Yesterday I was packing for another credit conference, and I was watching the news discuss the end to the Government shutdown and increase in the debt ceiling. I find it ironic how human nature does not discriminate and how desperately this country needs a culture shift. Wait; make that a culture shock.
No matter how well educated and what level of status has been achieved, as humans and as a nation we continue to procrastinate addressing the difficult choices we all face financially.
In my industry I have seen thousands of scenarios where our clients have been through economic events like Bankruptcy, loss of job and divorce. These financial challenges happen to the best of us. We are told from a young age that it is not how far or how many times we fall down, it’s how we get up and move forward that defines us.
Well that sounds easy if you just finished watching a Rocky movie, but in reality making smart choices can be challenging no matter how driven you are. Life happens quickly and often those smart choices force us to take a step back, and nobody likes going backward.
Many of my clients wait until it is mission critical to correct their errors and address their finances. Additionally, a large segment, fail to make long-term decisions to correct the issues long term. Essentially, they kick the can down the road and continue to increase their debts.
Where I draw the parallel, is that our illustrious Government, the leaders of the free world, has exhibited the exact same behavior as my clients. Where my clients often lack the fiscal education, Washington DC is supposed to be staffed with the brightest minds in the world.
Here we are again, for the third time in 5 years. The Government shuts down for over two weeks (costing us billions in back pay), and we came down to within hours of defaulting on our 17 TRILLION dollars in debt. Even with the drastic measures taken to work out our budget, what did Washington do? You guessed it, kick that can into next year so we can go through the same waste of time, talent and treasure after the Holidays.
So where does that leave us? I guess if we can glean something from this debacle, it’s the fact that human nature can be a major obstacle no matter how high your bar is set. My advice to you and the government is the same I have for my three-year old. Leave kick the can for the playground, begin with the end in mind and make smart choices!