What Is It Going To Take? Srsly!

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My blog just passed the 2 year mark on May 1st. It’s crazy to think that I have been writing about money for 2 years straight, and still have 100+ ideas for future posts. I mean, is there really that much to talk about? Managing money is actually pretty easy.

  1. Make money
  2. Create a budget plan for that money based on your priorities/goals
  3. Save and spend money according to that plan
  4. ??????

But Why Is It So Hard?

There’s only  5 steps to making money work (see above). But why is it so hard to actually stick to that budget plan? And why do most people forfeit the idea of even tracking or planning their spending in any way, shape or form? What in the world makes handling money so difficult? I think I have a few ideas:

  1. Life happens. The number one deterrent to ANY plan is the fact that we can’t control everything. I know, some people think they can, and we call those people jerks. But for the rest of us, there are things that happen to not only throw our money plan out the window, but that actually change your priorities and goals. There are things you can build into your plan to help these things NOT interrupt your goals (such as savings buckets), but you can’t plan for everything.
  2. Laziness. Yes, I know, not a popular opinion (just look at the comments in THIS POST), but it’s true. Sometimes winning with money is just too hard. It’s easier to ignore the debt your racking up and money you’re blowing. Maybe it’s a lack of motivation. Maybe it’s because you don’t have any goals yet. But sometimes people are just plain lazy and don’t want to manage their money.
  3. Lack Of Education. I totally get this one. I was there for a few years as I blew through over 10 million pennies in 2 years! Maybe you haven’t had time to read through my budgeting basics. Maybe you haven’t ventured over to check out the real reader budget plans. Whatever the case, your money isn’t going where you want it to because you don’t know how.
  4. Don’t Care. Let’s be honest. Some of you don’t really care where you money is going (then why are you reading a budgeting website?!) You’re riding the #YOLO train on your way to party city, ready to blow money like Justin Bieber in the hair product aisle. You’re a party looking for a place to happen, and you happen to place that party on your credit card, because there’s nothing left in your overdrafted bank account and mom won’t loan you “just a few more bucks…geez mom! I even did my chores this week….and I’ll make my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles bed next week! GOSH!”

But Really, What Is It Going To Take?

What will it take for you to realize that money is slipping through your hands each month and you have no plan for any of those dollars? What will get you to finally have that conversation with your spouse about where the money is going? WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE?!

Here are a few examples of what I have seen it takes to get people to pay attention to their (lack of) a money plan:

  1. Overdrafting
  2. Student Loans payments finally getting billed to you after college and you can’t afford them
  3. Credit card being declined at checkout
  4. Several collections calls per day
  5. Tens of thousands in medical bills
  6. Car breaks down
  7. Car getting repo’d
  8. Foreclosure
  9. Divorce

As you can see, for some reason it’s never a good thing that seems to spark the idea that maybe you don’t have your sh** together. It’s never a “sweet, I got a pay raise, time to evaluate why I’m so far in debt and put all of that raise toward my overdraft fees.” it’s usually more of a “Oh crap….I have no idea how I can pay off these bills, and now they’re garnishing my wages.” And I know how tough that is. I have witnessed and helped those in these situations. I know how mentally draining it is once you realize you’re screwed.

But let’s try something different.

Let’s no wait until the house of cards collapses in on us. Let’s not allow a lack of planning turn into a HUGE OMG!!! crisis. Let’s decide to pick today to start paying attention. Let’s pick today to realize starting a budget is the first step toward financial freedom and a much more STRESS FREE financial life. Let’s get motivated!

Awesome Reasons To Change Your Financial Path Today!

Instead of going over all the depressing reasons that it takes to get most people to pay attention to their dollars and cents, let’s go through a list of super awesome, inspiring things that will motivate you to take that first step toward financial freedom.

  1. Not worrying about whether you have enough in your bank account to cover your latest purchase
  2. Never overdrafting again
  3. Having the money for a purchase in your account before you actually buy it
  4. Paying off your overdue medical bills (and stopping those collection calls)
  5. Paying off all your credit card debt
  6. Paying off all your non-mortgage debt in the next 2-3 years (or less!)
  7. Never having a car payment again
  8. Saving money for vacation
  9. Saving money EVERY PAYCHECK for retirement (in your 401k, IRA, Roth IRA)
  10. MAXING OUT your retirement contributions!
  11. Saving money EVERY MONTH for your kid’s college WHILE maxing out your retirement accounts
  12. Paying off your mortgage 15 years early!


