do you need a bailout?

Meer-cat
photo credit: GreyHobbit

“I am never going to get ahead in this economy unless I get a bailout like all of these companies.” – overheard at work

The news seems to get worse and worse. The casual mention of billions to this corporation and billions to that one can skew your perceptions of what the money is worth, and how our society rewards risk and conservatism.  Companies that took unreasonable gambles are saved (but some aren’t).  People who took out safe mortgages with sizable down payments watch others who leapt into mortgages they couldn’t afford for houses they didn’t need get assistance.  401(k)s and IRAs collapse while executives get golden parachutes.  The times make it easy to despair:  playing by the rules won’t get you anywhere.

I feel the despair personally – my retirement accounts have been blasted. I’ve been laid off.  I’m looking at a horrible job market in a struggling industry.  And the most negative influence has been working in the corporate headquarters of one of the companies mentioned almost daily in the “bad financial sector news” section of your local paper.  Positivity has been at a minimum.  Layoffs and insincere cheery messages from the CEO about the company’s employees – apparently the best and brightest in the industry, just like the other 5 companies who’ve been my clients in the last 5 years have said about their employees  – put a grimace on my  face, too.

Yet I am amazed at the idea that “a bailout” can help an individual conquer their bad habits. Sure, a bailout can help you in the short term.  If you’re heavily in debt, having someone throw you a few hundred bucks right before Christmas can help you keep the lights on, but once that money’s spent – where are you?  If the bailout’s applied to a debt, great, but how many times can you go back to that person for another bailout?

Here’s a secret:  YOU are your own bailout.  Only YOU can fix YOUR problems.

I’m not saying you can’t have supportive family or friends, or use some help from informative blogs or books. It all helps.  But without YOUR committed effort you’ll never fix your problems.

If you think someone is going to pay off your debt, or lose your weight for you, or fix your crappy job for you… you’re wrong. Only you can do it.  Sure, there are people who win the lottery, but if you want to play those odds you’re wasting time reading blogs on the internet – go get your ticket.  Hard work and positivity on YOUR part will pay off that debt.  Focus and discipline will help you lose weight.  Networking, acquiring new skills and focusing on what you really want to achieve will make that crappy job a memory.

If you want to wait for a bailout, go ahead and wait… but for truly successful people, a bailout’s not coming – and not needed.

26 comments

  • I think a lot of this goes back to that poor person's mentality of “woe is me.” It's easy to shirk responsibility and blame the big, bad corporations when stuff like this happens. I hear this kind of stuff too, and it drives me nuts.

  • Not only do I overhear stuff like this at work, but I work directly with people who whine to me about needing a bailout. The sad thing is, since I know about these people and their lives, I know that nothing has changed from six months, a year, or even two years ago, yet they act like suddenly things are tough.

    They still have their job. They are still making the same fixed mortgage payment they have been making for years, and most don't have any additional debt to speak of. Yet somehow, since everyone else is talking about how bad it is, and how the media says things are so terrible, they get into this mindset that they are in bad shape as well. I can pull up their numbers and show them that aside from their investments being down, they have even more money coming in now than they did just a year ago. But their attitude is sour just because that's what everyone is talking about.

    So, then I ask why they need a bailout, and the answers are usually something along the lines of, “well, so and so is getting one, or this company gets one, so I need one.” It has nothing to do with their actual situation, but they feel they deserve one anyway. I guess that's only natural. I wish I had some free money coming my way too.

    But like you said, for those that already have bad habits, throwing money at the problem won't do any good. It might pay an extra bill or delay something another month, but until you tackle the root of the problem, nothing will be changed. Just look at all the people who receive an inheritance or win the lottery or something, and you hear about them being bankrupt a few years later. Money doesn't fix everything.

  • Excellent post! Hopefully it will help people realize that they have to manage their time and money properly and there is no magic do-over button. Now if they really want to be bailed out of their mistakes, they just need to make it as a CEO or own a company the government will help bailout. Makes the hard work getting there worth it, right? =D

  • Well said. And love the picture.

  • Agree, it's all up to the individual. One positive outlook to a struggling economy is the power to learn new skills. Because companies are cutting costs, they may be asking their employees to learn basic skills in other areas so they can help perform. This can be the tool for someone to bail themselves out. By learning new skills, you become more competitive in the market place. Whatever the goal is like you mentioned, job, money, weight loss, etc. It's all about becoming becoming educated in what you want and working hard to achieve it.

    Craig
    http://www.budgetpulse.com

  • guinness416

    Given the photo, this post should have been titled I CAN HAZ BAILOUT?

    • I think we are living in a time where everyone wants to receive, but few want to be responsible for themselves and make their OWN bailout.

      I have one popular post on my blog about stimulus checks – it has received over 200 comments – and most of them are all about “i need a bailout” or “the government owes me” or “these big bad companies are getting money, I should too!”.

      it seems that no one wants to become more responsible, set up a plan for their own future, and work hard to make things better. they want someone else to solve their problem for them.. Ugh.

  • Fantastic post, and dead on. Unfortunately, too many people still want another stimulus check or a personal bailout – not comprehending how it all works. Every time I mention it on my site, I get people screaming at me because they want a stimulus check. They have no idea that they will have to pay it back eventually, even if some of these corporations won't. You are so right – you have to be your own bailout, as $1000 in the mail is not really going to change anyone's financial health for longer than a few days. Advance planning is the only way to be “secure”. Great post as usual.

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  • “Hard work and positivity” ? Oh right, because that's exactly the route all the bailout banks and car companies and mortgage companies — and all their greedy sociopath CEO's — took to arrive where we are today. And we musn't forget about the positively hard working government either! No scheming going on there either.

    If success is measured in dollars, as it is in a capitalist society, then “truly successful people” (see above list) will indeed get a bailout — paid for by YOUR hard work and positivity!

    • True, JUngle, the companies getting the bailouts didn't get the bailouts because they deserved it, or because they were such great corporate citizens. My point was just that you aren't going to get a bailout – at least under our current administration, the corporations are getting all the help and citizens are getting none. OUR only real hope is hard work and positivity, and hoping that the campaign promises of change weren't empty (but I'll believe it when I see it).

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  • What a novel concept – take responsibility for your own actions. I agree that this can, and does, apply to any situation that you can think of.

  • i like the concept you post

  • I have a family member who is looking towards me for a bailout of some sort. Not a “if not done now, I'll go into the streets” kind of bailout, but something that would very much better his standard of living.

    I think I'll forward this gem of an article to him.

  • I have a family member who is looking towards me for a bailout of some sort. Not a “if not done now, I'll go into the streets” kind of bailout, but something that would very much better his standard of living.

    I think I'll forward this gem of an article to him.

  • Why should the tax payer that has debt to the banks that took taxpayer bailout money have to pay it back ? We borrowed from all these banks that got taxpayer bailout money wether it be credit cards, or other types of loans now the same banks are borrowing back from us the taxpayer.Maybe the banks can call a debt relief agentcy so we can get our money back.

  • If that's true then why did all these failed companies get bailouts..?????

  • If that's true then why did all these failed companies get bailouts..?????