The Service Station
Now there’s a bit of a breakdown in the motorway analogy at this point because the service station is where we all need to be FIRST. Yet you can’t get to one unless you’ve been on the motorway itself for a bit.
But that’s like life isn’t it? And our motorway, like real life is the ‘wrong’ way around.
You don’t get any wealth education in this country
Nobody teaches you how to reconcile a bank account or get a mortgage or what investing is like. Yet you are expected to come out of school or university and dive headlong into real financial life with no knowledge or starter kit. At the age of 18 you suddenly get sent credit card invites, insurance quotes and offers of gifts if you open a bank account.
At that stage you have NO IDEA what to do. Each offer comes complete with several pages of small print (thanks to the Financial Services Act) that nobody reads or understands other than the compliance junky who had to write it.
The decisions you make at that stage in your life can affect the rest of your financial life. For instance if you wrack up a standard credit card bill then, it can take almost an entire life to pay it off! Some 30 + years (depending on the interest rate and how much you pay of course), and that’s it – a life of debt in one decision.
Or you open a bank account and that’s it – statistically you are more likely to get divorced than change your bank account because most people think it’s too difficult and tiresome (and it can negatively impact your credit score – more on that one later).
Just one decision and you are stuck, so you had better make it a good one, but we have to make those basic decisions when we are least prepared and least able to make it.
We ought to get a clue from the real motorway here because learner drivers aren’t even allowed to go there without an instructor, and yet our society is perfectly happy to let money learners drive anywhere with no guidance, support or knowledge.
No wonder the average person lives and dies poor in the UK.
So my advice for the real motorway and the financial one is to:
GET YOURSELF TO A SERVICE STATION QUICK!
Not many people admit to liking motorway service stations do they (apart from the people who go there as their hobby, outings and holidays) but you HAVE to go there. Motoring organisations recommend that you stop every hour or so and we all know that’s good advice, and it may actually keep you and your family alive.
What happens at a service station?
- You have a wee
- Get a drink and something to eat
- Switch off from concentrating for a bit and let the kids run around
- You check the car: get petrol, perhaps water, or oil
- Work out how far you have come
- Check the map and the internet screens that tell you about the road ahead
- Plan the next stage of the journey
- You may phone ahead to say you’re late (or early!)
- Buy sweets, and drinks to keep you going
- Get distracted and you end up buying other ‘stuff’ – a director’s chair, a handbag or even a camping set
and then you get back in the car.
The same is true for our wealth motorway. You need to:
- get rid of the stuff that you don’t want and isn’t working
- get replenished with new ideas
- stock up on more education and knowledge
- get a bit of moral (or even financial) support
- work out how far you’ve come
- Find out where you want to go next and how far to get in one more stint
- And what you need in order to get there
- see if there are any blockages in your way and plan around them
- work out if you are on target or ahead or behind
- celebrate and reward yourself
In fact you shouldn’t even leave the service station. Not until you’re absolutely ready and have all the information and support you need.
We also need to acknowledge and adjust our planning. Ask how much have we achieved, how successful has that been, and what’s the objective for the next part of the journey. It’s here that we need to identify what else we need to know and who can help us get there.
It’s also here that we might realise we’ve gone the wrong way and that we need to turn around at the next junction.
But whatever you discover when you take stock like this you need to take action on it. You wouldn’t blindly carry onto to Glasgow if you were heading for Bristol. Yet so many people do this financially. They know it isn’t working for them and they are going nowhere – and even in the wrong direction say into debt, but they do NOTHING and keep going towards it. How mad is that?
The service station is the most important place for your wealth creation. As it’s here that you rebalance your scales of abundance.
Pick up a copy of Gill’s book ‘Solving the Financial Success Puzzle’ and see how you can challenge and change your concepts and belief systems surrounding wealth and how to grow it.