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Surviving Life

Updated on December 17, 2011

Life is a Puzzle

Each and everyone of us are involved in a very complex puzzle that is called life. With each decision that we make another piece of the puzzle is added. The picture that is seen at any given time in our life is a result of the decisions we've made over time. In this Hub I would like to challenge some of the ways we typically put our lives together so that our picture will end up being what we desire.

It seems that many people are trapped by the circumstances of their lives instead of being in control of their life. There is one are where many will find themselves running in circles and that is in the area of debt. So many people are trapped in a lifelong process of paying bills. Even when they get a bill paid off another one will be created taking the prior ones place.

It seems that it doesn't really matter how educated a person is or the amount of their salary they have to keep working so they can pay a mortgage, make payments on a car, raise children, go on vacations, and put money away for retirement. Because of the cost associated with the items just mentioned and the way we handle these items prevent most Americans from ever really getting ahead. However, what we must realize is that we can change the cycle and we can get ahead if we put the pieces of the puzzle together properly.

Stop and think about some very common things. Many teens when they are in High School have great plans for their lives. However, to have money they get a job while they go through school, I know I did. But what many don't consider is the number of people who stay in the same line of work that they become familiar with.

My story is that during my Junior year in High School I got a job as a "Box Boy" with a major grocery chain. It was a union job and even though this was the late 70's I was making over $7.00 per hour. This was nearly three times minimum wage. It was a good job and even if I would have stayed in this line of work I could have made a decent wage.

I unknowingly made a very smart decision when I was about 20 years old. I notice how the long timers had to come in every week and see what hours they worked the next week. Those hours changed each week and some time around January and February they would lay off a lot of people. I realized that I didn't want to have that type of lifestyle so I looked for an alternative as a career.

My point here is that so many people end up in a career they really didn't plan for. If that is you, why are you still there? Just because it is easy or that it works is no reason to spend your life doing something you don't want to do. You only live once you should make a plan to change your career and get into what you would enjoy doing.

I read a statistic not too long ago that stated 80% of college graduates are not working in the field of their discipline. Wow! They went to school four to six years and they are not even doing what they were trained to do. I recently had two friends of my daughter in my office who stopped by for a chat. They are both in college and I was asking them what they planned to do. Neither one had a clear direction of where they were going. They were taking classes, changing classes, and had no clue why. One was going to a university and living on campus racking up some major bills. Why? Why do we think that college is a must for everyone. It's not.

There are basically three types of education. The first is academic where we learn the basics. Everyone needs to learn how to read, write, do math, and get a general education so they can talk intelligently. The basics are necessary! The second type of education is professional. Not everyone needs this. If you are going to enter a field where professional education is needed then this is a good thing, but going to college to be able to say you have a degree and a major debt is absolutely stupid. The third type of education financial and very few people pursue this type of education, but it is very necessary in life.

As we put our life together, too often we make decisions just because that's what everyone does. The pursuit of many is to get a good job. They want to work for money. Why not? That's what everyone else is doing. However, the major difference between those who have and those who just get by is the difference between working for money and money working for them.

When you work for money you trade time for dollars. Maybe you get $10 an hour or $3,000 per month salary it doesn't matter because what you are doing is trading your time for money. Once you get locked into your career it is really difficult to every get ahead because you only have 24 hours a day. There are a limited number of hours you can work and once you reach that threshold you are tapped out. The only other alternative is to increase the amount per hour, week, or month that you make. In other words try to increase the value of the time that you are trading for a paycheck.

While that sounds good, the reality is a job has a predefined value and you typically can't increase this value enough to make a major difference in your life. The next problem with trading time for money is that the government is going to get first grab at your hard earned money. Most people don't think about the impact that taxes has on their lives. Most people pay more in taxes then they do for food and clothes combined during the year. Taxation is a major impact in your financial life and because we don't think about it we don't make the necessary steps to reduce the amount of taxes we pay.

So how do we make life work?  The easiest way is to look at those who life is working for them and immolate what they are doing.  You won't find highly successful people working for other people.  They go into business for themselves because the rules of the rich were written around business ownership. There are many benefits to working for yourself, but some of the major benefits is that you control your money.  You get your money before the government taxes it therefore you have control over how much taxes you pay.  By educating yourself in this area you learn how to work within the rules and do it where it benefits you.

You will also find that highly successful people invest in themselves.  They are constantly learning.  One of the ways they are learning is by reading but they are not reading novels.  They are educating themselves.  

They also pay themselves first.  They will typically set 10% or more aside to secure their financial future and they use their money to acquire assets that create income.  This is how you get money to work for you.

So how does one successfully navigate through life?  They educate themselves and take control of what they are doing instead of ending up at a destination because of a series of circumstances.  Take control of your life instead of letting life control you!


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    • eovery profile image

      eovery 7 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

      I have found the only way to get an increase is to keep looking for a new job, and if they want you, they have to pay more than the last job. If you sit around getting the inflationary pay increase, you will eventually fall behind.

      Keep on hubbing!