An Open Letter to Working Class Americans

If you could write an open letter to working class Americans regarding their personal finances, what would it say?!

Mar 25, 2024 | Blogs, Podcast

About the Episode

If you could write an open letter to working class Americans regarding their personal finances, what would it say? George G talks about his feelings on open letters and what people who are struggling to get ahead need to hear and start doing. We know you’re gonna love it. 

 

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George Grombacher

George Grombacher

Host

Episode Transcript

An Open Letter to working class. Americans wanted to write an open letter to working class Americans. And I don’t know who needs to hear this. But nobody needs to hear this. Nobody. Nobody needs open letters. working class Americans do not need an open letter and God helped me. If I ever seriously string together, that combination of words, not fucking around, God help me if I ever want to do that. Is there anything? dumber, more dumb, more passive aggressive than an open letter? So obviously, obviously, saying that not going to subject you to my thoughts on what an open letter would be? Or might be. And I know, I know definitively, exactly. Who needs to hear the message that I’m going to express. So instead of saying, who needs to hear this, I just thought I would try this instead. Hey, motherfucker, you’re in credit card debt. You’re living paycheck to paycheck, I am talking to you. And I empathize. My heart goes out to you, because it was me. well documented, talk ad nauseam. Probably super sick of hearing me talk about how dumb I was when it came to money and how I spent a greater part of my 20s making all the bad financial decisions. So I get it. Really easy to do. Like I did it for 10 years. Not only is it easy to do, but you can you can get good at it. I can get good at sucking money. That’s interesting. I can get good at sucking at things. Anyway, so I totally get it. But again, listen, you are currently credit card debt if you currently live in paycheck to paycheck. This is for you, dear listener. And again, I’m coming from a place of love. You know how people say don’t should on people and it’s not good to judge people. Bla bla bla bla bla. Here’s what I say to that. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Money is a lot of things. One thing that is without question truth about money is that it is time sensitive. The longer that we wait to pursue what’s important to us our goals and our objectives to God start working to put money to work for us. The longer it takes for us to do that, the harder it becomes to actually do the things that we’re trying to do. Fast to be get started, the easier it becomes. The hole does tend to plant a tree was 30 years ago. Next best time to plant a tree is today. So now’s the time. Now’s the time. So timely, prescient, all these things. Bought a year ago. I wonder to myself, wondering, what offends me is anything offend me? I’m pretty easygoing guy. Does anything really bother me doesn’t really offend me. And at first, I was like, now, I’m having a really hard time coming up with anything at all. And then, and then the dam broke. Turns out, I’m offended by many, many, many things. Now a good a good self learning good self discovery. And it was also around the time that my oldest son James started playing soccer, and got in the soccer league that I went on to coach another conversation. But the end of the first game at the conclusion of his first game, before I became the coach, everyone got a medal. Literally, every one Winning team, losing team, but just for the record. To make matters worse, his team got smoked, got cleaned up, which led me to go on this diatribe about participation trophies, it just became consumed and offended by participation trophies, knowing that it always thought that they were stupid, but start going down those rabbit holes like cool this is way grosser potentially more nefarious than I ever could have imagined. So you can listen to that episode if you want. I think it’s called the problem with participation trophies. I had to remember correctly but something like that. But like does not have participation trophies. Probably does actually. I, I probably spoke too soon on that I should have entered that into the Google machine bigger out participation trophies for life. To my knowledge, at the time of recording, I am unaware of whether or not there are participation trophies, just for life in general. But what life does have are constant, unending financial struggles. This is the version of participation trophies that I really want to talk about. And this version is also available to everyone. And unwanted by everyone. Yet, with those things true, here we are. Most of us are wearing our participation trophies, like a big red a, on our chests. In this context, it’s like living under a weight, just a constant weight, or a yoke of credit card debt, and grinding out a paycheck to paycheck existence, which is super, super sucky. I mean, credit card debt is the worst. That’s something else that I certainly spend a good amount of time railing against and yelling about. It’s brutal. So that’s the personal finance version of the participation trophy. You’re certainly not winning. You’re really not even competing. I guess you are out there doing something. And more often than not something, it’s working a job that you don’t like, and consuming a bunch of shit that’s just kind of spoon fed to you. There are so many reasons why we struggle, why we aren’t financially successful. I want to list off some of these really pertinent reasons, really hard hitting, entrenched, ingrained reasons that we’re all struggling against reasons like racism, sexism, and xenophobia and privilege and supremacy and inflation and inequity and inequality and hate structural and systemic bias. But the worst one by far is piriformis syndrome. When you believe that those things are the worst things, and believe is the wrong word here, when you embrace those things, as the reasons why you are not where you want to be. You’ve lost, you’re done. You backed yourself into a corner, you folded your cards, you are out of the game, you are a non player character seat, there is just no future in victimhood. And I bet I’m preaching to the choir on that one. But maybe not. There’s no future and victimhood. No future in it. Just in case you’re curious. piriformis syndrome is a condition in which the piriformis muscle located in the buttock region spasms and causes buttock pain. So in other words, it’s the medical term for a pain in the ass. But you didn’t come here for that. I don’t think it’s true, that there is no future in victimhood. But there’s a strong future. And being a survivor. There’s a bright future, and rising from the ashes and overcoming all the shit that life has thrown your way. And I bet it’s thrown a lot of shit your way. Here’s the good news. You are capable of doing incredible things. You’re capable of becoming financially successful and getting the life that you truly want. Here’s something that I know to be true. In order for things to change, something needs to change. And that’s something dear listener is your behavior. So in the spirit of building versus wrecking, here are some reasons to go down a different path. Things can change, your personal finances, your personal financial fortunes can absolutely change. Your life can change. Do you believe me? Yes. No? Has your life ever changed? Has it ever, like ever changed? Has your life changed in the past 10 years, but about the last five years? How about the last three? Is anything in your life changed over the past 12 months?

