I came across an interesting blog post today. It's been up since April, but I just found it today. I was reading comments on I Will Teach You To Be Rich and found the Frugal Dad blog. I agree with the post, and linking it saves me the trouble of writing my own.
As The Frugal Dad says, there is a difference between the "perpetual poor" and those who are financially hosed due to other circumstances. Dave Ramsey uses the terms "broke" and "poor" as a contrast. Broke is a circumstance while poor is a mindset as Dave puts it.
I grew up listening to my mom telling us that we can't afford basically anything I might have asked for. Of course, there always seemed to be plenty of money when she wanted to take a trip or buy something, but that's another story. My parents never gave me access to their financial statements so I can only go on my perceptions. When I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad, I came across an interesting mindset. Rather than saying "I can't afford it" you should ask "How can I afford it?" I've taken this a step farther in asking "Is this a wise use of our money at this point in time?" Note that there are some issues with Rich Dad, Poor Dad, but you can read about that here. In any case, I will say that Rich Dad, Poor Dad is dead on about the mindset part of finances.
I have had several jobs I didn't like. With the exception of the Navy which had me under a contract, when I reached the breaking point of not liking a job, I got another one. In the case of my last job, I got a college degree then I got a new job. It was hard work but I had to do it unless I wanted to stagnate there until the contract ran out, which I didn't.
When you find yourself in financial difficulty, there are usually two options: cut expenses or increase your income. One way to increase income is to get a better job. Another is to freelance by offering a skill you have in your spare time. Sometimes you can only cut how much it costs you to live by so much, then you've got to find a way to increase your income. That's what I did when we had Joshua. I was working the swing shift, my wife was on the day shift, and we had no time together. I floated resumes, got a better job, and she was able to come home. Actually, it was more complicated than that. The two guys I worked with told me about a "5 year plan." I sat down to try to figure out where I wanted to be in 5 years, and I realized I did not want to be there in 5 years. That story goes on a lot longer.
If you find yourself constantly swimming upstream with your finances and just can't seem to get ahead, why not stop. Find a quite place and examine your life. Do you find yourself to have a limiting mindset? Do you place more faith in lottery tickets than in your own ability to succeed? Do you read much, or try to improve your skills or develop new ones? By read, I don't mean the mindless motivational fluff like Rich Dad, Poor Dad or Think and Grow Rich. I mean, do you read anything that will teach you something? Do you read books or magazines about your trade? Have you ever talked to your manager about what it will take for you to move up?
There are many cases when we're only prisoners of our own mindsets.