Don’t Fence Me In v Knowing Your Limitations

April 27, 2020

“Do you feel lucky punk?”  ”Marvelous!”  “Go ahead, make my day.” Some of you immediately recognize these as a few of the most repeated quotes from the Dirty Harry series of movies featuring San Francisco PD Detective Callahan as starred by Clint Eastwood.  One of my favorite quotes is from Magnum Force, the second of the series released in 1973.  “A mans got to know his limitations.”  Why you say?  When you know your limitations, you know how far you can go.  When you know your limitations, you know much effort you can expend.  When you know your limitations, you know what you know and don’t know.  And here it comes….. When you know your limitations, you know how much you can spend!

Alexander Rossi wins the 100th running of the Indy 500 because he knew how far he could go.  Great Britain’s Chris Froome has won 4 Tour De France events because he knew how much effort he could expend.  The lab tests undertaken by Froome show the 30-year-old has a peak power of 525 watts, and sustained power between 20-40 minutes, of 419 watts. At his 2015 Tour weight, Froome’s watts-per-kilogram would be 6.25w/kg.  Just how geeky is that?  When Bill Gates realized what he did not know, he sought life changing mentorship from Warren Buffett and transcended from a coding genius and corporate mogul to a global thought leader and an exemplary philanthropist.  So yes…. Being in touch with and understanding your limitations is critical to high level achievement.

So here is the limitation MiYOBu (Mind your Own Business) wants to focus on.  How much should you spend and on what?  This is beginning to sound like a budget conversation so let’s just call it like we see it.  A well-structured budget allows you to see, feel and execute a strategy to successfully navigate the gravitational pull constantly dragging down an unstructured spending framework.  Without a budget/spending plan you will be tempted by mortgage companies, auto lessors, credit card companies, retailers, friends and your own ego.  These are the monetary gravity creators pulling you away from a financial life that matches your personal values.  When you have a budget, you know how far you can go. When you have a budget, you know how much you can spend.  When you have a budget, you know when you cannot spend.  When you have a budget, it is easier to say no to temptations.  Most importantly, when you have a budget, you become less stressed.

The goal here is not to give you the constructs of a good budget, but to help you come to the realization that a budget with well-crafted limits is uplifting not stifling.   A good budget offers flexibility and gives you control over your choices.  Yes, your spending is all a series of your choices.  I am reminded of a sermon at Orchard Park Presbyterian Church many years ago delivered by our associate pastor, Mike Ireland.  In the sermon he shared an example of two school playgrounds adjacent to a busy road.  One playground had a fence while the other was wide open.  Driving by those playgrounds on the way to church on Sunday the unfenced playground appeared so much more open and inviting.  Monday morning on the way to his office he noticed driving by the unfenced playground the children were playing away from the road, gathering in the center of the space it seemed quite crowded.  Continuing his drive by the fenced in playground the children were utilizing the entire space as they could comfortably play up to the edges of the fence.  The fence dramatically increased the amount of functional space allowing much more room for all the kids and their activities.  Knowing your financial limitations is like that playground fence.   

It’s Time: to explore where you can start to create a great budget.

Your Assignment is to google “how to start a budget” and read at least 3 different posts.  The seven sites shown above are some of the leaders in budget resourcing including several apps.  MiYOBu recommends a physical budget and you can download a free template at Vertex’s site.   Need more help or not sure where to start.  Give me a call.

BTW:   Prior to the Covid Relief CARE act the 2020 U.S. Budget was $24,574 per person and the anticipated deficit was to be $3,277 per person.  Your federal government planned to spend 13% more money than they planned to take from you.  The national debt is $69,000 per capita (not per family – per person) equaling $22,700,000,000,000.

CURIOSITY CURATION CORNER:  Below are links to some reads or videos I find worth sharing.  “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”  – Walt Disney

Convos with Kids : Financial advisor Justin Castelli Talks Finance and Covid with His sons while being their new barber.  What are you talking with your kids about?

24 Character Strengths : Poke around this site for a while and enhance your perspective

Positive Psychology : TED Talk – Don’t just reduce negativity…. Create positivity

Go magnify your Values.

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