Last week I had a client ask, ”what do you think caused the recession?” What a lead in for letting me get on my soapbox—it’s the exact reason I’m writing this blog!
I’ve been a CPA long enough to remember other recessions and our reactions to them. When we’re in thick of it, we bemoan our fate, think deeply about what they did wrong and swear we’ll never be so stupid again. During the energy crisis of the 70s when we were shocked by rising energy costs, we switched to the smallest cars possible, turned off our lights and even gave up daily light savings time to cut our energy usage.
Thirty years later, the giant gas-guzzlers we drive are a testament to our escalating energy consumption. Likewise, we forgot the real estate crisis of the early 90’s and once again bought bigger and bigger properties and drove up prices and mortgages. We knew we were heading for trouble, but closed our eyes, held our noses and jumped anyway.
Why do I think this happened again? Because we never take the time to really talk about money or to examine the beliefs behind our behaviors. It’s much easier to make a few mechanical changes, keep on moving and hope it doesn’t happen again. But little by little, the troublesome behaviors return because we never really understood why we got there in the first place.
We will get out of this recession. But, if we don’t want to end up back here again (next time in worse shape), we must talk about more than the mechanics of money. We need to really understand the money beliefs that drive our own financial choices. Because once we start living our true beliefs, the world will shift around us.
It’s not about them, it’s about us. Living our own examined beliefs will straighten out the world’s finances. Because really—is accumulating more and more and buying bigger and bigger things really what’s important to us?
I could go on and on… What do you think?