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Why Should I Be Financially Responsible?

Hi, I’m Kevin McKee from Thousandaire.com and I’m interrupting your regularly scheduled programming today to tell you my financial motivation. Derek and I are swapping posts today as part of the Yakezie Blog Swap, so you can head over to my site to read Derek’s, “What Motivates Me To Be Financially Responsible“.

Last year I saved or invested over 20% of my pretax income.This year I am on track to do the same. I have a full time job that pays well over the median household income in America, and yet I spend most of my nights blogging and trying to build a second income stream out of my website.


I look at every individual credit card purchase at the end of each month to look for fraudulent charges and track my spending in a big fancy budget spreadsheet. I even sign up for bank accounts that give a cash bonus, and then close the account as soon as the rules allow me to get out with the free money.


This may seem like an unhealthy obsession. Why do I care so much about having and making money? There has to be a strong internal motivation for me to put so much time and effort into my finances.


My motivation to be financially successful really took off during my senior year of high school. I was on the Newspaper team, and we were in charge of doing the senior superlatives. I wasn’t the most popular guy in school, but I was one of the smartest and had what I thought was a pretty good personality. I thought I had “Most Likely To Succeed” wrapped up pretty easily. We put out a survey and the votes came in. Turns out I didn’t win. In fact, I don’t think I even got any of the votes.


To make matters worse, I was assigned to write the “Most Likely To Succeed” article. I went to interview the guy who won and asked him about his plans after high school. His answer: “I don’t really know.”


Wow. 


If he was the most likely to succeed out of all my classmates, I’d hate to meet the least likely to succeed.


Now the rational part of my brain realized it was a stupid vote and it didn’t matter, but the emotional part said, “Nobody in this school thinks I have what it takes to be successful. Won’t they be surprised when they hear about me a few years from now.”


I try to keep a level head, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t get to me a little bit. I took that snub as a challenge. It probably sounds stupid, but that stupid newspaper vote kept me highly motivated all throughout college and into the beginning of my career.


Then once I began my career and started making money, my eyes were opened to a whole new world; a world where I actually had money. Just before my job started I paid for a five week European backpacking vacation. Then a few months later I bought a 350Z convertible. For a quick minute, I was enamored with all the cool stuff you could do with money.
That phase was short lived though. I loved the European vacation and believe it was worth every dollar, but the car was too expensive and didn’t make me any happier than my old Nissan Sentra. I realized I didn’t need or even want a bunch of things. I did, however, want to make a difference. It took me a while, but my true financial motivation surfaced, and it is one that keeps me going to this day.


Money can make the world a better place. I used money to start a 529 for my niece and help her save for college. I can also use money to take my deeply religious Catholic mom to Vatican City for the first time in her life (I haven’t done this yet, but I’m going to). Isn’t it great how money can make the world a better place for the people you love.


Furthermore, it can make the world a better place for people I don’t even know. I’ve used money to donate to worthy charitable organizations and help them improve our world. Maybe if I get enough money I can stop working M-F and start volunteering. Or even better, I can use that money to start a business and give other people jobs and help them provide for their families. Some people say money is the root of all evil, but I think that is only true for evil people. The more money I have, the more good I can do in the world.


My money motivation has changed a few times over the years, but I have always had something driving me to be successful and make enough money to live the life I want.


What is your money motivation?

Money

AUTHOR Derek

My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.

35 Comments

  1. Great guest post! I’ll be heading over to your blog to see what I believe will be another great post. 🙂

    I use to want money because of things that it did, eventually I realized that money wasn’t making me happy. Financial security is something I crave and giving to those in need. It’s a constant struggle trying to help yourself and trying to help others. At times I feel that giving money isn’t the best thing to give, rather time is my most valuable resource to give.

    One last thing, it’s amazing what can motivate us. I didn’t grow up with the best financial situation and that is something I plan (plans are meant to be changed) to not live in ever again.

    -Ravi Gupta

  2. Thanks Ravi! I didn’t grow up with money either, so that is another big motivation for me. I hope we both make do well enough that we don’t have to worry about it anymore!

  3. My Motivation is freedom – the less I owe people, the more I’ll be able to do what I want, when I want with my self and money. I want security and stability, and those are things that you cant really put a price on, but I’m saving for them anyway. Great work, kevin.

  4. That’s great to hear that you’re putting your money to good use Kevin! Ahhh the good ole junior high and high school days with the “most likely to succeed” voting contest! That brings back good memories, or should I say terrible memories!

