Everyone is searching for a “good time” to get their financial house in order. The reality is there never is a good time. People in America have what I call checkbook syndrome. No matter how much you earn, there is never enough in the checkbook to begin preparing for your future. I’ve seen some of you who earn just $1000 each month and others who earn over $100,000 each month. The people with bigger incomes simply have different lifestyles, not more money. What is important to recognize is that today’s dollars are your most valuable dollars. Lifestyle decisions will determine how financially comfortable you are later in life. A home is a lifestyle decision, not your biggest investment. There has been a myth that a home is a person’s greatest investment. A home is not at all an investment, but a liability, a money pit, a place to sleep. Today everyone is chasing status, which I define as buying things you cannot afford to impress people you don’t care about. In this endless search for material happiness, I see complete excess. In the valley the homes that are being built are mostly over 5000 square feet and on a .25 acre lot. I see car payments that are $2000 each month. People have closets that are larger than the bedroom I grew up in. It’s important to make the determination between needs and wants. We clearly live in a want society, not a needs society. Our “need” for material goods, longer life expectancy and more medical problems. We have exterior wealth but the inner unhappiness. It’s time to look in the mirror and ask yourself why! Would you behave the same if you were not “keeping up with the Jones'”? The kids don’t care what you have, they just want love. Family and friends will appreciate your love more than your material goods.