Keep Moving Forward II

There was a surprise today. The United States House of Representatives decided to can the bill that would bailout the financial markets. If you listen to all the pundits on television, the end of the world is here. We are heading into the worst times since the Great Depression. Everyone ought to throw in the towel.

Well, I for one am not willing to do that. My last few posts emphasized the need for everyone to take control of their lives. The situation makes this more obvious with each passing moment. Basically, the government said that it is not going to stand behind the mistakes of the financial sector. We will omit going into who caused this problem. However, there are many who are in deep financial trouble as a result of what went on the last few weeks. It is time for these people to own up to their part in the creation of the mess.

Housing seems to be a point where there is a lot of difficulty for individuals. Foreclosures are up simply because people cannot afford their homes. The speculators were removed from the equation over a year ago. People who are behind on their payments now are the ones living in the homes. These are the ones who risk being put out on the street. The politicians like to point at these people as the ones they need to protect. Perhaps that is true, but the help is not coming.

My question to all those who are reading this who find themselves in this situation is "why are you behind on your payments?". This is something that most are unwilling to look at. Many are experiencing financial trouble because they overbought a couple of years ago. They were allowed access to credit that was beyond their means and they abused it. Again, perhaps the lenders had a hand by not being diligent in their lending practices. Yet, personal responsibility entails looking at our part in it.

This is not to imply that everyone who is facing foreclosure overextended. Traditionally, foreclosures happen as a result of divorce, loss of job, or some other financial devastation. Certainly, these factors are present for many today. In addition, there were instances of fraud and misrepresentation made by unscrupulous lenders. Personally, I hope these people are tracked down and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Nevertheless, fraud is not the major culprit in this crisis either.

Getting honest with ourselves is the first part in getting past it. Playing the blame game gets us nowhere. The actions of our political leaders epitomizes this point. There is not a single person standing up and saying that "I failed the people". Each person is pointing the finger at the Administration, the other candidate, or the other party. "It is their fault" we are told. We that is horses***. Everyone involved is responsible for creating such a mess.

So where is your responsibility? What part did you have in creating your own financial circumstances? Even if you are not behind on your mortgage, how is you family savings account looking? Did you put away money with each paycheck in case of economic downturn? If you are like the average person, the odds are that your personal savings are almost non-existent. This is a situation that lies squarely on your shoulders.

Let us look at something else. How many of you have maxed out your credit cards? We are well over $1 trillion in credit card debt in the United States. Obviously, we all know how the outlandish interest rates affect one's finances. Who is responsible for that? Many want to refer to the new laws that favored the lenders. Or they point the finger at the lenders because they issued the credit. The bottom line is it was you who chose to use it. This is identical to taking all your equity out of your house. Too many thrived on credit the last few years without any thought as to how to repay it. Well, it is time to pay the piper and many cannot do it.

Is this offending some of you? Good. I want to get under your skin. This is a wake up call. Ignoring the problem means that you are going to repeat it. Stop living life like it is someone else who is at fault. It makes you weak as an individual and us weak as a nation. Own up to your mistakes while learning from them. That is the only thing that will make this experience of any value. It is turning a negative into a positive.

So where do we go from here? Individually, it is time to pull yourself up by the bootstraps. Take responsibility for it all. This is how we can begin to make progress.

Here are a few other facts that will assist you.

1. You are not the only one.

Get over the self-pity that comes with failure. You are not the only one who is in this situation. There are millions of people (if not tens of millions) from around the world who are in the exact same situation. Because of the scope of this problem, there is a slowed system at present. This will work to your advantage.

2. Things are not as bleak as the media makes it out to be.

The media sensationalizes everything. That is their job. They are experts at writing eye catching headlines. Fear is a wonderful method to capture your attention. This tactic is being exploited as we speak. Everyone is promoting doom and gloom. Chicken Little out in full force at the moment.

Along the same lines, there are two men who are both vying to become President. They will utilize whatever tactic garners attention. Minimizing the problem will not get either elected. Expect there to be constant talk about how bad things are (and how the other is to blame). While things might be entering an extremely difficult stage, bet the ranch it is not as bad as these two will make it out to be.

3. Banks only care about money and defaults hurt them tremendously.

The money you owe will bankrupt nobody but yourself. However, these institutions have millions of people just like you owing them money. They are not interested in your credit nor your house. The only thing that interests them is minimizing the financial damage. Use this to your advantage when negotiating with them.

4. You can get past this.

You are an incredible person. There are so many talents that reside within you. This is the perfect time to put your creativity to use. Regardless of your situation, there are a multitude of ways to solve it. Think of different paths you might follow which will help you. Perhaps it is time to start that new business. Many successful companies were started in economic down cycles. Find a problem and solve it. There are many to choose from at the moment.

This is not the end of the world. Tomorrow, the sun will rise the same as it always has. The human spirit is one that is unstoppable by anyone other then ourselves. You are the only one who can prevent yourself from succeeding. With each downturn there are many opportunities created. Go after them. Be responsible for your actions and take control of your life. Remember, the most dangerous person is one with nothing to lose. If you are totally broke, what do you have to lose? GO FOR IT!!!
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