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Baruch Labinsky, author of 'A Financial Guide to Aliyah and Life in Israel', is the founder of Labinsky Financial, a financial planning firm located in Ramat Beit Shemesh
photo from the Times of Israel

Baruch Labinsky: Repent for financial mismanagement!

Baruch Labinsky , posted Aug 15, 2013

The Jewish New Year and High Holiday period is synonymous with soul-searching, atonement and self-improvement. It is also an opportunity to think about ways to improve society and make the world a better place. But that soul-searching and self-improvement can and should also be applied to our finances as well!

When we are less financially comfortable or secure than we’d like to be – we can respond in one of two very different ways.

We may become dispirited, depressed and almost apathetic. Instead of looking for new opportunities and solutions, we might be stuck in a rut, or a downward spiral, trying to avoid making any ‘risky’ decisions. This paralysis can be caused by a fear of potential economic or financial failures. If I haven’t succeeded in the past, why should I think that I’ll succeed in the future? If that new business idea didn’t work out exactly as planned, why do I think it will work better in the new year? Ironically, that very fear is one of the greatest inhibitors of long-term financial success.

Alternatively we can open our eyes to existing opportunities that could lead to new and greater financial success. And if the first description fits you more than the second, now is the time to atone! Don’t get me wrong – I’m not advocating any rash, impetuous, irresponsible actions. I’m suggesting the opposite. Change your mindset, attitude and course of action, but do it with proper foresight, advice and planning.

Statistics show that a large majority of entrepreneurs fail multiple times before their breakthrough success. The key is persistence and confidence in our ability to succeed.

We need to both introspect and analyze our financial reality. Our introspection should recognize that everyone has inherent potential that is not being utilized to its maximum – all of us! Depending on what our situation is and requires, we have the potential to find a new/better job, to discover what investment opportunities might best suit our needs, to change our mindset. If we are earning an average wage but not making it through the month, we need to make some fundamental changes in how we approach money. For example, if someone living in the center of the country is spending a large part (more than 50%) of his/her entire salary on rent and utilities – maybe they need to make a dramatic change and move to a less expensive area, even if it entails changes in their lifestyle.

Look outside of yourself to what’s around you. Take a more pro-active long-term stance. Don’t resign yourself to what seems to be your lot. Open your eyes and ears and you’ll discover information and opportunities you hadn’t thought of.

It’s a new year, with a new judgment and new horizons. Let’s atone for our financial mismanagement, see the error of our ways, but let that action empower us. Once we have recognized where we went wrong, and start taking steps to improve our situation, we can look ahead to a more secure financial future.

May you be sealed in the book of life for a healthy, happy and financially stable new year

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