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You’re broke because you choose to be

The title of today’s post may be a little harsh, but I’m not one for sugarcoating. If you have been in a coma for the last two years, you may not have noticed the economy is not in the greatest shape. There is no denying many Americans have been affected by the economic downturn, but I get pretty frustrated with people that always point the finger at someone else.

I am going to punch a baby in the face (figuratively speaking of course)  if I hear another person complain about how broke they are. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with broke people, I only have an issue with those that complain about being broke, but have no plan to become un-broke (is that a word?).

Don’t tell me you can’t get ahead when you have an 800 channel cable package, an unlimited cell phone plan, and a fridge full of beer and soda. Wanna know something? You’re not broke, you’re stupid. Ya gotta change your mentality. You have to accept responsibility for your situation and quit pointing the finger at someone else (even if it really is someone elses fault).

Maybe you worked really hard, made a decent salary, used your credit cards responsibly, but fell victim to some shady business practices from your lender. Oh freakin well. Last time I checked, bitterness wasn’t a key to success. Bad things do happen to good people, but what really separates the winners from the un-winners (losers sounded too harsh) is the drive to consistently better themselves.

If you have found yourself strapped for cash, don’t sit idly by and wait for someone to fix your problems, it’s on your shoulders. That means you might have to say goodbye dining out, adios Nordstrom, and ::GASP:: farewell tall-non-fat-caramel-macchiato-upside-down-with-a-whip-a-grip-and-a-kung-fu-twist from Starbucks. Please do not tell me you aren’t sure how you are going to pay your credit card bill if you haven’t canceled your cable. Change starts with you (and your spending habits).

Yes my tone may be slighty harsh, but sometimes people need a good swift kick in the a$$. My assumption is most of my readers are either financially secure, or at least have a plan to become financially secure, and therefore this message does not really apply to you, but it’s still an important message nonetheless. Do you have any good stories from people whining about their finances when they have done NOTHING to correct the issue? Is it possible that I simply lack compassion and am actually a terrible person for being so mean? You can call me mean, but I like to think of myself as…well…honest 🙂



  1. It is an unfortunate truth that people just don't think when it comes to their money. I spent years in collections for a mortgage company where we got every excuse in the book. When you got down to it though they weren't paying for their mortgage because they had to pay for the leased car, watch their rent-to-own big screen TV with 800 channel HD cable while munching on restaurant food delivered by take out taxi. Their priorities are out of wack and the worst part is a lot of them don't care. That is just the way they want to live. Forget punching a baby I just want to punch them in the face.

  2. Once again, I'm in total agreement with you. Unfortunate circumstances happen to everyone and you have to adapt in order to survive. Accept the fact that you might have had a hand in your own tragedy, stop crying about it and start making positive changes.

  3. My mom had a tenant once that had a manicure, was telling me about her weekend in NYC to "get away from her problems", and her daughter's dance recital, but she didn't have money to pay the rent. Even with her rental income, my 74 year old mom was still below poverty level. Unfortunately, this person was a second generation welfare recipient, so there is an ingrained sense of entitlement that they are owed things from people. Somehow, my mom who brought home $700/month in social security was supposed to be okay with paying for this stranger's expenses because she was down on her luck.

  4. Dude, you are keeping it real. And the truth hurts, so oh wells!

    You are probably preaching to the choir, but I know several people that would run away if they heard your sermon…

  5. Oh, and the reason I mentioned her house is owner-financed is because she has a balloon payment due in 2 years, but she just declared bankruptcy 3 years ago, and she and hubby both have horrendous credit. Said hospital bill just went into collections, and they've been behind on most bills at least twice in the 10 months since they moved in. Yet they've been on two vacations, bought the daughter a $1,100 ATV for her birthday, are buying her a new laptop (they have a computer in the house though), are planning a cruise in April and a trip to Niagara Falls in August. I don't know whether to scream or cry, so now I'm just trying to shut the hell up.

  6. I tell people I'm broke b/c I don't have any money to do (insert costly activity here) after I save what I plan on saving. So I actually do have money but according the budget, there is no more room to give.

    I'm sure most people are like this. I prefer to go home and watch a $1 Redbox than pay $20 per couple to see the latest and greatest blockbuster in 3D.