Of course it has had that the change has been absolutely dramatic. There’s a really wonderful quote about how it’s impossible for a man to walk, step into the same river twice, because it is neither the same man, nor is it the same river, everything changes. So to be proactive, to be constructive to help you with this, instead of just me screaming, achieve change, change, make change, be the change, be the change you want to see in the world. Talk about vapid nonsense except not really, step number one. Step number one, six steps coming your way. Here we go. Step number one, make a decision. Leave tonight, or live and die this way is Tracy Chapman says in her wonderful song, the decision that you must make is the decision to accept ownership of your financial life. I used to not say that, like up until a couple of weeks ago, I would say that I just wouldn’t include that as number one. But now I believe it is number one. As I will say, again, in here, just a couple of minutes from now, there’s never going to be anybody more interested in your financial success than you are. So we must act accordingly. Therefore, if you intend to become to find financial security and get on the path to financial prosperity, step number one is to make the decision to take ownership over your finances to take ownership over your financial life. Sounds easy, does hard. That’s what all this is. Step number two, get $1,000 saved up in an account that is separate from your everyday checking account. This is the beginning of your emergency fund. Okay, so you can’t just have your emergency fund as your everyday checking account, because you’ll spend the money. It’s just the way that it is the way human beings operate the way that I do it. So you need to open up a savings account or a money market account, and just start contributing to it until you get $1,000. Why $1,000 You say? Glad you asked. It’s enough to cover most minor emergencies, card trouble, something like that 1000 bucks, vast majority, Americans couldn’t come up with $500 in case of an emergency, they’d be reliant on credit cards or loved ones, to be able to help them with the cash. That’s not where you want to be. This is the first step. Well, it’s actually the second step, you understand what I’m saying? Step number three, pay yourself first, the golden rule of personal finance, the most important thing that we can do the most important habit we can get ourselves into is pay ourselves to really put ourselves in the interests. And this example, the financial interests of ourselves and our loved ones ahead of everybody else’s, which is exactly where that they were, they should be. If you’re not in the habit of doing this, then you understand that you get to the end of the month, or about two thirds of the way through. And there’s no money leftover, you’ve paid everybody else first. And you’ve hung yourself out and your family out to dry. You took care of everybody else, freight failed to take care of yourself. And that’s okay for a little while. But over the long term, going back to the whole thing about time value of money. Gotta get started. Even if it’s just a little bit, how do you pay yourself first, quickly and briefly, you can enroll in your company’s 401k plan, it’s a perfect way to pay yourself first, because the money goes into your 401 K account before it hits your paycheck. So you automatically pay yourself first you just pick what percentage of your income you want to put into your 401k you don’t have any money, just do 1% Then I don’t care. Just get started. Get in the habit of doing it. That’s what this is all about. Get in the habit of doing this. So pay yourself first. You don’t work at a company that has a 401k Ask them to get a 401k for goodness sakes, or and or open up an IRA an individual retirement account, you can do that any of these wonderful brokerage companies like your bank, like Fidelity like Charles Schwab, there’s plenty of them and just open the account and then set up automatic contributions in the first of the month. So the money will come into your checking account and go directly to fund your IRA. Happy to answer questions on that. Step number four, get one month worth of expenses saved up. So this demands that you understand your cash flow that you understand and keep a budget. So you understand how much your monthly expenses are. Most people have no idea how much they earn, they have even less of an idea how much they spend every month. And that’s a problem. Believe it or not shocking I know that is a problems we have to know these things. So take ownership, get 1000 bucks saved off Pay yourself first. Then get one month worth of your expenses saved up. Step number five, from there, get pissed off and pay off your credit cards come up with a plan, what’s it going to take? This is not super complicated. We have a tendency to really overcomplicate everything, certainly financial stuff. It’s just a function of figure out how much actual credit card debt you have, how many accounts you have, what the minimum mods are, what the annual percentage rate is, all of those