I was walking downtown in Denver, when a guy with a grocery cart walked up to me and asked for money. I looked at him with his ragged and torn clothes, and toothless grin. As I reached into my pocket and handed him a few dollars, I started to ask him questions. How long you been in Denver I asked? Since the 60’s he responded, I moved here after I came back from Vietnam. I then asked him; do you have any family here? Used to he said, my dad is dead and my mom lives in a nursing home in Cleveland. They disowned me when I came home. I was into drugs and didn’t want to work, and then I started hitting the bottle pretty hard! I was kicked out of my parents’ house and here I am, on the streets!
I have been on the streets of Denver for over 30 years. I have been in the VA hospital several times, and living under different bridges through out Denver. I have seen hard and snowy winters, and hot summers. I have lots of friends, and seen a lot of them die. He went on to share his story of suffering and hardships. We probably talked for about 10 minutes as we leaned against a corner cafe. While we talked he would walk over to strangers and ask for handouts, as they walked by. I was slightly embarrassed as people gave him coins and bills.
Many of the homeless that I have talked to will blame others for their past failures. They don’t take any responsibility for past mistakes or bad decisions. Many would rather ask for handouts and panhandle than work. How many of these people have you seen on exit ramps, holding signs and begging for cash?
I asked the guy I was talking to, why didn’t you go to college or hold down a decent job. He flat out told me, he didn’t want to work a regular job! He enjoyed being with his friends and drinking. There are some people who are doing everything within their power to get out of living under bridges, and stop asking for handouts! You hear success stories of the ones who fought and clawed their way out of being destitute and begging from others! I listened to all his excuses, and then knew that I was talking to a dead man with no hope of turning his life around. He was content on asking for his way of living through the generosity of others.
As I said goodbye to this guy, he waved at me and said thanks for the few bucks that I gave him. As, I walked back to my truck, I couldn’t but wonder, why the quitter attitude. Was it his parents, was it Vietnam? Did his friends drag him down? Then it hit me, he didn’t have someone who would listen nor understand where he was at in life.
There is a time when we must take responsibility for our actions, right or wrong. Do you have plans for yourself or family if you lose your job? How will the house payment be made? How will the credit cards be paid? Who will pay the electric, and water? How will the food be taken care of? These are scary thoughts and taking action steps in protecting yourself and your family is key.
Do you allow your circumstances to control you? Meaning, do you have an issue with your boss, you keep getting on his bad side by your actions? Do you have a hard time taming your tongue; you don’t know when to shut up? Do you take your family savings and invest in worthless businesses or loan money to friends and family?
• Start a savings account, even if its $10 to 20 dollars a month
• Make a plan to pay your monthly bills
• Talk to a financial planner
• Have a budget meeting with your spouse/partner
• Downsize your living quarters
• Figure out what will cut home expenses, turning off lights, taking shorter showers, etc!
• Cut back on cable services
• Send in your rebates
• Get your books and DVD’s from the library
• Stop smoking and drinking
• Start exercising, helps cut down on being sick.
• Cut back on eating out
This is just a beginning on how to save by cutting costs. If you need help on cutting back expenses, you can contact Dr. Mike to set up a meeting via phone or in person.
If you would like some help in dealing with personal issues in your life or the relationship that you’re in, you can contact Mike at 303.456.0555. If you need more information about the Professional Accountability Partner Program, call 303.456.0555 or go to contact Mike link to set up a free consultation appointment.