This is all possible. It really is. And it all starts with a plan. It all starts with a budget. Are you ready for this?

I recommend checking out some real reader budgets I have created to get people on financial plans that help them achieve the above goals. 

I am also starting to offer 1:1 financial coaching service to help those who want to build a plan that helps them hit some of those audacious goals I listed above. If you need help solving your financial puzzle, please contact me directly using my contact page.

photo credit: V Threepio via photopin cc

Jacob Wade

Jacob Wade

Jacob Wade has been a nationally-recognized personal finance expert for the past decade. He has written professionally for The Balance, The Spruce, LendingTree, Investing Answers, and other widely-followed sites. 
He’s also been a featured expert on CBS News, MSN Money, Forbes, Nasdaq, Yahoo! Finance, Go Banking Rates, and AOL Finance.

In 2018, Jacob quit his job and his family decided to sell everything (including their home) to take off on an adventure. They traveled the country in an RV for nearly 3 years, visiting over 38 states, 20+ national parks and eventually settling in the sunshine state!

24 thoughts on “What Is It Going To Take? Srsly!”

  1. For most people, they put budgeting and being frugal in the ‘too hard’ basket.
    They see it as depriving themselves.
    I guess the fact they may be reading the blog, shows they know they may be in trouble and sorting out ideas.
    For me…. I find frugal an interesting subject..it’s second nature. I could do more, but I already retired 4 years ago, at age 50..so I must have been doing something right 🙂

    Even when people have hit rock bottom, declare bankruptcy, some still don’t learn. Why?
    I think it is because they are walking away from their debts.
    I’d rather they pay each debtor $10 a month, until the debt is paid…
    Make student loans harder to get. For many it is seen as ‘free money’, and a delay to adult working life. Especially for the ones who never use the education afterwards.

    • Yeah, it’s hard to realize that doing the “hard” thing is usually the best thing. But the problem is, avoiding that one hard thing is actually MUCH WORSE and a lot harder in the long run. It’s like investing early. Sure, you don’t have all the spending cash you want, but in the long run, it’ll make life MUCH easier 🙂

  2. To quote Morpheus from The Matrix: “There’s a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path”. I’ve always maintained that the concepts behind both weight loss and financial freedom are pretty simple. Anyone can understand them and most people all ready know enough to achieve their goal. The problem is taking action…

    • Humans have an insanely awesome ability to adapt. You adjust until it hurts, wait and few months, and then notch it up again. And you’ll find you aren’t really missing out on much…

  3. This was an awesome article. So inspiring to look at the list of awesome motivations. Six years ago when we first bought our home, we were SO broke – paycheck to paycheck, with so much debt and one of those “12 months same as cash” loans coming due. That was my wake up call… we’ve since paid off all our debts except the mortgage, which should be finished by the end of this year! And I’m only 30 years old! We should be able to retire VERY early, and I almost forget what it feels like to overdraft my checking account!

    • Hah, yeah, I really wanted to emphasize what IS possible, and that waiting is NOT an option. Why would you wait? Those things are way to cool to sit around and pass up on 🙂

  4. I think, like you said, a lot of people just think it’s all too difficult and complicated. Or maybe they’re afraid they’ll try and fail, so they think it’s easier just to not try at all.
    I think it’s great that you’re launching a 1:1 financial coaching service. Go Jacob!

  5. Its easy to let the chaos of life get in the way of reaching those financial goals. The struggle is real, but the benefits of fighting the fight are profound as well. Sometimes, when I get off track, I’ll make my own list of what life would be like with total financial freedom. It helps me get back on the wagon!

  6. Congrats on two years! As far as budgets, they are thought of as limiting. I mean that’s how I thought of them years ago. But, I learned if you have a clear lifestyle goal it helps with planning (the budget) to get to it. I think when we budget we are always just talking about budgeting to buy a house, car, get out of debt, etc but those things don’t last long to motivate us.

  7. I always think about that question, “what’s it going to take?” I think people who struggle with their weight are a great example of it. You know what you need to do, it’s the implementation and developing new healthy habits of eating and exercising- or spending in the case of finance- that’s tough.

  8. Consistency is a must. I mean there will be days or months that you actually stick to your financial plan, the suddenly you think you kind of have a break so you decide to break the rules. Then you slowly find your budget back to where you were at the start. One should be consistent with his/her plan and stick to it until the goal is achieved.


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