When I was little, I remember being at my cousins’ house and we were having some sort of pinching fight(?) and laughing and crying and screaming. My aunt came in and yelled: “Don’t do dumb things!” and we all laughed and laughed. But the message stuck and I hear that in my mind so much that I’ve yelled it to my own children a number of times!
So what got me riled this time? The Ryan Lochte situation. I won’t go into it as I’m sick of hearing about it (though I do have to say my favorite headline has been the “Lochte Mess Monster” and his apology for his “immature tantics” made me laugh). The lesson for kids: Even if you’re hanging out with the dumb people, you’re still doing dumb things and may find yourself with your passport confiscated or with a fine for $11,000. Don’t do dumb things.
This statement applies to so many situations!
- You haven’t increased your savings amount in over a year. Maybe you’re not even saving at all! Don’t do dumb things.
- You don’t contribute enough to your 401k to get your full employer match. It’s free money! Don’t do dumb things.
- You spend more than you make. This is basic money 101. Don’t do dumb things.
- You are saving money for retirement, but you’re planning for some grey-haired rocking-chair sitting old person you don’t know. I will shout my catchphrase until the cows come home: Future you is still YOU! Plan for YOUR future, not some old decrepit stranger’s. Don’t do dumb things.
- Work is driving you nuts. More than that, it’s impacting your health. Maybe even landing you in the E.R. Let’s all learn from Marc’s story: Get out! Don’t do dumb things.
- When looking to buy a home, you use the size of the loan for which you’ve been approved as your budget instead of something that would actually fit comfortably into your monthly budget. Don’t do dumb things.
- You want to save money, so you cut yourself off completely and stop spending any money on anything “fun.” Obviously this backfires and you binge-purchase a bunch of crap you can’t return. Don’t do dumb things.
- I recently guest posted over at Ditching the Grind about the cost of poor health. If you have an addiction, you have given up your agency. You no longer get to choose where your time or money goes. Don’t do dumb things.
Don’t worry too much if you find yourself guilty of something (or many things) on the above list. The good news is that there is hope for you. As I tell my children, no one is inherently dumb. People have brains that they can choose to use or not. Everyone is very capable of doing dumb things, but that doesn’t mean they’re dumb. That means even people that are currently making dumb choices can stop and start making smart choices!
Your personal finance story, is YOUR personal story. You get to make the choices. We don’t always get to choose our circumstances, but we get to choose what we do IN those circumstances. Don’t do dumb things. You’re better than that.