Tag Archives: hard-work

“I Want You to WANT to Save!”

credit: Alice Pasqual (Unsplash)

credit: Alice Pasqual (Unsplash)

In the 2006 movie The Break-Up, there is a funny sequence where the Vince Vaughn character and the Jennifer Aniston character get into a huge fight. It’s pretty relatable for many couples who have dealt with similar circumstances.

So let me set the scene: After a dinner party with friends, Jennifer Aniston’s character (Brooke) wants to do the dishes. Vince Vaugh’s character (Gary) is playing Grand Theft Auto.

B: Well, I’m gonna go do the dishes.

G: Cool.

B: It’d be nice if you helped me.

G: No problem. A little bit later. I’m just gonna hit the streets here for a little bit (playing GTA).

B: Gary, come on, I don’t want to do them later. Let’s just do them now. It’ll take 15 minutes.

G: Honey, I am so exhausted. I just honestly want to relax for a little bit. If I could just sit here, let my food digest, and just try to enjoy the quiet for a little bit. Get some! Get some! Get some! (beating people with a club on GTA) That’s what happens. And we will…you know, we can clean the dishes tomorrow.

B: Gary, you know I don’t like waking up to a dirty kitchen.

G: Who cares?

B: I care! All right? I care! I busted my ass all day cleaning this house and then cooking that meal. And I worked today. It would be nice if you said thank you and helped me with the dishes.

G: Fine. I’ll help you do the damn dishes. (throwing his game controller down)

B: Oh, come on. You know what? No. See? That’s not what I want.

G: You just said that you want me to help you do the dishes.

B: I want you to want to do the dishes.

G: Why would I want to do dishes? Why?

B: See, that’s my whole point.

G: Let me see if I’m following this, okay? Are you telling me that you’re upset because I don’t have a strong desire to clean dishes?

B: No. I’m upset because you don’t have a strong desire to offer to do the dishes.

G: I just did.

B: After I asked you!

(Check out a clip of the scene here if you’re interested)

I’m a bit of a weirdo I guess because I really don’t mind doing dishes all that much and that’s with NO DISHWASHER! I’m no saint though because doing the dishes probably means I get out of doing some other chore I hate more!

Obviously no one really likes to do the dirty work, the grunt work, the menial tasks like washing the dishes. But it’s not really about doing dishes. It’s about sharing the household chores in a marriage and loving your spouse so you don’t want them to have to do these menial tasks all by themselves. Sure, everyone has those sweep-you-off-your-feet moments where you write a romantic poem for your wife. You bring her home fresh flowers when she’s feeling down. But no one really things of doing the menial tasks like washing dishes, cooking dinner or cleaning the bathroom as ROMANCE. These are thankless jobs. However, if you’re like me and your “love language” is “Acts of Service” then you probably feel loved when your spouse does these tasks so you don’t have to. Many people will profess their love for their significant other, but are they willing to do the little things to strengthen that relationship?

What does this have to do with Money?

Similar to the above example, a lot of people read exciting headlines about those who paid off a ton of debt in a short period of time, people who retired extremely early, or people who started a blog, making tons of money. A lot of people also make these their goals. Who wouldn’t want to attain these goals? But how many people want to do the dirty work to get there?

When it comes to paying off a ton of debt or saving up enough money to retire extremely early, you’ve got to save a lot of money. But who really wants to save? Who enjoys saving?

Who wants to cook their own meals rather than having something cook it for them?

Who wants to forego that Starbucks venti iced mocha latte?

Who gets joy out of watching their bank and investment account grow rather than spending your paycheck on new shoes or new iPhone X?

Who actually wants to set up a meeting with their spouse to discuss finances and to set up a budget?

When it comes to starting a business, who wants to sit down and actually do research on that industry and to write up a business plan?

For those aspiring money making bloggers, do you like learning about SEO and how to do stuff on Pinterest? (Oh boy, I don’t even know the proper terminology for that!?)

Once again, I am a weirdo, a financial weirdo, and so are some others in the personal finance world. We get great enjoyment pulling up our portfolio seeing how it has grown. Some people look forward to having a financial meeting with their spouse. Some even say that Budgets are Sexy!

