Set your mind and the rest will follow

I enjoy my morning walk to work. For about thirty minutes I am able to clear my head, think and relax before I start my day. Fresh air and exercise without the stress of bumper-to-bumper traffic, stoplights and stressed out drivers. We all make choices and mine was to arrange my life in such a way so that I don’t need a vehicle. This allows me to enjoy what I have mentioned above all the while saving me a ton of money on travel expenses.

https://www.thestar.com/business/2014/07/08/canadians_monthly_car_bill_43748.html

This article estimates the average savings of not having a vehicle at $5,250 per year.

On my walk to work this morning there were several things that caught my attention. Being that we all want to be positive role models for our children as discussed in a previous post. http://drdaddydollars.com/is-it-really-all-about-your-kids/ I observed a few interesting things;

I walked by a man that was watering the road in front of his house. I would have thought he was washing it but in this case the city had just removed the top layer of asphalt in preparation for repaving. As I continued to walk down the street and past his home I struggled to find a reason why he would be doing this. I never did figure it out. He was friendly enough saying hello as I passed by while uselessly pouring gallons of water onto the road and into the storm drain. Wasting his time and a valuable resource.

 

A few blocks over I passed the same late model Toyota land cruiser V8 SUV that I have seen several mornings in the past. Parked at the side of the road idling its V8 engine while unoccupied. In fact I rarely see the driver and this day I made it to the end of the block and out of site without seeing anyone. I think we all know on a spring day idling a new vehicle for 10 minutes is not only pointless it is also harmful to the environment, wasteful, inefficient and creates an unnecessary expense.

 

A little bit further down the same block I observed a large mobile storage container in the driveway of a home. I wondered how these people accumulated so much valuable stuff that they needed to store it offsite so that they could (not) use it in the future. Certainly the topic of a future post, I feel that obtaining too much stuff in the first place leads to not only an empty wallet but added stress in managing and getting rid of, replacing and maintaining what you have acquired.

It is how we program our minds. Sometimes our minds are programmed without us knowing by our environment, the media, out parents and our peers. We need to understand that we can control our programming.

Financial security is all about how we think. What is our mind set? Most of us don’t have the awareness that if we do things a little bit differently on a day-to-day basis we can progress towards financial independence. We need to make the small decisions each and every day that will affect the bigger picture, scrutinize everything we do.

 

In spite of the above I did find some encouragement. I did see a few rational souls doing things just a little but differently than the majority of the insane population nowadays. There were a few people walking to work and many more waiting for the bus. I was also excited to see a few people commuting by bicycle even though it was not prime cycling weather. Are these people taking the bus, cycling and walking because they can’t afford a car or because they have made a choice to be smarter travellers of commuters? I could make the choice to buy a $50,000 car to drive me the 2 miles to work, possibly financing the vehicle on credit. (I didn’t include the cost of borrowing above) I have chosen a better way.

 

It is important to look at all aspects of our lives and see if what we do is serving us and driving us towards our goals? Is what we do on a regular basis getting us closer to financial independence? And more importantly are we aware of the example we are setting for our children? We are constantly judging others but I believe our kids are always judging us. Our children take their queues from the way we act so it is important that we act in the in a way we want them to follow.

Who is it really about?

 

Nowadays it really is all about our children. That’s why we work so hard. Extra hours, overtime to earn a few extra dollars and impress our boss and co-workers. Running around in the evenings and on weekends to shuffle them to activities. So we can make their lives better. We want to make their lives easier than ours were. We are prepared to sacrifice our time, our time with our families and children, money and often our happiness so that they get a better start in life. It really is a dog eat dog world and our children need all the advantages they can get so they won’t be left behind. Our children are the most important in our lives.

How else will we be able to send them to daycare, pre-school, private school (average cost over $10,000/year) and after school learning? Here they are going to learn the skills they need to be successful and to get a step ahead of all the other children who don’t have the resources to access this additional learning. It is more competitive than ever and we need to ensure they are getting a well-rounded education. Additional activities are important such as soccer, swimming, piano, gymnastics, martial arts and ***insert additional activity here***.

“I want my kids to have all the advantages that I didn’t have growing up and not have to worry about them fighting to get a good start” -Time-starved, broke ass, stressed out role model for his kids.

Or this one;

“ I can’t tell my child they cannot have the new star wars toy, that would break her heart and I can’t stand to see her cry.” –Parent who is working two jobs and still wondering how to pay the mortgage at the end of the month.

We all get caught up in our responsibilities to our children. Of course, we want the best for them. We would all like them to grow up to be self-sufficient, confident, happy and wealthy. We either, have seen or have heard of those who have strayed down the wrong path or those that no matter how hard they try can’t make any progress. And our instincts as parents make us want to ensure we protect them. Sometimes we are so conditioned by marketing, the media and peer pressure we feel we need to do everything for them, and we end up going overboard. Instead of creating an environment where are kids can flourish, we are created undue stress and confusion.

I am not saying raising kids is easy or that we have our shit together all the time. But it is important to consider, we are our children’s first and most important role models. They watch us and how they view us shapes their world and their future. Do you want your child having a role model that is never home because he or she works too much? How about a role model that is constantly spending all of their money on activities and spoiling their children but doesn’t ever have any money leftover? Or stressing out because there just isn’t enough time or money to accomplish everything you want to. Just as important is that if they are constantly involved in activities you may even cease being a role model for them because your time with them is limited.

My goal is to be a strong role model for my children. I want to be confident, self-sufficient, happy and supportive. And work hard to achieve that and to show that to my children on a regular basis. I am working towards a position where I am financially independent so I can stay home and spend time with my family. I want to choose how I spend my time and show them it is possible for them to achieve that as well. I want them to understand that we have choices in life and that we don’t need to work into stress-induced exhaustion. I suspect they will all achieve financial independence at a much younger age them me if they want to. Showing them a father that is financially secure demonstrates to our children that they don’t need to spend money to be successful.

In regards to activities how much is too much? Well, don’t we want to be spending more quality time with our children rather than at work? How much time do you spend with them each day or each week? I truly believe that if you want to positively influence your child you need to be spending quality time with them. If you rarely see them or if they are exhausted it’s too much. And if you’re living paycheque to paycheque, if you feel like you are struggling, maybe the private school bill doesn’t make sense. If you are not putting money away towards savings for your future how can you expect your child to learn to do the same?

Activities and education don’t necessarily lead to a more financially healthy adult. They don’t even always lead to a better, higher paying job (although they can) I have seen many individuals holding bachelors and even masters degrees and they still struggle to find a job. Throughout my career, I have seen individuals or families that earn several hundreds of thousands a year but are drowning in consumer debt. I don’t want my kids growing up in that situation.

Let’s give them the space to be creative and think for themselves without always filling their time with activities or television or Netflix. I truly believe that if we want our children to be great then we must do something different than what we are currently taught to do. Teach them how to problem solve and to create and to learn that there are other ways of doing things. Let’s stop conditioning them to follow the path that will lead to our kids being okay, Let’s lead them to greatness.

 

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