A few days ago I read an interesting piece over at XOJane. The author is basically saying that people judge her all the time for living paycheck-to-paycheck, but as a 29-year-old woman who formerly struggled with an eating disorder and an addiction to drugs, she doesn’t really think it’s a big deal, comparatively.
I have really mixed feelings about this point of view. On the one hand, I’ve never dealt with a serious addiction or eating disorder. I’m lucky that I’ve never been abused or had a chronic medical condition. I don’t really know what it’s like to have to overcome a serious physical or emotional trauma. Perhaps that type of experience provides a perspective on money that I simply don’t – and can’t – have. To me, money is a really important issue, but then again, if I was dealing with an addiction or a cancer diagnosis, would that be the case?
On the other hand, there is such a thing as bending the basics of money management a little too far. Living paycheck-to-paycheck is not a good financial strategy; by failing to save and invest, the author is compromising her security. Her past is troubled, but her future will be, too, if she doesn’t start to take her finances more seriously. In other words, your bank account doesn’t care if you have a good excuse for pissing away your paycheck – addiction or no, you’re still going to end up broke if you make poor financial choices.
What do you think? Do you think that people should follow the basics of personal finance, no matter what? Or is there flexibility for those with “bigger” stuff to worry about? And read the article! It’s very well-composed and thought-provoking.