The Parental Fiscal Cliff

I take full responsibility.

I am the one who got myself in this situation, which is why I am the one who must get out of it. While support, or a full “bail out” would be welcomed, it would not solve the problem. The only way out is to work and fix the problem from the inside out.

Now, much has been said in the media about our country’s financial problems and the possible resolutions. It seems like the government and I have a lot in common, at least where our “cliffs” are concerned. With Daniel’s appendectomy bills, Ryan’s college costs, and every day living, it has finally all caught up with us. While I recognize my situation is on a much smaller scale than the government’s debt, I believe my approach is the only way that will work, at least for my problem.

Yeah, yeah, so I am a martyr. I would prefer to be called a martyr and get up on my soapbox than to let the creditors win. I have worked too hard to establish my credit and instead of looking for a loan or a hand out, I am literally working to solve my problem. A few months ago, I read Dave Ramsey’s book, The Total Money Makeover, and he states that the way to financial freedom is to eradicate debt. So, after assessing the cliff, I put together a plan to make sure I don’t fall off! To add insult to injury: I am deathly afraid of heights–metaphorical or otherwise!

So, in addition to my full time financial aid job at a local college, and my part time blogging job with Todaysmama.com, I have added a part time retail job at a baby store to my schedule. Obviously, this will be a temporary situation, but if it all goes as planned, it will be a means to an end.

Which brings me to the root cause of the problem: no discernible plan. That will be one of my goals for 2013 and, ironically, it is a place our government is currently at, as well. While I am obviously NOT the poster child for financial responsibility–I mean, hello, I would not be where I am if I had had a plan to fix my own money woes–however, I think I am taking the correct approach. While it is a difficult schedule to work as much as I am, I know that I will have the satisfaction of knowing that I was able to keep my head above water and eventually swim out of my sea of debt. But more importantly, I want to teach my children that financial responsibility is something they must own themselves and that digging out of the hole is a better choice than expecting someone else to own their mistakes. It is not the government’s job to “fix” companies and it is no one else’s job to “fix” my debt. While it is not the easiest way to solve the problem, it is the right way to solve it.

Which leads me to the government–if the incentives to NOT WORK were taken away, or made more difficult to get, more people would have to swallow their pride and take any job they could. I sometimes feel like an old lady pushing carts in the parking lot of my retail job, but I would rather know that I am doing something about my issue than ignoring it and hoping it will go away, or worse yet, having someone else assume my accountability.

No doubt, it’s an embarrassing situation to share with people, but I am not going to be ashamed for poor choices I’ve made; I’m human. I will, however, make better financial choices in the future so that I can truly learn from this experience and maybe my kids can, too. While it’s hard to admit my plight to a handful of people, I must imagine it is mortifying to be the leader of a country on the verge of a “fiscal cliff”. Not only will millions of Americans be affected, but other countries are closely watching the outcome, as well. While my fiscal plan is reactive, at least I have a small plan in place to avoid this happening to me in the future. And, I pray that my parachute doesn’t have a tear as I rocket over my own fiscal cliff.

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