New Thinking Meets Old Lessons for Financial Success

BlogHer Original Post

While innovation is great, the best lessons from this economy are not really all that new. For a generation of us this economic downturn is the most severe we've experienced in our lifetimes. Yet, we don't necessarily need to re-create the wheel to find the financial lessons we seek.

Recently I received a review copy of the book "Lessons from the Depression: Eliminating Debt the Old-Fashioned Way" by first-time author Darlene G. Butts. It is a fun parable filled book that follows the fictional story of a couple who find themselves buried in debt after job layoffs and real-estate troubles. I'm sure no one can relate to this at all, right? What I liked about the book is that the story is easy to read, easy to relate to, and the "Crazy Granny" really does dole out some great bite-sized advice that people can wrap their minds around and execute without getting too overwhelmed.

As I read the book and chatted with the author (full-disclosure: I offer a gift as one of her purchase bonuses) who I had only recently met, it struck me. There is SO much excellent advice out there already that we don't need to re-create the wheel or search for the Holy Grail of financial solutions (it doesn't exist by the way).

Self-accountability is what is needed in this market and any market. You want to get out of debt? Realize financial freedom? Be accountable and in integrity. The Digeratilife has a great rant on "Worst Economic Crisis Since the Great Depression, Who's to Blame" . It boils down to accountability and some rational thinking (of which so many individuals and organizations are lacking or we wouldn't be in this conundrum) yet those of us who have followed those tenets are scratching our heads because someone changed the rules:

Yes, this crisis is breaking all sorts of rules, including those I’d consider as long-standing successful personal financial tenets. Responsible approaches to personal finance don’t have a chance against a crisis of tsunamic proportions:

So let’s see — doing the right thing by scrimping, saving, investing, diversifying, doing proper asset allocation, avoiding market timing, indexing, and hedging against inflation through equities, even doing your job well will no longer guarantee you a splendid, worry-free financial future. Not when a “once in a century financial event” can just come by and rob you off the stuff you worked so hard for; not when someone “up there” can change the rules for you, just like that.

I can rant with the best of them but at the end of the day all you can control is what is within your control. That is your own relationship to money and the choices you make. Unfortunately no one is coming to bail out the little gals, that massive spend is reserved for the clowns of this big conglomorates who got us into the mess and get gazillions of dollars to make their boo-boos all a little better (like a squirt of the Bactine from the 1980's). So I think the basics really do still apply but with a little creativity thrown in to address situations we've never experienced before.

Financial lessons from your parents are still worth heeding and burying your head in the sand remains a bad strategic plan.

The immutable laws of money still apply though -- spend less than you make and save for the future. Whether you've been kicked in the pants so hard you won't sit comfortably for years or you've escaped (so far) with only minor bumps and scrapes, it is important to stay conscious in your money relationship. Apply all the new and creative thinking you can to it, but remember to also pay due respect to the old lessons for financial success. The sweet spot where those two worlds meet just may be the wisdom we've been hoping for.


Paula Gregorowicz, owner of The Paula G. Company, offers life and business coaching for women to help you gain the clarity, confidence, and courage you need to have success on your own terms. Get the free eCourse "5 Steps to Turn Fear Into Freedom" at her website

Get the latest word on personal finances from an LGBT perspective and Paula's practical coach approach to the topic at Queercents http://www.queercents.com.

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