That's Outrageous

  • A number of years ago we featured a recurring segment called "That's Outrageous!". It was a collection of personal experience from readers where they felt that they weren't being treated fairly as consumers. We had a lot of fun with it and revealed some companies that needed to work on their customer service or products.

     

    I've noticed that there are more and more people outraged these days. About nearly everything. All you need to do is to check the front page of a new site to find something that's triggering outrage. I've even heard it said that as a society we've become addicted to being outraged. That some people just aren't happy unless they're following a hashtag and commenting on Facebook. That concerns me.

     

    Why am I on this soapbox? And what does that have to do with personal finance?

     

    Maybe it's a stretch, but it occurs to me that when we're always outraged about something that we lose the ability to separate the important things from the things that aren't so important. If I'm concerned with what some Hollywood 'star' is doing on American Idol there's a pretty good chance that I'm not paying attention to events that could affect my life. Things that I have some control over.

     

    For instance I saw the results of a survey done by Junior Achievement. "Among the survey results, teens stated their financial goals for the future include: graduating from college (75%), creating a savings plan (50%), affording international travel (37%), starting my own business (30%), and retiring before age 65 (29%)." Generally good goals.

     

    But get this. "Interestingly enough, only half (50%) of teens said one of their goals was to “Gain financial independence from parents." (source: JuniorAchievement.org)

     

    That scares me. Part of raising children is teaching them to be responsible adults. Including their finances. Perhaps we should be teaching them Basic Finance Management for Teens.

     

    Our kids are grown, so I've decided that I'm going to make it a point to pay more attention to my own finances and ignore the outrage of the day. I'm going to do things like check my financial net worth more frequently. You can learn how to calculate it here. Comparing your net worth periodically is a great way to see whether you're going forward or backward financially.

     

    I'm going to spend a little more time reviewing my credit card statements looking for places where I might save a little each month. Maybe make sure that I have the best credit card for my needs. And I'll spend more time with my retirement accounts. In short, I'm going to try to concentrate on the important things that I have control over and that will affect my life.

     

    That's my plan. Maybe I should hashtag it and hope it goes viral. On second thought, no. That might trigger someone's outrage!

     

    Keep on Stretching those Dollars!
    Gary


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