Up the down staircase. Part 2 “Concilium”
Or who the rules of American life are written for
Upon arriving in America, we found ourselves in a totally different environment where our past experiences not only failed to be helpful but often turned into obstacles.
One of the common problems among immigrants is the fear to ask a question and appear ignorant. This is a kind of ‘baggage’ we brought with us. We were used to being big authorities in our field of work and social environment where a lack of knowledge was considered a ‘weakness’. And we didn’t want to appear weak.
Fortunately, in our new country asking questions is common practice. Here, a consilium of doctors is held not to define the cause of death but to avoid getting sick. That’s why the first thing we need to learn is to seek the expertise of professionals and not be afraid to ask questions, as many as possible. Ask questions when there is something you don’t know. Ask questions when you know something, and ask questions when you know everything. Even when you seem to know everything, it’s good to have a second opinion. Most consultations of this kind are free of charge. Take advantage!
Suppose you got valuable advice from all kinds of experts and were able to put together a portfolio of financial products for your family that includes life and health insurance, property insurance and mortgage, and a proper pension plan. You did everything right but nobody told you how difficult it is to keep up with all the necessary payments. Sooner or later you realize that mortgage payments do not allow you to pay off a car loan while life insurance payments are in the way of creating a pension fund. You can’t help wondering why this is happening to you.
Here we come to the second most common problem most immigrants face: we have little or no idea of what budget is. There is a reason for this. For us, planning in general and financial planning in particular, had never been something realistic and worthwhile following. Budget, however, IS a plan. It exists in every family whether we are aware of it or not. The key thing here is how it is implemented in each particular situation. Most of us live in either ‘event – reaction’ mode or ‘plan an event – react’ mode.
Take, for instance, your vacation. You can go on vacation first and then use your credit cards to pay off the debt. Or you can put aside the necessary funds before the vacation and then spend those funds for your vacation needs. It’s up to you which way to pick. For me, the decision is obvious, but you might have a different opinion. This simple example is a good way to illustrate how the budget can and should work for you. However, if you don’t put realistic dates to your plans (remember: budget is a plan!), they will never materialize and remain just dreams.
Budget is inseparably connected to the object of planning. Divided into family budget and business budget, it can produce an endless number of options. The basic structure of budget, however, is simple and uniform, be it a young family budget or that of a multimillion corporation.
Today, many of us use Internet to resolve their budget issues. However, I would like to caution you: no matter how easy and simple budget seems to you, do NOT ignore the expert opinion of a professional. It is a ‘must’ for creating an optimal budget for your family. It is this ‘second opinion’ that can help you to minimize possible errors in implementing your budget and to avoid creating conflicting projects.
Good luck to you, my friends, in mastering the intricacies of the budget. You can always rely on my knowledge and experience in this matter.
Please call me for more information: 847-520-7030.