I’ve seen a lot of press lately about the state of the economy and who we should blame for the current economic situation. I’ve read that the fault lies with just about everyone – the government, the banking system, greedy executives, home-buyers who over-reached, predatory lenders, etc.
And while finding fault is helpful because you can get to the root of the problem and try to solve it, at some point, you just have to move on. You work to fix the problem, or in this case, let those people with more power and skill work on the problem, and you just forge ahead.
We’re all angry or upset or frustrated by what has happened, and those are very valid emotions. But as of late, I have seen a lot of people complaining and blaming, and not a lot of people doing anything to improve their situation or the situations of others.
Admittedly, this is a pet peeve of mine. I understand the need to complain. Sometimes you just need to vent, and the current economic situation is definitely vent-worthy. But in my opinion, you also need to do something to fix the problem. If you’re working to fix things and still complaining, well okay. You need to vent. (Perhaps you should try to talk about other things, but I get it.) However, if you complain but do nothing to help improve the situation, I feel like you no longer get to complain.
But this situation is so big! What can you do to help?
Well, you can improve your current situation. If you’re out of a job, make sure you’re looking in every place possible (if you’re reading this blog, however, I’m sure you’re doing that – it’s the people out of work who sit on their couches watching tv and waiting for a job to fall in their laps that are the problem). If you’re worried about your job, prove to your boss that you’re an integral part of your company. And make sure your resume is up to date, just in case. If you’re worried about your bills or about saving for the future, see where you can cut back your spending. Even an extra $5 a month can add up. (Don’t cut back too much, of course. You should always make sure that you have a little bit of money for fun, even if it’s just for pizza and a DVD rental once a month.)
So I think it’s time we stop playing the blame game. Stop blaming and start doing.
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.