That’s not the majority of the people though. Most people have these grand plans and goals, but how many follow through and actually put their plans into action. How many even take the first step towards that goal? It’s not a surprise that the majority of people’s New Year’s resolutions fail by February. Don’t tell me your grand plans and goals. Show me what you are doing right now to achieve them!

Behind every person who killed their debt, who achieved FIRE, or started a successful business is a trail of hard-work, discipline, and sacrifice. The goal is exciting and sexy, but the work that is required to get there, often is not. But if you truly want to attain that goal, you’ve got to do the unglamorous dirty work. If you are just all talk and no action, then don’t complain when you haven’t achieve those goals. Now go out there and start taking action. And don’t forget to help your spouse with the dishes!

What are your goals and what are you doing right now to achieve them?

Are We Overworked?

If you watched the Olympics, you probably saw the above commercial for the Cadillac ELR. Tonya from Budget and the Beach also wrote an interesting post about this topic last Friday. Definitely check out her post entitled Why Do We Work So Hard and the comments at the bottom. At first, I didn’t pay much attention to the entire commercial. I heard a few of his statements and it sounded inspiring. He talked about hard-work. He dropped names like Bill Gates, the Wright Brothers and Muhammad Ali.

Here is an excerpt of what main actor in the commercials says:

Why do we work so hard? For what? For this? For stuff? Other countries they work, they stroll home, they stop by the café, they take August off. Off. Why aren’t you like that? Why aren’t WE like that? Because we’re crazy driven hard working believers that’s why…

After watching it a few more times as it was constantly playing, it started to annoy me. Of course, my number one problem with the commercial is the implication that we work hard so we can buy nice things, like the Cadillac ELR and the fancy house with the infinity pool. Obviously if you read my blog, you know I’m not a fan of excessive consumerism. But I understand that this is an ad, and that their job is to sell cars.

Another issue that the actor brings up is that Americans work harder than others in other countries. He takes a jab at Europeans for strolling home after work, stopping by a café and for taking the entire month of August off. We Americans pride ourselves on hard-work and ingenuity. Of course, there is nothing wrong with these qualities. In fact, they are excellent qualities to have. But the commercial struck a chord with me because he took pride in only taking 2 weeks off. I have heard many people working in the corporate world talk about the long hours they work as a badge of honor. They post status updates on their Facebook and Twitter accounts about still being at work and being there on the weekends. A woman in Indonesia posted on Twitter that she had worked 30 hours straight and was still going strong, before she passed away. I’ve heard conversations where people compare war stories of working excessive hours with each person trying to top the other person’s story. It seems that to climb the corporate ladder, long hours, working on weekends and being accessible when you are outside of the office is a requirement. Vacation time may be available but it only means you had better complete your project ahead of time, and it probably means you’ll have more work waiting for you when you return. Sometimes, you might even be working during your vacation. My sister, who worked long hours as an auditor, told me when she was auditing a law firm, cots were provided to the attorneys there who sometimes left after she did. I remember when she worked on Mother’s Day, but was lucky enough to leave early enough to make it to dinner.

The U.S is the only major industrialized nation without a national paid sick-leave policy or mandated annual leave policy. The U.S is the only major industrialized nation that doesn’t provide paid maternity leave. Now I don’t want to get into a discussion of the economic and political ramifications of requiring such leave. I think many Americans are of the opinion that our European counterparts are somewhat lazy, and that their economic systems are doom to fail because they do not work hard enough. It is interesting to see the different mindset in different countries.

I think hard-work is the key to success. But for me, I am not willing to sacrifice valuable time spent with family and time to pursue my own interest to slave away at the office. I understand not everyone has the same values. Some may enjoy what they do, and putting in long hours on a labor of love is satisfying. I work in a job where I have set hours and rarely take work home. I’m pursuing financial freedom and early retirement so I have more time to work on my own interests, and to be able to spend more time with family and friends.

How is your work life balance? What do you think about the corporate culture in the U.S? If you are from a different country, what is your perspective on this work-life dynamic?