The following is a guest post from John. He is the cofounder of Fearless Men and is a Passionate. Life Learner. Thinker. Christ Follower. Conversationalist. Army Veteran. Athlete. Adventurer. Blogger. Corporate Colleague. Brother. Son. Friend. If interested in submitting a guest post, please read my guest posting policy and then contact me.
When I was 19 years old I was completely broke and had to borrow for the first time as a man. In a short story let me tell you how this happened. And how being broke and having to ask for help hits your confidence when you thought you had all the answers.
When I was 13 years old I found my first $100. When I was 15 I got my first part-time job. By 18 I had saved $1000 and got a full time job. Pretty sweet, right!? 3 or 4 months after my 18th b-day I’m moving out of my parents place and into my own apartment with a friend. I’m on a superman high. You know, that high that all young men get when we think we’re invincible, know everything and are ready to take on the world. My friend and I go out and split the cost of a $500 TV. We buy a xbox, games, gun controllers and more stuff. We spend the year living life. Nothing catastrophic happens to us. We both still have our jobs and even vacationed to Australia for a couple months. But after that is when I came back down to earth. I got back a month after my 19th b-day and had $200 to my name and rent was due. My portion was $150 so I was still feeling alright because I knew pay day wasn’t too far away. You ever have that feeling? I could survive on $50. So I go to the bank to withdraw my last $200. As I’m pulling it out of the feeder and staring at the 0 balance it’s starting to sink in. I’m walking back home and still sulking in this new predicament I find myself in and I reach into my pocket to hold on to my last $200….and it’s gone. Just like that, vanished. Couldn’t find it. Lost it. It was gone. So what did I have to do? I asked my Dad for help. Could anything be more humiliating?
“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.” – Teddy Roosevelt
In that moment I vowed to myself that this would never happen again. Never would I be in debt because I was financially irresponsible. I knew I had it in me to be responsible and manage my finances better. I just didn’t know how. I was used to living on the edge and enjoying life. Like some of you, I wondered if having to create and stick to a budget was going to be the end of my fun. But I also thought that it shouldn’t have to be that way. There must be a way to balance fun and finances. I needed to learn and fast.
“Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.” – Proverbs 10:4
First thing I did was look around me at friends and coworkers who seemed to know what they were doing with money. I didn’t go and say I was broke and beg for help. In hindsight that would have been hilarious though. I asked for tips and tools that they’d recommend. One character trait I also noticed they all possessed was being responsible. Not just with money but in life. Like many of you probably know or are now facing it isn’t easy to change how you spend your money. It isn’t easy to tell yourself that you’re financially irresponsible. It’s a long road and one you often feel you’re traveling alone. One thing I quickly learned was that being a responsible man played into how I managed my money. If I developed this discipline my money would stop disappearing. Fortunately within a year I was back on my feet and saving towards retirement.
Three good things came out of this incident:
1) I learned to manage my finances better
2) I learned that I didn’t have all the answers and needed to reach out to others.
3) But the biggest lesson was becoming a responsible man.
This life lesson had ripple effects in other areas of my life. Benefits that I didn’t even expect and they still pay off to this day. It might not be a cool saying but a responsible man is more attractive. So if a “know it all 19 year old” can become financially responsible, anyone can. All it takes is a decision and some focus on being responsible.
“Responsibility finds a way. Irresponsibility makes excuses!” – Gene Bedley