Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Are You Lying to Yourself?

Lying to yourself is sort of a stupid game to play.

We all lie to ourselves, let's face it.  "I'm not that fat" we say, viewing ourselves head-on in the mirror.  Our profile view and the bathroom scale tell another story.

And we lie about our finances.  "That hobby car/boat/motorcycle/jet ski isn't costing that much, right?"

Right.  Sure.  Whatever you want to hear that makes you feel good and justify your own malfeasance.

But the deal is, if you have a Jet Ski, and intractable credit card debt, then yes, the Jet Ski is the problem.  If you are paying double-digit interest rates on consumer debt, and have stupid unnecessary internal combustion toys parked in your yard, then yes, you are lying to yourself.

And we all do it.  I can tell you that, firsthand.   Sure, let's refinance the house and pay off our debts!  Oh, but wait, we really aren't "paying them off" are we?  We are just refinancing them.   And let's have another beer and pretend we didn't just spend five thousand dollars in closing costs to refinance fifty thousand dollars in debt.

Yea, because if you actually think about these things, it will drive you insane.  Just turn on the Cable TV, which costs "only $89.99 a month" even though each bill is over $100 with the taxes and access fees.

Oh, screw it, just send out for a pizza and wallow in comfort food.  It will all be OK, right?



We lie to ourselves, and then when the lies pile up, we lie some more.

Is there harm in this innocent deception?   To be sure, it is a way we try to make ourselves feel better, about ourselves.

But these sort of lies prevent us from changing our behavior, when we really need to.

We lie to ourselves about our weight, and have a second slice of pizza.  "Oh, I'm not that overweight," we say, as we much down a 1500-calorie meal.  But the lie is the problem  - the thing that keeps us from losing that weight.

Similarly, when it comes to finances, we lie to ourselves, so our ego can have an "ego trip" and get a new car, or a jet-ski, or whatever.  "Everyone has debt" we say, using our clueless neighbors as an exemplar.

But this is not really true.   Dumb people are mired in debt.  Smart people are not.   And we want to be smart people, right?

The key is, to figure out how to cut back on spending, get out of debt, and then own yourself free and clear.

It won't happen in a week, a month, a year, or perhaps even a decade.   But you have to have a plan - and stick with it.   Taking on more and more debt as you get older is not the answer to anything.

It is just another lie we tell ourselves.