Our Future is Our Choice

For nearly two years now society has had to deal with an issue that has dramatically altered people’s priorities and perspectives. Entire industries and markets have either disappeared or have been dramatically altered. The changes in some industries have been more than just from restrictions. People’s spending habits have changed because of their change in priorities. Changing spending habits (over time) will dramatically change anyone’s future position and level of stress if the changes achieve the right goal.

I have just walked several dozen clients through the process of closing their corporation/business. They were unvaxed clients and wished to stay that way. Most, if not all, have gone smoothly. Some situations were much more casual than others. In fact, about half of them had very little stress associated with this dramatic change. It had little to do with the political issue; it had almost everything to do with their financial position. They were (and had been living) debt-free. They were not focused on selling a truck to meet the payments. They decided to just park it on their driveway and pay the storage insurance. One client who went to the DMV to secure storage status on his truck was greeted by a teller who said, “another one?” and pointed to a high stack of applications she had been processing.

Living debt-free is a lifestyle too many people just do not think is possible. Imagine not having any credit card payments, no loan payments, no car payments, no truck payments… and yes, no home mortgage payments. The only payments that need to be arranged is insurance and utilities. Imagine one more scenario, having a 3–6 month emergency (living) fund in a savings account (in case of a shutdown or crisis) and an auto replacement fund in cash. So, the cash is already sitting there in the event your existing vehicle(s) need replacement (because say, you were in an accident). What would that be like? What attitude would you have towards your job? Your boss? Your co-workers? Your choices? How much stress would you NOT be carrying?

What work or expenses could you eliminate if you were not tied to a financial institution? For example, I know a company that is debt-free. When they do their year-end tax returns, they don’t need an $8,000 auditor to complete it because they don’t have to report anything to a loans officer. Just imagine… doing what you want, how you want, in a time frame that suits you, not your banker.

In my small sample of drivers who stopped driving Jan 15th, a disproportionate amount of them lived debt-free. They were able to make choices for their personal lives without considering the financial impact. No matter what a person’s view is on this vaccination situation, we must all admit that having the freedom to make a choice without overly considering the financial consequences is very appealing. 

How many things do we all do that we have ‘convinced’ ourselves we have to do? I’m not just talking about productivity at a job we don’t like. I mean, why do I own a new car (or a car for that matter)? If I could, would I live in the same home as I do now? If we had a total ‘do-over’, what would we change? What would we keep and what would we move on from? We are not victims of our circumstances; we are the creators of them. We may have created our ‘now’ but still have control of our future environment. We will only be victims of our prior choices.

The opportunity of a ‘do-over’ is not fairy tales and pixie dust. Given the right motivation, nearly everyone can achieve a debt-free life. It may take years and a deep level of sacrifice, but it can be done. It took me 20+ years of working weeks and weekends but I now benefit from my past sacrifice (and I even started upside down). If someone wants something bad enough, they usually can get it… if they believe they can. One thing I would guarantee… the path will not be straight, and it will not be easy. However, it usually doesn’t take nearly as long as you originally estimated (unless you keep changing your mind halfway through). A lack of focus on the goal is the leading indicator of an unachievable goal. 

Nobody can predict the future. That’s why it’s best to create the future you want on purpose, with intent rather than let circumstances carry you to its destination. We are primarily the victim of our own choices.

About the Author:
Robert D. Scheper is a leading Accountant and Consultant to the Lease/Owner operator industry in Canada. His first book in the Making Your Miles Count series “taxes, taxes, taxes” was released in 2007. His firm exclusively serves Lease/Owner Operators across Canada. His second book “Choosing a Trucking company” is the most in-depth analysis of the operator industry available today. He has a Master’s degree (MBA) in financial management and has been serving the industry since he and his wife came off the road in 1993. His dedication, commitment and strong opinions can be read and heard in many articles and seminars.

You can find him and his books at www.makingyourmilescount.com or 1-877-987-9787. You can also e-mail him at robert@thrconsulting.ca.

About Robert Scheper

Robert D Scheper operates an accounting and consulting firm in Steinbach, Manitoba. He has a Masters Degree in Business Administration and is the author of the Book “Making Your Miles Count: taxes, taxes, taxes” (now available on CD). You can find him at www.thrconsulting.ca and thrconsulting.blogspot.com or at 1-877-987-9787. You can e-mail him at: robert@thrconsulting.ca.