Mutts and Money: A Tale of Embracing Change

Black dog named Aibee laying down on a bed of rocks

When you adopt a dog, you commit yourself to change. There is no way around it. It means a new addition to the house and everyone who lives there will be affected. In 2011, our newest member was Aibee (named from the movie THE HELP, because she is good, she is smart, and she is important). But she wasn’t born into that line of thinking. By the time she got to us, she had some serious baggage, which included (but was not limited to) her fear of all people. She was cool with dogs, but humans — not so much.

I don’t know that anything can point out your habits like a new dog (or a personal trainer). Aibee had been abused, of that we were certain. But it wasn’t until I stepped a certain way or said certain words or used certain tones that I became keenly aware of my patterns in those areas and how they affected her. But I already loved this dog and REALLY wanted to help her transition, find peace, and feel loved. If I had to change to make that happen, I was willing.

My point, as it relates to money, is that you will need to decide how willing you are to adopt new principles and how willing you are to change. The changes will affect you and those around you, just as Aibee’s adoption made me change. Her adoption affected me, my other 2 dogs, and how we all did things. Early on, there were times of discomfort, at which time I had to go back and review my WHY and my motivation.

As you read this, think about what your motivation is and how you are willing to adapt to reach your goal. What is your goal? Pay off debt? Get control of your spending? Be a better steward?

Initially, my goal was to find out where the money was going, because I thought I knew, and I didn’t. I believed that regular tithing and paying off my credit card each month indicated financial health. I think most Americans have this internal checklist that lulls them into thinking they are doing okay with their money. What about you? What are those 1-3 things that you say to yourself, “If I do 1,2,3, I’m okay and I don’t need to concern myself with anything else.” Call them check-offs or simple rationalizations, it’s time to reassess and address our financial blind spots.

As I went through this process, I kept coming back to the acronym SKY – Stop Kidding Yourself. I often had to remind myself of this concept. It’s crucial to know precisely where your money is being spent and the exact amount of your debt. Without this knowledge, you’ll remain stagnant in your financial situation. It’s time to acknowledge our financial realities and take decisive action.

Your patterns and behavior must change when you get a new dog, which is okay. Because you love the dog, you are willing to change. Likewise, if you love YOU and you have a strong enough WHY, you will be willing to change in order to feel and be successful with your handling of money.

If you don’t change, neither will your dog nor your financial situation. You must train the dog to change its behavior, just as you must change your financial habits to see improvement. Be the Alpha dog over your money. If things aren’t as you’d like with your dog or your money, it’s your responsibility to change them. Remember, change is simple but not easy. Adaptation is key to success.

Benchmark Wealth Management
5855 Ridge Bend Road
Memphis, TN 38120

Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor, Member FINRA/SIPIC.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide
specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or
strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes.
Investing involves risk including possible loss of principal.

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