Stop Robbing Peter to Pay Paul

For most people money is a finite resource, which means there’s only so much money to go around. When this is your reality the biggest challenge you have is how to allocate the funds you have to cover all your spending. That is, of course, unless you’re like a few of my friends who seem to have a money tree…

Many households and businesses spend laborious hours pouring over their bills and juggling how much they owe in order to try and reallocate money to keep people happy. In this midst of this financial conjuring they often use slight of hand to rob Peter to pay Paul. What does this look like – taking money that was intended for a specific purpose to redirect it somewhere else. This is quite simply solving a problem in a way that makes another problem worse. The result is two headaches instead of one.

It’s believed the old saying “rob Peter to pay Paul” comes from pointless avoidance of the payment of taxes. Why pointless? Any avoidance of tax quickly catches up with you! As you may possibly relate, your avoidance of several bills in preference for others has consequences; the neglected party is never silent.

The cause of this problem is deeply rooted in deception. Just as telling lies leads to more lies, distortion of the truth to fabricate financial stability is forgery that pays ill dividends.

I’ve found in my own life that avoiding the truth (defined by reality) leads me to a place I refer to as ‘La-La Land’. This is a world where nothing I do ever makes sense, one bad decision leads to another, but most seriously, consequences escalate from bad to worse, often ending up at ugly. ‘La-La Land’ is a place where you think you can survive outside of normal operating principles, you think you’re above the rules everyone else has to play by and you deceive yourself that you are in control. Truth be told, when you’re in this space you’re riding a snowball down a steep slope picking up speed and heading towards a collision that will cause seismic tremors which will be felt far and wide.

If you’re living in ‘La-La Land’ you’ve got to get out of there as soon as you can. The longer you stay there the worse the consequences will be and the longer they will last.

To exit ‘La-La Land’ you have to face the honest truth. You need to be real about your circumstances and face up to the fiction. Take stock of your situation and get help to adjust your behaviour. Once behaviour is adjusted you’ll find yourself on a different path.

When you fudge numbers to rob Peter you’re only robbing yourself. A poorly prepared plan will lead you to frustration, broken dreams and endless disappointment. A carefully prepared plan that’s got sensible boundaries will allow you to pay both Peter and Paul, keeping everybody happy. Most importantly, you’ll feel like you have a money tree of your own.

Posted in Financial Education, Goal setting

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