I was reading a story somewhere where a person was being interviewed about their debt. In the interview, the person was speaking about how they had this credit card debt and how they just couldn’t get out from under it because of all the interest, fees, and other ways that the credit card company throws on the heap each month. They went on to talk about how they were in fear of having their car and house repossessed because they were falling behind. With each new problem, they were quick to point out the things that were keeping them back and causing their slide into bankruptcy.
Something occurred to me, then. They were taking no ownership in their finances. No matter what the financial woe was, it was always someone elses fault. The credit card companies were tacking on interest and fees. The bank was adding late charges onto their car loan and mortgages. Not once did they take any ownership of their situation. Not once did they say, “we shouldn’t have charged so much on the credit cards”, or “we bought more house than we could afford”. The blame was always on the other guy.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my journey towards beating broke, it’s that it’s all my fault. I signed that credit slip. I signed that mortgage. I signed the loan papers. Yes, some of the credit card companies have interest rates and policies that border on predatory. Yes, the banks will allow you to borrow right up to a point where you’re living paycheck to paycheck. But, I signed on the dotted line. Along the way, I discovered all of that, and I took financial ownership. And, in doing so, I took control.
Through financial ownership, I have control over where my money goes. I have control over which debt gets paid off first. I have control of how tightly the purse-strings are held. And, most importantly, I have control of my financial future. A future that I plan to make as financially independent as possible. Not at the whim and mercy of any bank, but a future where I can plan to buy things, and save money towards retirement.
My journey isn’t over, but I am beating broke. I’m taking financial ownership and making my future one that is free from broke.
I want you be able to say the same thing. It’s one of my goals for this site to help you beat broke. Beating broke is the first step in your financial journey towards a life free from concerns over where next months bills are coming from. You can do it. But, you’ve got to take financial ownership. You got yourself in the situation you’re in, and only you can get yourself out. Do it today. Accept that you are the only one that can take ownership of your financial situation, and you are the only one with the power to fix it. Take that step.
photo credit: woodleywonderworks
I started this blog to share what I know and what I was learning about personal finance. Along the way I’ve met and found many blogging friends. Please feel free to connect with me on the Beating Broke accounts: Twitter and Facebook.
You can also connect with me personally at Novelnaut, Thatedeguy, Shane Ede, and my personal Twitter.
Money Beagle says
I have an uncle who is over 70 and still does exactly what you said, blames others for everything that’s gone wrong for him, whether it be losing a job, having financial troubles, overdue bills, whatever the case, he always had someone else to blame. That’s very sad.
You are right! Taking responsibility for your actions and non actions is key to success in anything. Blaming others just makes them a complainer instead of a success.
I agree. Everyone need to take a good look at their finance and see if it is sustainable. It is your responsibility to make your finance work in the long run. You can’t just think about the short term and keep borrowing money to pay for your lifestyle. If cut back are needed, then do it and take responsibility.
Personal Finance Soucre says
Where you are in life right now is a reflection on all the past choices you have made. When I hear people complaining about debt or unfair credit card fees or banks cheating them out of thier house they cannot afford it makes me sick. Take responsibility for the choices you made in the past. You chose to take on the debt. You made a commitment to pay someone fees and interest in the future for the ability to have something right now. Once you take ownership of your problems you can begin to work on the solutions. Great article.
Ashley @ Money Talks says
So true!! You can’t change your life if you don’t admit you are in control of it.
Brass Tacks says
I wholeheartedly agree. At some point if we want to change our financial destiny we need to hold ourselves accountable.
If we own up and take responsibility for our mistakes, its that much easier to have confidence that we can also change our situations for the better.
Figure out where you are in your financial journey, take accountability for your actions, and decide to make a change. Once you do this, the rest is easy.
Travis @debtchrnicles says
That’s the thing that burns me the most – my debt isn’t due to an emergency, or something unforeseen. It was jut purely bad decision making. I fully realize that I did this to myself.
The only thing that burns me even more are people who do exactly what you said – think that somehow it’s someone else’s fault – like the world owed them all the debt they accumulated.
Playing the victim means you will always be a victim. There is a lot of truth in this post.
Little House says
I think there is a lot of this going on; no one wants to take responsibility for their actions. Not just with their financial decisions, but with many decisions in general.
I’ve been making an effort, when things happen for good or bad, to suck it up and realize it was my own darn fault for doing X which led to Y. Only then can you make a plan to fix it!
Like some of the other commenters mentioned this has nothing to do with taking ownership of just debt. Someone that can’t see why something is their fault will never be able to understand why ANYTHING is their fault
Mr. Frugal says
I read similar stories time and time again. They usually seem to boil down to poor money management and a flawed plan or no plan at all.
Unfortunately, the turmoil like you described seems to be the boot camp that helps to get people on the right track. It’s a painful way to learn though.
I really wish personal finance was taught more in high school, if not earlier. It would save so many people from the harsh process of learning money management etc. the hard way.