israel, and helps people who open investment accounts in the United States. Securities are offered through Portfolio Resources Group, Inc. (www.prginc.net). Member FINRA, SIPC, MSRB, FSI. For more information, call (02) 624-0995 visit www.gpsinvestor.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.