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No Matter What, We Are Still Responsible For Our Financial Future

No Matter What, We Are Still Responsible For Our Financial Future personal 2 I have been wondering lately about my financial future.  Not only mine, but my family’s, my friend’s, and our nation’s financial future.  Since the term “fiscal cliff” was coined, all anyone can talk about is how the United States government cannot figure out how to handle it’s finances.  Even though we have averted the fiscal cliff due to the proposal that was passed, what will happen 3 months, 1 year, 5 years, or 10 years down the road?  I know with the constant bickering and fighting that goes on in our Congress, we can no longer think that the government has our best interest at heart.

I haven’t thought they had our best interest at heart for quite some time, but there are still some believers out there.

I have learned growing up that we all make mistakes.  Whether those mistakes be with our careers, our relationships, or with our finances.  What makes someone grown is how they learn from their mistakes and grow into a more well-rounded person.  Learning from your mistakes is what makes us human and become more responsible.  Unfortunately, I don’t think this same idea applies to government.  It doesn’t matter what country you live in, most governments are well funded with corruption and that affects their thought processes.  Money changes us, no matter if you want to believe it or not.  For this reason, I have decided  to stop caring what the government does and only focus on what I can do.

Putting Myself in Charge

Many people want to blame the government for their issues.  I am not one of those people.  I only blame myself for any issues that arise.  Yes, there are things that the government can do in order to reduce any discomfort I may feel about how our nation is running, but I don’t count on those anymore.  I stopped holding onto hope that our government would work together to better this country and decided to put myself in charge of my financial future.

This was the best decision I have ever made…..

Scared of Heights on the Edge of the Fiscal Cliff

No Matter What, We Are Still Responsible For Our Financial Future personal 2 I always thought the fiscal cliff was a horrible name, but it stuck and it put fear into people that both Republican and Democrats wanted.  Each use the American public as pawns in their greedy game of chess.  I don’t want to be a pawn anymore.  I am an educated and informed consumer, voter, and American.  I don’t listen to what I hear on Fox news or MSNBC and take it at face value.  I take my time to fully research and decide how I feel about issues.  I just wish that more people took the time to do the same.  The only way you can change something is by actually making a change.

As the 2012 year was coming to an end and the fiscal cliff debate was heating up, I was working feverishly to know where my finances stood and how I was going to make sure that any decrease in my paycheck was going to be offset by a decrease in my spending.  I am an average American that will only be affected by payroll tax for social security when it goes back to 6.2%.  I have known this was coming for some time as when it was originally taken down to 4.2%, it was indicated as TEMPORARY!  That means that is probably wasn’t going to stay that way.  Yes, we all got a few years out of it, but it was temporary none the less.  I learned how to live on my wage with the original 6.2%, so I just invested or saved the 2% that I was getting back.

Don’t get me wrong, I am going to miss the money out of my paycheck, especially with a new baby.  Every little bit helps, but I will make due with the change.  I realize that millions of taxpayers are in the same boat as me.  The government isn’t just taking this approach with a few selected people, but pretty much the majority.  If you feel that it is unjust, then remember that the decrease was TEMPORARY and leave it at that.  Though we may hate the government at times, we cannot look to them to always guide us in the right direction.  We have to leave that to ourselves.

But It’s My Money!

Most of us work very hard for our paychecks.  Some do not, but I don’t want single those people out in this post.  We get paid, then we figure out what we want to do with our money.  Some people spend it, some save it, and some invest it.  No matter how much money you make, if you are in the 99%, then you will have to pay taxes.  There are different tax thresholds, but you will have to pay taxes.  I know you think that it is your money and you don’t want the government taking any of it, but guess what, WE ALL PAY TAXES (except for the extremely rich!!).  We are all in the same boat.  Each paycheck comes and the government taxes it’s share and then leaves the rest for you.  The only way to succeed is to live on the money that you actually bring home.  Just because you have a job that pays you $50,000 doesn’t mean you actually “make” that much.

It’s Time to Take Responsibility

If you are still fuming over the fiscal cliff debate and what happened in the bill, then the only thing I can say to you is GET OVER IT!  I know that you are irritated and feel that no matter what you do, the government is always going to try and screw you over.  I am not a big fan of big government, but I understand that if I want to enjoy the successes of America, then I need to pay my share.  Your parents have done it and so have your grandparents.

