Getting even is not enough

Roger Schlesinger
Posted: Aug 10, 2006 11:27 AM

When I was a young man with a young and growing family, I had dug a hole financially that had me so far down I felt that if I could ever get even that would be Nirvana.

In fact, as a result, I had developed a belief that you came on the earth even, you dug a hole, and when you got back to even, that was it. (Probably not the most optimistic thought I ever had but I was pretty far down.)

Eventually, I got whole again and then realized that even is not enough. Even isn't in our makeup. No one goes to a game and is happy that it ended in a tie. When people gamble, getting their money back is nice but it’s not exactly what they had in mind. You don't invest to break even nor do you run a business that shows no profit or loss, unless it is a non profit organization. Everyone wants to win!

What steps can you take to make sure you are moving ahead at all times?

1. Empower yourself, make the final decision. Even if you agree with me entirely give the final word and own your decision.

2. Review and revise periodically. Everything changes and so must you.

3. Two steps to a goal is okay. Financial survival trumps everything else, but once you are stable, re-think your position and react. You may have had to go to a 40 year variable rate loan to survive but that doesn't preclude you from refinancing to a 15 year fixed when you are ready.

4. Don't forget to maintain your reserves. Everything that is adverse usually can be negated by sufficient liquid reserves. A minimum of three months with six months to a year being optimum.

5. Press your advantage. If economic times are right, use leverage to enhance your financial position. When the times aren't, pull back and act defensively. Interest rates in the real estate market are generally the key to watch.

The final piece of the puzzle is your attitude. You are what you think and positive thinking will make a major difference. When I was down and hurting financially, positive wasn't in my vocabulary. Once I realized that negative didn't help, I changed my outlook, stopped digging, and started filling up the hole. Not long after I saw daylight and have never looked back.

Set your goals high and shoot for the moon. If you miss, keep shooting, as a wise man once said, for if you even do miss, you’ll land among the stars!