I could be wrong but I think a lot of our debt problems can be traced back to the fairy tales we were read as children. Story after story had someone becoming wealthy and successful without any real effort. This brings me to the first of the two Ms I want to talk about; Magic. The stories made heroes out of people like Jack of Jack and the Beanstalk or Ali of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves who were poor but became wealthy by taking what didn’t belong to them. There were scarcely any bedtime stories that focused on someone working hard and living within their means. Why, because it involves work and discipline. There are a whole slew of modern day fairy tales written and disguised as non-fiction books that encourage us to think that if we think the right thoughts and send out the right vibes that our financial problems will be taken care of by magical forces. The only ones improving their financial situations are the authors of those books. If you ever read one of the best books on personal and wealth development “Think and Grow Rich” you’ll see that everything comes back to taking some kind of action. The title of the book wasn’t “Think, Sit Back and Do Nothing to Grow Rich!”
The other, wiser of the Ms to focus your attention on is Meaningful as in meaningful effort in paying down your debt. The first step in taking meaningful effort in lowering your debt is to first establish what your net worth is and how much debt you have. Most people will resist this because they are afraid of what the results will be. As Susan Jeffers said in her book, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” Keep in mind that it is only a number but we do need it as a starting point. Once you have come to as close to an exact figure as you can, make a chart. The chart doesn’t have to be elaborate. You can even convert a child’s growth chart to a Net Worth chart. Mark on the chart the amount of your current net worth. Your next step is to decide if you’re going to take your next net worth assessment daily, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. I recommend that shorter intervals are more beneficial than longer gaps.
You will see movement in either direction- increased net worth or increased debt load. If your net worth has increased during that interval, congratulations you are making meaningful movement towards financial freedom and should continue with the new practices you’ve adopted. If your net worth has shrunk then you know you’re still focusing on the wrong M. There isn’t any kind of magic that will change your fortune. Stop clicking your heels together, rubbing strange looking lamps or racing to the other end of a rainbow and experience the real magic of meaningful effort.