Instead of debating how the fiscal cliff has affected you, why don’t you take action.  Figure out how your paycheck will be affected and then take action to fix it.  There are many ways to cut your costs, but you just have to do it.  These decisions are not easy, but in the end, you might just realize what is actually important to you.  Here are a few ways that I saved money over the past year.

Here are some other ways of reducing your living expenses.

There are many things that can be done to reduce costs around your home and in your life in general.  Yes, some of you may feel that you shouldn’t have to reduce your costs just because the government decided to end a temporary tax cut, but it happened.  If you don’t change you lifestyle, then you will never be able to get ahead financially.  It is time to take responsibility for your financial life and make the changes necessary to reap the benefits.

Not matter what happens with our careers, our homes, our cars, or with our government, we are still responsible for our own financial future.  Take a stand and take charge of your finances and start calling the shots.  The more you rely on yourself and your decisions, the better control you will have over your future!

Photos via DonkeyHotey and Scarto

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About Grayson Bell

I am an average Joe, who built up over $50,000 worth of credit card debt and had to learn how to break it back down. It took 4 years of learning budgets, secrets, and many other personal finance tricks in order to cut the debt to $0. Now, I push to teach others not only how to get out of debt, but how to use credit wisely and how to start growing their wealth. You can view my other site, Sprout Wealth for ways to grow your money. I am also a freelance personal finance writer who provides staff writing and ghost writing services.

25 comments

  1. So true mate, many people have become too accustomed to the easy money that is being thrown around. Obviously it will have to end at some point and there is no better time to look out for number 1 than right now!
    Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted..Using Coupons to Save MoneyMy Profile

  2. Preaching personal responsibility? How dare you! /sarcasm. This post is spot on. You are 100% on point, the only one responsible for you, is you.

    I would add, if you don’t like what the government is doing, write letters, call your representatvie, volunteer for a candidate you believe, or run for office yourself.

    • Haha, sorry Brian. I will try not to preach personal responsibility anymore. I guess I just went over the line! ;)

      I have written to government before, but I would not ever want to run myself. It is too corrupt and I know that my common sense approaches probably wouldn’t go very far within most governments, either state level or federal.

  3. To play devil’s advocate, I think people are not only worried about micro-level impacts of regulation but macro-level impacts such as less incentives to hire and less incentive for entrepreneurs to take risks. There are other results of regulation, such as new material taxes on health care providers – imagine if you were a psychologist and you have to pay $10k in new taxes just to operate legally under new health care reform laws? I don’t think people take the effects of government regulation seriously enough.

    I am not making excuses for anyone nor do I think that the government should be fully blamed for all our financial problems, but it does have macro-level implications that inevitably affect micro-level financials.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted..Why You Should Buy A Diamond Engagement RingMy Profile

    • Oh, I completely agree DC. I think your response is great, but the issue is that most of the average Americans don’t have much control over what the government does. Yes, we have the right to vote, but most people do not vote with common sense, but only along party lines. Unless we understand the implications of our vote, then we cannot truly vote properly. No matter what the government does, you still have to take care of yourself and make sure that you change with the times. If your pay gets cut, then you need to change your lifestyle. You can’t rely on others to help you.

      Nice job being thought provoking DC!

  4. We all knew the payroll tax reduction was temporary……but that won’t make it any less painful when people see their paychecks this month. Personally I think it was a bad idea to make such a thing temporary. They should have gone more with a “rebate” form – that way people wouldn’t have become used to the larger paycheck.

    That being said, personal responsibility for a person’s finances is a huge deal – until a person takes that responsibility on, and admits to being the cause of their own failures, they will never succeed.

    From personal experience. :)
    Travis @debtchronicles recently posted..Real Men Use a ShovelMy Profile

    • I agree with you Travis. I know it is not any better for people that really need it. Losing money is losing money. It might affect people more if they started a job when the cut was in effect because they didn’t see the amount before.