things, figure out how much extra money you have. Or then you go through the exercise. If we’re living paycheck to paycheck, we probably don’t have any extra money lying around. We need to figure out how can we find money? How can I cut expenses and stuff like that. And I’ve talked a lot about this and written a lot about what you can do, if we’re trying to get ahead financially, but I don’t have any extra money, all those kinds of things. So if you want to dig deeper into that, you can listen to some past episodes, or check out some of the blog posts I’ve written on that topic. But that is, that is the next step is get pissed off attack your credit card debt. It’s just the worst that prevents us from doing so many things that causes stress and anxiety and follows us around everywhere we go. So it’s really crappy. Once you’ve done that, which could take you a couple of years, I get it. Final step. And our process is to get two months saved up two months with your expenses, then three, and four, wait for it than five. What’s what’s what’s next six. Those words, leave my mouth so easily, they roll right off my tongue, just save 23456 months worth of expenses. But I know how hard that is. I know how long it can take. I know that it can feel and seem like an insurmountable amount of money. And it won’t be easy. The six steps, and I talked about them in like two minutes can take a really long time. But it’s worth it. It’s worth it. Because once you’ve done these things, once you’ve taken ownership, you’ve paid off all your credit cards, you’ve got six months worth of cash, you’ve been paying yourself first. Attention can leave your shoulders. You could take a breath. Because you have financial security, you have financial peace of mind. It’s no guarantees. I’m not guaranteeing that anything is going to happen once you do these things. But you’ve positioned yourself for financial security and financial peace of mind. And then you can now move forward into the pursuit of financial success, prosperity, whatever term you’re interested in using, get rich, I don’t care. But you’ve done that you’ve done so much the heavy lifting, you’ve done so much hard work, and your position for financial success. You can ditch that financial participation trophy and start really competing, moving towards the life that you’re really interested in doing. So, so many wonderful, wonderful, wonderful secondary benefits of doing this as well. Aside from the wonderful benefits that I’ve just shared with you. You’ve developed self confidence for sure. You’ve made plans, you’ve followed through on them. You’re trusting yourself. You’ve you’re developing personal discipline, self discipline, you have belief in yourself. But more importantly, you’ve developed really powerful habits. And maybe you’ve done it as an individual, maybe you’ve done it with your partner, your boyfriend, your girlfriend, your husband, your wife, whatever. That’s awesome. got so many human superpowers, habits, routines, are definitively human superpowers. So much about financial success is about our behaviors. Very little, very little is about your IQ or your intellect or your acumen or know how this is just, it’s the blocking and tackling. It’s just decision making daily decisions. The small little choices we make. That’s that’s what’s going to tell you where you’re going to end up. It will smallest little adjustment one way or another over a long enough period of time will make literally all the difference between you being financially secure in your later years as an older person and you’ve been broke which is pretty heavy. I’m sure you look great and blue. But I don’t think you want to be wearing that

blue vest thing at Walmart and greeting people when they’re coming in. Or collecting shopping carts. Maybe that’s it. Yeah, I don’t want to again, put my judgment on you. Of course you don’t want that. So, purpose. That is. That is why you do what you do. Goals are what you want. Your beliefs are, who you are, your habits. That’s how you do things. If you want to dig into those things, you can do it for free, you can get a copy of the purpose book on my website, money alignment, academy.com, go to the Courses section, go to the purpose book course and get a free download, free and just a PDF of the book. Or you can go buy it, go buy the purpose book on Amazon, too. I’d love it if you did. But that’ll break down all those things. Because I’m not a big fan of just saying just do it. So I broke down, how to figure out what your purpose is, how to set financial goals, how to get really clear on your beliefs and your values, and then how to figure out what habits you need to form and how to actually put them into place. So you’re worthy like you want, you’re even deserving of it. But you’re not entitled to it that my friend requires work. Or you can just say fuck it and hold on to that participation trophy. Friendly reminder again, t’s this minute ago. Never going to be anybody more interested in your financial success than you are. So act accordingly.

 

 

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