Redefining the Financial Definition of Broke

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It is 2011 and the economy is still suffering. Budgets are being tightened, financial wells are drying up, and the term ‘I’m broke’, is being used more and more. There are families and individuals experiencing hardships requiring them to decide whether to spend their few dollars on dinner or a place to stay for the night. Then there are individuals using the term ‘broke’ – and it should not even been a part of their vocabulary.

There are individuals screaming they are broke because they cannot buy a $15 movie ticket or buy their children $30 ‘all you can ride’ wristbands at the fair. These individuals need to realize they are not broke, but just cannot afford to indulge in the day to day luxuries they have become accustomed to. ‘I’m broke’ is used loosely as a saying to express lack of or no money in response to a situation requiring money. But ‘broke’ needs to be termed as not being able to afford one’s basic needs (i.e. food, clothing, shelter), and should not be in reference to not being able to afford one’s wants. Needs versus wants, if not chosen wisely, can lead to an individual being broke.

No longer referring to yourself as ‘broke’ and coming to terms as to what it should really mean can alleviate stress and worries. When an individual properly prioritize their lives, by placing their basic needs above their wants, the fear of not surviving the remainder of the month will be relieved. Again, this is speaking of those individuals that confuses their wants with their needs and not of those that are actually experiencing hardship.

This is not a concept that can be accepted over night – especially by those individuals that are materialistic and have image or status issues. It is something that a majority of individuals need to do, but are not willing to face. The term ‘broke’ is a self-esteem burden when referred to ourselves, the same way any negative label can hurt one’s self-esteem. But once the labels are removed, the situation is accepted for what it is, only then is it possible to work to improve things for the better.


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