I recently watched the documentary “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” (Netflix). Although it was somewhat contrived, I liked it alot. The movie follows around 2 very large guys who decide to make a radical change in their lives in order to rid themselves of a very uncomfortable autoimmune disease. Both guys lost well over 100 pounds and got off a huge variety of drugs by the end of the movie.
Over the course of the movie, the main guy interviewed a bunch of people across the US about health (they were generally large people), explaining what his significant change was and trying to “convert” the masses. People continuously agreed that they were incredibly unhealthy, and they were probably going to die in their early 50s (it was kind of frustrating to watch), but had no interest in making any kind of change that would improve their chances at living longer.
The people in the movie reminded me a lot of people I meet whose finances are a mess but have no interest in making things better. These are the people that (frustratingly) complain about how money is “tight” and then spend $100 at the bar a couple of times a month, or buy a bunch of stuff on credit that they don’t need.
I made significant financial changes about 5 years ago after assessing my financial position, looking at my life and seeing what I could do to make it somewhat better than it currently was in my early 20’s. At the time, I was basically spinning my wheels financially. An early retirement plan allowed me to have some sort of target that I could strive towards.
The catalyst for my significant financial change wasn’t as drastic as the guys in the movie (they were dying) – I just needed some direction.
There are tons of blogs out there that I enjoy reading that have stories of people turning their lives around after accumulating significant debt from consumer debt, student loans, or other disasters – there is usually some sort of “bottom” that people hit, where they’re sitting in a dark room (no electricity), have a child on the way (and can’t see how they can feed them), or some other kind of significant crisis.
How did you arrive at your financial plan? Did you have some something major happen that started you down your current financial path?