  5. I wholeheartedly agree with you here, Grayson. We often blame outside sources for our problems but the painful truth is that we can fix most of them if we try hard enough. Only we can make our life and financial outlook better or worse! Sure, there are roadblocks but only we can come up with ways to overcome them!
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted..Credit Card Churning: A Year in ReviewMy Profile

  6. Preach it Grayson! I am not going to share a whole lot as I am working on a post similar myself, but you’re entirely spot on! The media does it what it likes and tries to stir up fear and many, like lemmings, fall right along with it. None of us are perfect and I know it’s happened with me at times, but we need to be wise, buck up and put the big boy pants on so we can improve ourselves as opposed to blaming the government for our ills.
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..4 Helpful Free Investment ToolsMy Profile

    • Haha, thanks John! I look forward to your post about it as well. I am not sure if I will consider mine a post, but more of a rant! I am glad that I put on my big boy pants back in 2008.

  7. Spot on, man! I think that elected officials think they have our interests at heart, but it’s the squeaky wheels that are getting the love. Too often the noisy right and left control the actions of Congress. Only lately have I had a feeling that the middle ground might be back.

    That said, you’re correct: why focus on Washington when there are a host of fixes you should be performing on your own financial picture?
    AverageJoe recently posted..Want More Money For College? What the $%#! Are FAFSA and EFC?My Profile

  8. I always felt that I can control me and had very control over everything else. It has worked out well for me! I achieved financial freedom at 38 years old and allowed me to pursue everything I ever wanted.

  9. Blaming and excuses won’t make debts go away nor will they make money. We all have problems, everyone does I don’t discount that for a moment. Money problems happen for a myriad of reasons but they won’t go away that’s the truth. We have to sometimes bite the bullet and stand up and take charge of our finances or they will take charge of us. I’ve come to rely on no one and it will always be that way. Great post. Shared on FB! Mr. CBB
    Canadian Budget Binder recently posted..Market Value, Appraisal Value, Assessed Value….How did they Value my Home?My Profile

  10. I like this post! I hate it when people blame government/family/nameless-others for their problems and failings. I think that for most people, there’s always something that you could have done (and things that you still can do) to make your situation better.

    Besides, I like the idea of relying on myself rather than depending on others who may not be there one day.
    CF recently posted..Financial Goals: 2013My Profile

  11. Right on! I get so tired of people saying the government is holding them back or they would be rich “if only …”. Stop whining! The government is going to do things you don’t like, and there are people who will still get massively rich. Be one of them! Learn the rules of the tax code and use them to your advantage. I hide my investments in my 401k and IRA because I can (and so I don’t have to pay taxes)!
    My Money Design recently posted..The 403b vs 401k – How Are They the Same? How Are They Different?My Profile

    • I get tired of hearing it as well. That is why I wrote the post. You can blame everyone for your problems, but it won’t fix anything. Get yourself under control and turn your life around.

  12. Hey Greyson,

    I really appreciate that you brought up the fiscal cliff and how you don’t take the media’s critics and advice at face value. I believe that it is only the media’s job to report and not actually use inflammatory rhetoric to upset everyone. I believe the real discussion should be set up only with personal finance blogs/websites and political blogs/websites.

    Going further into financial matters, as well as politics, I was wondering if you had any comments, or future articles over the recent sequestration, and how it might impact the public?

    Thanks,
    Chelsea

  13. A few months back I saw a chart being discussed on an MSNBC show. I saw the reference and information, and since I was sitting with my laptop, looked it up. Sure enough, the chart was accurate. Next night happened to catch a FOX show with a similar kind of chart that showed a different conclusion. Again looked it up, they were right too! Bottom line is it’s all in how you spin the numbers and frame the message. Are you including this metric, or considering this ratio, or doing a raw number versus precent comparison, etc.

    Point is, you cannot rely on any news source being completely unbiased and you need to take it all with a grain of salt realizing that these programs in particular, and much of what we are fed, aren’t about providing actual facts, but providing facts presented to support their opinions and conclusions. If it’s something you care about, look up the facts for yourself and read between the lines, don’t just assume they’re presenting the whole story.

    • I couldn’t have put it better myself. This is so true. I am well aware that news outlets spin the same content in different ways to support their agenda. The problem is that many people don’t do this. They listen to their favorite news channel and take what they are saying 100%. That just creates false intelligence.

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