With it being tax season in the United States, it’s a time to think about how much money we have, or don’t have.

What sucks most about tax time is reflecting on how much money we made over the course of the year, but our bank account doesn’t seem to reflect that amount. It happens every year. We look at our pay stubs and wonder where all our money went.

Unfortunately this is one of those topics that’s an open ended problem.

Everyone says they wish they had more money. Everyone complains about paying taxes because so much of our pay is taken away. If taxes went away and you could save every penny that you brought in, what would you do with it? Would you put it in savings? Probably not, because that’s not what most American’s do. We get an extra dollar in our pocket and feel the need to spend it on something, regardless of what it is.

The more money we have, the more we’ll spend. It’s a proven fact.

This is an American “first-world” problem more than anything because we do over spend and frivolously waste our money. Are there issues with the American tax system? Absolutely. But the bigger issue is not knowing how to manage the money we do have rather than complaining about what we don’t have.

I know I’d have a lot more cash on hand if I didn’t eat pizza as often as I do, but I want to. It makes me happy. Some people get their paycheck then head to the bar to drink themselves into a drunken stupor with nothing left to pay their rent. Some like to flaunt in expensive clothes, jewelry and a fancy sports car. Others gamble their money away. Some just spend because they can. Does this always mean they’re wealthy or have excess money? Nope. They may be dirt poor. Having extra money isn’t always going to solve the problems of someone being broke. It’s just going to allow them to expand on their current vices.

Two simple words: Life Choices

If people made better life choices they’d probably have more money to do as they wish with, but therein lies the problem. If I’m broke because I frivolously spend my entire take home, it’s a good probability I’m going to also frivolously spend any extra money I have. Whether I make ten dollars per week or ten thousand, what I do with I have matters. This is all relative but nobody wants to look at the root cause of their problems. They just want an easy outside solution to solve it and point fingers to place blame on how their problems came to be.

A good example of this is lottery winners who go from nothing to multi-millions then return to being broke in a short period of time. They hope and pray for big money to change their lives. They get it, then they blow it. I always wonder how that happens but in reality I know the answer; it’s a failure to manage finances properly and horrible life choices. But were they happy in doing so? Probably, but they ended up right back where they started.

Life choices play a critical role in how we live our lives.

It’s fun to imagine a life with no car payments, no student loans, no credit card payments or whatever other bills you pay each month, but that’s not what money is about. The choice of addictions are yours, but we make money to spend money. That’s how it works. We all want more money, but if that’s not an option we just have to spend what we have wisely.

When you look at your taxes this year do some self-reflection about where the money went before you start complaining. The answer is probably obvious.

~ Marty ~