On Financial Responsibility and Monetary Priorities

by Bill on December 23, 2011

Are you financially responsible or are the monetary priorities in the right order? This is an odd question I know. And I’m not here to pass judgment, nor to tout a certain way to live with your money. Ok, as you will see me often do – here’s an example of what I’m looking at; and what got me to write this post.

Over the past year I’ve gotten to know a family well. They live on limited income. Have three dogs, two outside and one inside. None of the dogs are fixed. The shots are out of date, if they were administered. Four months ago both outside dogs got pregnant, by the same Boxer within a week of each other. The family says it had paperwork to help pay the cost of getting the dogs fixed but never got to it.

Fast forward four months to December. The family receives a lump sum check for $3,000. Out of nine puppies from two litters (remember the two mothers), five remain. Still no shots are administered or vet visits scheduled. Now, these guys claim to have lots of stuff to get – such as Christmas presents and fixing stuff around the house and a car. Money goes out, the family spends near $150 at Kmart for videos. I was there when they bought them. The family buys new shoes, socks and clothes; not at Kmart but at a sportswear store where prices are twice as high.

Fast forward again two more weeks. Of the five pups remaining, one got sent to another home, three become deathly sick. No effort is made to get them to the vet. They’re given vitamin water and antibiotics that the family had. Presents for Christmas are bought and the family claims to be tight on money which needs to go for bills.

Fast forward up to two days ago. One of the sick puppies is sent to the same apartment building where the last pup was sent, and then recovers as the other pup gets sick. One puppy dies Wednesday night with the other passing the following morning. No attempts to are made to ensure the one remaining healthy puppy still here is vaccinated or sees a vet because they’re waiting for January’s check.

Where’s the money for the car? Where’s the money saved up? How many expensive gifts did they buy for people?

Now, to vaccinate a puppy around here costs roughly $65 for a vet visit and distemper and rabies. That allows the dog basic vaccines for a few weeks until the booster shots are needed. So the can’t afford even that to ensure one puppy doesn’t become sick?

Simple solution – return some gifts for less expensive items. Save some money for emergencies.

This is why I advise people to have a 3:3:4 budget ratio. This is exactly why I cannot understand why monetary priorities are not taught in school. Budgeting needs to be learned. Financial responsibility is a prerequisite for sustainable living these days.

How are financial priorities a part of your life? How much do they matter to you and your family?

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Lynn December 26, 2011 at 11:28 pm

This is such an excellent example of what happens to money when it doesn’t have a specific purpose! Those folks need to take the Dave Ramsey course….seriously. Perhaps you can lead them to it? Public libraries often carry his books.

Bill December 29, 2011 at 3:28 pm

The problem with the family in the example (and so many others) is not that they don’t have the knowledge, but just don’t want the knowledge. Stupidity is the lack of knowledge (where Dave Ramsey and others could help); Ignorance is the unwillingness to use the knowledge you know is out there.

Jana January 3, 2012 at 5:37 pm

I don’t think this has as much to do with financial irresponsibility as it does with sheer ignorance about everything. They lack the knowledge to manage their money. They lack the knowledge to be responsible pet owners. They lack the knowledge to understand consequences.

These people are a clear example of how lack of knowledge can be dangerous.
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Bill January 3, 2012 at 9:32 pm

Hey Jana thanks for stopping by! Yeah the lack of knowledge is rather blatant with the people I use for examples. I honestly believe there is a level of ignorance where they just do not want the knowledge even though they are aware it exists and can help them.

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