Looking for entertainment? Try riding a New York City subway. No, not because mariachi bands, break dancers, barbershop quartets and accordion players subject us to their “talents.” The subway provides ample opportunity to eavesdrop on people’s conversations. Luckily for me, people love to bemoan about their financial situations. While I keep my nose buried in a book, probably about money, I listen in on people coming up with the worst excuses about handling money and all I can do is roll my eyes. Here are some of my favorites.
1) It’s too confusing to set up a 401k.
Yes, setting up a 401k is confusing. Even though I enjoy the process of learning about money and investments, I still felt quite baffled about my 401k. Sure, we don’t all have financially savvy parents to hold our hands, but I bet your company offers a person you can turn to for some help. If not, perhaps a friend or co-worker could outline some of the basics. Or, just maybe, you could read up on the subject. If your company matches your 401k contributions, then you are throwing away money by being too lazy to set up your account.
2) I don’t make enough money to save any.
To feel financially stable, you must become one with the art of saving money. The earlier you develop the habit, the better off you’ll be in the long run. If you have debt it’s still important to create the habit of saving money, especially for immediate expenses. Even if you’re just saving $5 per paycheck at first, you’ll be creating a habit that will benefit you for the rest of your life. [Insert emergency fund debate here.]
3) I just don’t like dealing with money.
Few things reduce me to a Liz Lemon level eye roll quicker (yup, recycling that reference) than someone saying “I don’t like dealing with money.” Guess, what?! It doesn’t matter. You’re going to have to deal with money if you’d like to be an independent, well-adjusted member of society. Raphael Fellmer, the German man on a money strike, still has to use currency for health care, transportation and to feed his child (or at least his wife does). I also question the “well-adjusted member of society” part for anyone who is pulling an Into the Wild type moment.
4) My parents cut me off and I can’t find a job.
Oh. No. You. Didn’t.
If your parents cut you off then you were probably suckling at the parental welfare teet for far too long to begin with. As a girl who worked at Starbucks after graduating college, I have little sympathy for anyone who claims to be unable to find a job. You can find A job, just perhaps not THE job. A college degree, or fancy pedigree, doesn’t entitle you to anything. If you need money then find employment, any (legal) employment.
5) Damn, I got an overdraft charge!
This one goes beyond eye rolling. I usually have to clench my jaw to keep myself from screaming WHYYYYYY?! An overdraft charge is the byproduct of financial apathy. If you sense you’re close to zeroing out your bank account then download your bank’s smartphone app so you can check your balance before making a withdraw. Don’t have a smartphone? Get in the habit of checking your balance on your computer, so you’re aware of how much money you have. Okay, maybe mistakes happen. I’ll give you one pass. After the first overdraft charge, I’m officially judging. And my best friend, TV, taught me how to be a grade-A judgmental….