Music Mondays – Fooling Yourself


An Unlikely Fan Was Born

In honor of April Fool’s Day tomorrow, I couldn’t help but think of highlighting the song, Fooling Yourself by the band Styx.  Before I get started in the financial message, I wanted to share a little personal connection I have with the band. On one of my first dates with my hubby, he informed me that his uncle managed the band Styx and his mom worked for his uncle as well. I immediately made the appropriate reaction


but how I really felt was


Truthfully, at that point, the only songs I knew that Styx played were Babe and Mr. Roboto and neither song was on my top ten favorite lists. And since I had no idea how our relationship was going to play out, I never told my hubby about my lack of Styx knowledge. A few months later, the band played a show in Atlanta with REO Speedwagon, and we got tickets to see them. Again, full disclosure, I was more excited about REO than Styx at the time; however, over the course of watching the band play their live show, a new fan was born. They sounded better than on the radio, and the passion of their fans in the audience was contagious. We have since seen them at least a dozen more times, and when we recently saw them in Atlantic City, I don’t know if there was anyone singing every song as loudly as me.

Don’t Let Financial Setbacks Fool You

The path to financial fitness is not a straight line; it is often filled with bumps and obstacles along the way. Sometimes these obstacles seem insurmountable and you can easily “fool yourself” into thinking that you can’t go on and maybe you should just throw in the towel. When I see my clients go through times like this, I send them this song for inspiration. I love it when the band almost yells, “Get up, get back on your feet, you’re the one they can’t beat and you know it.” It is a great battle cry for when you feel disappointed in your setback to financial fitness. Financial setbacks come in all shapes and sizes, here are a few I see all the time.

Common Financial Setbacks That Might Fool You

You Didn’t Get Your Bonus

Of all financial setbacks, I have the least patience and sympathy for this one; however, I completely understand where it comes from. For most of my early career, my bonus was almost as much as my salary and then when the financial crisis happened, the bonus went away overnight. No matter how many times people tell you not to live your life with your bonus as a core component of your financial plan, it always seems to happen. So if you are someone who falls into this category or feels setback by your missing or anemic bonus, you need to deal with your disappointment and then immediately review your financial picture. If you had commitments for this bonus, then you will need to revise those and work on your plans going forward. You may have been setback, but at least you have your job and you can make more informed plans going forward.

A Financial Emergency

If your financial setback is an unexpected bill that came from a health issue or a car issue or a home issue, or any other “fill in the blank” financial surprise that you didn’t plan on, it will be a painful experience to determine how you will pay for it. Sometimes this might require running up your credit card, or it may eat away at your savings account or you may have to borrow from someone you know. Whatever the scenario, it will not feel good, and you may feel as though you got punched in the gut. If so, then you have to deal with the blow, and then get back on your feet and create the plan for how you will combat that blow the next time it arises, because unexpected bills are to be as expected as death and taxes. We never know where they are going to come from, but they are lurking out there, and the best way to weather them is a healthy emergency fund. I work hard with my clients to help them build up their emergency funds to cover situations like these. We sometimes even create the “surprise” emergency fund so the next time a surprise financial event occurs, they know that it will not set them too far back from their overall financial goals.

You Lost Your Job

This is probably the worst financial setback you can experience, because it does not just involve a loss of income, there is usually an emotional component to losing your job. Even people who hate their jobs and wanted to quit anyway always feel an emotional disappointment. It’s like the boyfriend or girlfriend that you want to break up with who suddenly breaks up with you first. Even though, you didn’t want that person, you can’t stop wondering why they didn’t want you. If you have suddenly lost your job, my friend Laurie wrote a great post about what to do next. However, you can also turn it into a positive. If your company’s severance package gives some leeway, you can find another job quickly (even if it is temporary) and use this time to save extra between the new salary and the severance. Working in financial services during the financial crisis, I know dozens of people who were laid off, and every single one of them eventually moved onto something else or something different. The layoff was actually the kick in the butt they needed to take a different path.

Don’t Fool Yourself for Long

I understand that when these setbacks happen that you may feel like you just want to crawl into the fetal position, hide under the covers and never come out, I have been there myself. And truthfully, sometimes we have to let ourselves attend the “pity party” for some period of time to get it out of our system. The important thing to remember is that you can’t stay at that pity party for long. The longer you let yourself stay in a funk over a financial setback, the more difficult you make your road back to the right path. The next time you feel you have overstayed your welcome at the pity party and you feel as though you have fooled yourself into thinking you can’t achieve your financial goals, put this song on, turn it up, and remember you’re the one they (aka those financial setbacks) can’t beat and you know it.

*Gif Source

Has a financial setback ever made you “fool yourself” into thinking things were worse than they really are? How did you get back on your feet and recover from it?

Personal Note – As I mentioned, I have become a big Styx fan from watching them during their shows; however, they reached true legendary status for me when they agreed to be photographed with Flat Stanley for a first grade project my son had to do last year. And the evidence is below. If you want to experience an awesome rock concert, they are touring now with Foreigner and Don Felder, and I will be there when they play Jones Beach in New York. Can’t wait!

Music Mondays Fooling Yourself 1

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Shannon is a financial planner who left a “traditional” financial services firm to start her own company, The Financial Gym, because she felt traditional financial services firms did not have the tools or resources to help people in their 20s and 30s who are starting out and trying to build assets while also managing debt. She realized that the key to long-term personal financial success is a commitment to financial fitness and making smart financial choices. Through her blog, Financially Blonde, her book, Train Your Way To Financial Fitness, her podcast, Martinis and Your Money and The Financial Gym, Shannon is committed to making financial fitness fun, easy and accessible for everyone.

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