Making smart, financially responsible decisions is an important part of creating good health, balance, lowering stress levels, and solidifying financial futures. This life credit lesson story is focused on “living within your means,” and unfortunately for many individuals is easier said than done.
The pictured brown 1970 Ford-250 4x4 truck turned 50 years old in 2020 and represents the only credit decision mistake of my parents’ past. You see, in 1970, my young, newlywed parents were just 20 years old and, on a whim, purchased this brand-new truck from Anderson Ford in Brigham City, Utah, without having the appropriate means to fully cover the payment on an ongoing basis. This situation pushed them to “live beyond their means” and was a life lesson never to be repeated as they struggled for a while to cover the payment. Fortunately, with help from family and hard work, they made the payments and kept the truck. However, the “live within your means” lesson was forever ingrained into our family’s way of life.
Fifty years later, I am grateful for my parents’ struggle because I was taught young to be fiscally responsible, and in 1991, I inherited this old truck, and it is one of my most favorite possessions. As Suze Orman has said, “Live below your means but within your needs.” This concept allows us to use credit wisely when needed but not at the risk and potential expense of our financial futures.
“Live below your means but within your needs.
Credit, if used responsibly, is a great tool allowing us to stretch for those most important life purchases. Understanding our own debt to income levels and maintaining good credit helps us create appropriate boundaries, provides peace of mind, and, if correctly planned, a safe landing if disaster unfortunately strikes. Bottom line - if you are currently living beyond your means: stop now, make a budget, save, spend less, check your credit score, and get back on track.