Quakers and Business Group
Promoting Quaker values in Business and the Workplace

Have the "experts" really got it right about budgeting?

The other day I watched the first of 3 “Money Watch” programmes on BBC2.  The programme reiterated the assumption that the only source of income is some form of work.  One of their experts said something like: “In order to get more money you just have to work harder and longer.”  And another one stated something like: “Find out your financial situation and adapt your life to that.”  I couldn’t disagree more with either statement.

This is the same kind of “expert” wisdom that comes out with: “… not only does world recovery require the purchase of goods that are not needed, but with money consumers don’t have.” (Michael Cooper in a Letter to the Editor, Financial Times 23.1.10 – I still haven’t figured out if he is serious or taking the Mickey).

Yet, on the same day of the “Money Watch” programme there was an item on my regional BBC news programme about future provision of care, especially for the increasing number of people with Alzheimer’s Disease.  Here the responsible minister (Paul Burstow, Lib-Dem) said something like: “We don’t necessarily need to spend more money.  We just need to work smarter.”  That man absolutely hit the nail on the head if he means by that meeting all the needs for care appropriately within the available budget.

Again “common wisdom” dictates that this is impossible.  That either cuts will have to be made to stay within the budget or that the budget needs to be increased, either by an increase in taxes or the Government taking on more debt.

I don’t know what solution the Minister for Care Services will find.  But I do know that the same principle of working smarter to meet all your needs (physical, emotional and spiritual) appropriately can be applied to every household.

If you are committed to living within your means you do not necessarily have to make cuts to your spending or incur debt.  In my personal life and the lives of my clients I have seen over and over again how working smarter, not harder and longer, using your available resources more creatively and innovatively, makes your means expand.  It starts with an increased sense of prosperity and ends with real money in the bank.