A reader asks:
Your big-ticket decision advice doesn't help someone who screwed up a major financial decision in the past. For example, I bought a house that I can't sell at anywhere near the price I paid. I have a big mortgage and it's killing me. But I already made this mistake, I can't do anything about it now.
Readers, is a legitimate reason for not taking steps to fix a problematic financial situation? Or is it an excuse that just sounds like a reason?
Everybody makes money mistakes. Everybody. And you don't have to be infallible to conquer your finances. But you do have to be willing to face your mistakes--and take mindful action to repair them.
So, that said, the first thing I'd suggest to this reader is get out of the mental framework of presuming there is no solution. That's just handwringing. Instead, brainstorm a list of solutions. Sit down and write down solutions--even ones that seem really dumb or implausible--until you've come up with at least ten. Or twenty. You'll be surprised to find that some of those "dumb or implausible" solutions are mere intermediary steps on the journey to other solutions that aren't so dumb or implausible. Choose a couple of these potential solutions and start executing them.
What I don't want you to do is wring your hands about this mistake, not fix it, and then use it to rationalize further spending and further big-ticket mistakes in the future.
And of course, one of the gravest risks of overspending on a house is the Diderot Effect. We want the things in our lives to match, thus it can become deceivingly easy to "need" a swimming pool in the backyard of that house you can't quite afford. Or, more self-parodyingly, to need a boat, matching Jaguars, and Stickley furniture to go with that house you can't quite afford.
Obviously, this is just yielding to defeat and further compounding the initial big-ticket mistake. Don't do it.
An In-Depth Review of Your Money Of Your Life
How To Defeat the "Diderot Effect"
Six Tips to Fight the Diderot Effect in Your Kitchen and Home
Money Sundays: How To Make the Tax Code Work For YOU
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