You might be surprised, but I have a way to get your financial stress resolved – Godfather style.
I don’t know if our economy is in a depression…but I do know that a lot of people are in one.
Take Larry. He feels like a dope. He’s worked all his life building a small hardware and appliance shop in town. He planned on selling his business next year and using the money to retire. When the economy turned to mush, so did Larry.
His dream was to retire in style. He was tired of working hard to create wealth. He was ready for good times. Smoking cigars. Watching the flowers grow. You know, the “Don Corleone” lifestyle. When things fell apart, he exploded. But unlike the good Don, who told Sony, “Never tell anybody outside the family what you’re thinking,” Larry couldn’t keep his thoughts and feelings inside.
He slipped into a funk. He felt like a loser and a failure. He took everything personal — also contrary to the Godfather’s wise advice.
It’s normal to have such a reaction to the current state of affairs, but it’s more important to approach your situation in an adult and sober way.
And so here you are, a way to have your money stress resolved – Godfather style.
1. Acknowledge your feelings.
Just remember, they are only feelings. Don’t make the mistake of confusing your feelings with reality. You might “feel” like things will never get better — but that is contrary to our history. You might “feel” like things are terrible, but they may not be at all. Do you have your health? Do you have a roof over your head and food on the table?
2. Honestly assess your situation.
If your income has been reduced, can you replace the income with a second job? How? Make a list of alternatives. How can you reduce your spending. Make a list and get the family to buy in. (“A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.” – Don Corleone to Johnny Fontane.) Will your cash flow improve soon? Will your mortgage be paid off next year? What else can you do to protect your assets? Will your 46-year-old son get a job? Is it likely that this difficult economy will continue for the rest of your natural life? (I know it feels that way, but is there any truth to that feeling?)
3. Accept the worst-case.
Maybe you’ll have to move to an apartment. Maybe you’ll have to get a part-time job. That might be what Larry decides to do. I know that his wife Kathy is hoping that he does. (She sure doesn’t want Larry around the house spraying trees and eating oranges all day.) Maybe you’ll have to travel less. Is the worst-case so bad? I imagine not.
4. Improve on the worst-case scenario.
When you really accept the worst, it’s easy to improve your situation. You’ll be clear-headed and have more energy. Sitting and brooding won’t help you. Larry’s worst case was that he’d have to move to an apartment (and thus save $2,000 a month) and work part-time. When he stopped to think about it, the worst-case situation wasn’t so terrible. But what was more important was that once he accepted the worst-case, he was able to focus on reality and take real action to improve his financial situation but cutting expenses and focusing his business on the most profitable lines. This was something he should have done years before.
Have you tried these techniques to get out of a rut? What were your experiences? I hope you share your thoughts with me. Don’t force me to make you an offer you can’t refuse!