    You’re not alone though – I also review my asset allocation and credit card statements each month, and apply for little bonus offers! It just may well be some slight obsession!

  5. I recently read The Millionaire Mind where they mention how something happened in their youth that motivates them today. They were put down or incurred something negative that motivated them to be successful. Your high school experience may be that negative experience for you. For me there were a number of them that motivate me to be (more)successful. My parents taught me to be responsible, however I chose a career (CFO) in financial management where my skills allowed provided success. My motivation is the rewards of being financially responsible such as travel, private education for my children, great lifestyle and retirement.

  6. @Jacob – I’m glad I’m not the only one! I made $225 from Chase last year and I loved it!

    @krantcents – I have always kind of had a “chip on my shoulder” if you will because when someone says I can’t do something, I want it that much more! It sounds like you’re on the right career path and your motivation is gonna keep you heading in the right direction.

  7. Kevin, Even though I’m not going to win editors pick, I’m not holding it against you. This article is amazing. The story behind your success is the sign of someone with something special. Using negative feelings to push yourself forward is awesome.

  8. Giving to charity and others in needs is also something that makes me feel good about myself. Starting to save for your niece and taking your mother to Vatican City are some very thoughtful things to do!

  9. @Barb – Thanks for the kind words. I’m not mad at you for changing the topic a bit, but I did have to give you a little trouble! 🙂

  10. I didn’t grow up poor (though definitely not rich either). I guess my motivation comes from having been independent from a very young age and realising just how close to the edge you can be – a few turns of bad luck and you’re out on the street. (I guess I could move back in with my parents, but not everyone has that luxury).

    I also want to travel the world, and buy a house in the most expensive city in this country, while working in a notoriously poorly paid field. Big dreams!

  11. Do you know what ever happened to the guy who was voted most likely to succeed?

    I bet your mom will love the trip to Vatican story, and my kids would love to have an uncle like you 😉

  12. I got voted most likely to succeed and believe me, you don’t want that hanging over your head! I like your motivations though, and kudos for finding a way to get free money from the banks! (They practically steal it from their customers anyway).

  13. To not put yourself into difficult financial situations in the future. That’s why one must be financially responsible. I tell all my clients this.

  14. Seems like to me, money has always only mattered if I didn’t have enough. “Enough” changes from time to time but I have never really required a lot for spending. I DO, however, believe that it’s hard to save too much.

    Anyway, enjoyed the blogpost. Gives a reason to think, which is pretty much what I (assume) you posted it for 🙂

  15. I never ever want to go back to my teenage days when putting food on the table was a constant struggle and then there were many nights when tears would be the ‘side dish’ – all due to my family’s lack of financial education & skill set. I knew from a young age that I must NOT learn financial habits or lessons from home cause money decisions were bringing down the entire family unit. That was my driving motivation to learn about finances and then applying them to my life. I know I cannot bear to ever go back to such insecurity, anguish, pain and frustration. I am financially independent today am extremely motivated to stay this way!

  16. Interesting thoughts on why you want to be financially responsible, Kevin. Personally, I know that one of my major motivations is being able to provide for my fiancee and our (hopefully) future children. It’s a major driver of both my blogging and of my scholastic pursuits.

  17. To look at it another way, money is the sum of all of the good things that people have done. Sure some people have money which they obtained immorally or illegitimately, and some people put money to bad ends, but ultimately value arises from people adding to the world by making and doing things that add value to other people’s lives. How can that be an evil thing?

  18. P.S. I seem to always think of Michael Buble now whenever I come across your posts!

  19. Hi, quick question, I’m hoping to create a new blog in a similar niche to yours, can’t decide whether to use wordpress or blog engine, I notice your using wordpress, any reason for that? Does it have more features? Sorry, I’m a bit of a CMS noobie! Thanks

    • Hi Jenny! I have only been exposed to Weebly and WordPress, and as you can tell, I much prefer WordPress. I have many blogging friends that used to use Blogger and have switched to WordPress for fewer restrictions on what can be done with their site. Also, if you ever get stuck, WordPress has tons of help there, whereas, I imagine Blogger doesn’t have quite as much. Really though, either one of them will get the job done I’m sure. Good luck with your new site! If you have any other questions, make sure to contact me via my “Contact” tab on the top of my site. Thanks!

  20. I use to want money because of things that it did, eventually I realized that money wasn’t making me happy. Does it have more features?

    • Money really doesn’t make people happy. But, it can be very powerful if it’s used to build relationships rather than just acquire “stuff”. Good luck to your future happiness Alissa!


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