    • But then that's not broke. That's "it's not in my budget" or "I choose not to spend my money that way." That's a choice of how to spend your money, because most things you could afford to do without going further into debt, but you choose not to because you have other plans.

        • True story, budgets are smart, sexy and cool, but constantly saying "it's not in the budget" means: I have money, but I don't want to use it to hang out with you.

          BUT, what you can do is set aside some entertainment money each month, so you are not constantly saying, "I'm broke", which can also make you look like a huge douche, cause you can't manage your own money.

    • But then you wouldn't be who he's referring to right? If you're seeking employment, and your costs are related to survival and getting a job, then you're working on a plan to be un-broke. At least that's what I would think. But if you're sitting up at your parents watching video games all day and haven't even thought to look for a job, well, then maybe my sympathy would be less. That said, best of luck in your job search.

  7. Agree, so many people get in trouble but they don't even realize that they are the ones who are wasting their money with things they really don't need, but are just used to living a certain lifestyle.

  8. I used to substitute teach, mostly middle school math, and so many students would complain that they'd never use algebra that I developed a whole set of simple worksheets with finance topics about mortgages, leasing vs buying cars, saving for later vs. using credit now, etc. Most of them didn't act impressed (that would be uncool, of course), but I like to think at least I planted the idea to do some math to help make money decisions.

    There are a lot more forces out there that want people to spend (think of how we're bombarded with ads everywhere and how everybody is so happy in those ads!) and make it incredibly easy to spend with online shopping, TV shopping, and run out to the beautiful mall or town center shopping. And people feel good when other people tell them how nice they look, what a nice car they have, how fun it is to watch their big screen TV and play new video games on it, etc.

    I guess about the best we can do is not focus on our friends' and family's toys, affirm good decisions and, for those examples above, just say "Sounds like it's time to sit down and figure some things out." At least after this big bust in the economy, that's more cool than it used to be.

  9. Thank you for pointing out that we really don't need 90% of what we have! This economic crisis began due to greed and the notion that people feel entitled to live beyond their means. So sad that so many have bought into society's lies that stuff, power, fame, etc. = happiness. Right….

  10. You are mean, you've kept all of the ninja-twists to yourself and never told us they existed. Starbucks is probably way more awesome with a ninja-twist.

  11. You are absolutely right Ninja. I hear people close to me these days complaining that they are broke. They all either need to live within their means and not spend every single penny they have. I truly believe in pay yourself first. Also have another relative that complains they are broke. I feel for her since she is family, but that relative needs to find a job quick. Been laid off for over a year and life has been placed on hold. Even if it means working at starbucks or McDonald, i think a job of any kind is needed.

  12. I'm a lurker/bankruptcy lawyer (for now) and I want to say this every day to my clients. Self-preservation keeps me from doing that, at least until the job market improves. Unfortunately, I think there is a high level of correlation between emotional maturity and financial stability and people don't see how their small choices impact their bigger picture.

  13. THANK YOU!!!!! One of my resolutions is to try and stop giving advice to people who I KNOW won't heed it, and then I'm frustrated because they're in the same situation.

    For instance, my secretary moved into a new (owner-financed) house last March. Got the homeowner tax break, received $12,000 in refunds in May. Didn't have enough money to pay the $500 to get gas turned on at the house until November. HUH?!?!?!?! I toldsame secretary to get either Triple-A or add roadside assistance to their insurance because she and hubby have old vehicles and live at least 60 miles from work. They "couldn't afford" the expense. And then her car broke down twice in one week and they had to come up with $250 for two tows, twice what Triple-A would cost. Shake my head. Then she has hospital bill to pay of $7,000 for daughter's visit. She can "only" give them $25/month for repayment. As she said, that's all they have in their budget. Hmm, maybe stop paying $135/month for your kid to get her hair colored!!!!

  14. Hahaha thanks. I'm just being a pain in the butt. My motto this year is "Make Money." It's all I think about 🙂

    And no I don't have cable… but after 10 years of full-time work and paying into the system, I am ok with the US government paying my car payment while I search for a reliable source of income.

    • Lol, totally understand! I've been there too, and I'm totally okay with contributing my taxes to the government to help pay your car note!

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