“In the first life beneath the sun, they were so skewed and squint-eyed in their minds their misering or extravagance mocked all reason” — Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy; Inferno
Was reading an article recently about why so many people be bad with money.
It got me thinking about Dante’s Inferno.
The Inferno is one of the poems in Dante’s Divine Comedy (a literary classic, if you’re into that sort of thing).
Anywho, in that poem, Dante describes a place in the 4th ring of hell for tightwads and cheapskates but also for people who are just plain irresponsible with their money.
I’ve known folks (including family) who are on both sides of this fence and they suffer the same peoblem.
They have an unhealthy relationship with money.
Here’s what I mean:
One of my uncles was such a penny pincher, he’d routinely mooch off his (financially) struggling younger brother.
This one time, he invited himself over for dinner, pigged out and then… grabbed some food to take home with him for later.
Meanwhile, his poor brother had 2 starving little mouths to feed.
One year he hosted Thanksgiving and the whole family was there. It was freezing that year (we lived in upstate New York at the time) but he refused to turn the heat up over 60 degrees so we sat around in our coats.
At least it was warmer inside than outside.
He got a good chuckle out of everyone else’s misery, of course…
On the other hand…
An old friend of mine used to spend money like it was going out of style.
Pretty much every credit card was maxed out and he had borrowed heavily from friends to keep his business afloat.
He was raking in millions of dollars in revenue but barely had enough money to put food on the table because of his crazy spending habits and the absurdly high costs of running his business.
Lots of people swing between these two extremes and… they never really get ahead.
My penny pinching uncle recently had to go back to work because — oddly enough — his miserly ways eventually caused him to lose a lot of his savings.
I won’t go into the details but it was very counterintuitive. Being a cheapskate has ruined him, financially and also hurt his reputation.
My spendthrift friend?
He is basically being forced out of his old business and has started a new one.
Now… don’t get me wrong. He’s not a bad guy.
He didn’t cheat anybody.
But he’s also spinning his wheels and not getting anywhere.
I can’t help these types of people but… no one else can either.
You have to come to the table with a rational attitude and the ability to think critically about what you’re doing with your money.
A budget won’t prevent irresponsible people from blowing their paycheck. It just slows these folks down and ismore of an annoyance to them than anything else.
Likewise, spending chedda’ on expensive toys doesn’t cure the tightwad. It just makes him more anxious and neurotic about money.
OK, enough of this. It’s depressing.
Want more financial tips and advice? Then, get your silly little ass on my email list and let’s rock and roll, baby!