Over at Get Rich Slowly, J.D. Roth shares a story of a reader who approached him asking what to do if you're broke but couldn't suffer the idea of a side job. The whole affair is a reminder that if you're looking to dig out of debt or save for the future, you have to make some sacrifices to get to those goals.
Picture: William Ross/Flickr
The reader in question asked Roth what to do if you're broke and stuck with something unexpected, such as a $900 dental bill. He explained that the best thing to do is to try not to get into those situations by saving up an emergency fund. Other people suggested negotiating with the dentist for a payment plan, selling things, taking another job and so on — the reader declined all of those suggestions with reasons why they wouldn't work in his case. In the end, Roth explained the whole scenario was much like a question Dave Ramsey answered once, explaining that you're often your own worst enemy — not being willing to make changes or sacrifices to shore up your finances can lead to you feeling stuck in the same place forever. He explains:
I think that's the fundamental shift in my financial philosophy over the past decade. Ten years ago, I too thought the only way to solve my financial problems was to win the lottery, inherit some money, or otherwise "get lucky." I was waiting for somebody or something else to make my problems go away. As I turned my life around (and began to write at Get Rich Slowly), I came to realise that I was the only one who could solve my problems. That's why one of the tenets of my philosophy is "nobody cares more about your money than you do." Other people are looking out for themselves. You must take charge of your own situation.
He goes on to explain that's not to say that many people are dealt terrible hands, disenfranchised from the get-go or preyed upon by financial institutions designed to siphon money out of you. But the thrust is clear: No one is going to put money in your pocket to help you improve your situation, so sacrifices — a second job, selling possessions, downsizing or living more frugally — are required to make sure you get that emergency fund, pay off those debts or get the savings you want. They may suck or take you away from family time, but they're often temporary and the benefits are far more rewarding.
Ask the Readers: What Do You Do When You're Broke? [Get Rich Slowly]