There Is No Easy Button

Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty. Proverbs 21:5 NLT

Staples had a famous ad campaign a few years ago promoting the “Easy Button”. Just push the “Easy Button”, and Staples would solve all your problems. They even sold the little red buttons in their stores.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was an easy button for life? Push the button and all our debts would just disappear. Poof!! Push a button and all our relationships would be outstanding! Push a button and all those excess pounds would just disappear!!

Well, unfortunately, life doesn’t come with an easy button. Life can be hard sometimes. Building good relationships requires work and effort. Losing weight and getting into shape takes a lot of effort and sacrifice. I need to be diligent in what I eat and work out even when I don’t feel like it. While many things in life aren’t easy, if we are diligent the end result will be worth all the effort.

Managing our finances and getting out of debt certainly falls into this category. It isn’t easy getting out of debt. It requires discipline and sacrifice. Saving to have a comfortable retirement requires years of diligent, consistent saving.  Doing a budget isn’t fun (at least not for most people), but as I referenced in an earlier post (How To Turn Dreams Into Realities) the budget is a planning tool that can enable us to pursue our dreams.

Many people though prefer the “Easy Button”.

“My retirement plan is the lottery, because someone has to be a winner, right?”

“That guy I work with… his uncle’s, wife’s, cousin’s friend has inside information on this new company. That stock is going to go out of sight.”

” I saw this infomercial on cable the other night when I couldn’t sleep. According to it I can make millions buying real estate, and I don’t even have to put a penny down.”

“I saw this ad where I can stuff envelopes at home for 3 hours a week and get paid $100,000 a year!!”

You name it, there is a get rich quick scheme promising to solve all your financal woes with little or no effort on your part. In Proverbs, Solomon tells us that hasty shortcuts lead to poverty. If you spend your life chasing the latest get rich quick scheme, you’ll most likely find yourself in the poor house. Generally speaking, the only people who get rich off these schemes are the people promoting them. There’s another old saying that isn’t found in Proverbs, but it certainly could be: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

In his book The Millionaire Next Door, Thomas Stanley notes that 80% of America’s millionaires are first generation rich. That means they started with nothing and became millionaires. Now a few of those folks may be great athletes or celebrities, but the premise of Stanley’s study is that the vast majority of those folks are just everyday folks like your next door neighbor. In fact, you likely would not even guess they are millionaires. What is their secret? Well, one of them is following exactly what Solomon advises here in Proverbs. Steady, diligent planning and hard work over a long period of time.

Now certainly there are a few people that pursue get rich quick schemes simply because they are lazy, but I think by far the majority of people that fall for these schemes simply lack  hope. They see no light at the end of the tunnel. They don’t really know how to get out of the hole they are in. Many times they have never really had anyone come along side and teach them how to manage their money. In their heart they know that they probably won’t win the lottery, but they think someone has to win, and they don’t see how else they’ll ever get ahead, so they go buy their ticket.

Part of what I’m hoping to spread here is a little hope. If you are looking for that next “secret of the rich”, the sure fire get rich quick idea, then as Solomon stated you are going to find poverty.  But the diligent, the planners, the hard workers, the patient, those who are paying attention, those who are constantly looking to learn and improve themselves, they will succeed. Will it be quick? No. Will it be difficult, require some sacrifice in the short term? Absolutely. Will you become a millionaire? I don’t know, maybe, maybe not. But you can have hope that each day you are getting a little healthier than you were the day before.

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