I've covered Wall Street for years, but I'm getting new financial lessons from my puppy Scruffy, a rescue mutt. From the importance of tight control to 3-D, five-sense lessons on the value of cleaning up my credit rating, I am being trained by my puppy.
5 Lessons on Fiscal Management
5. Get a Grip
Scenario: As I walk my dog, I am pulled in different directions because I have yet to develop a firm command. It's not a pretty picture. Scruffy has even escaped from the leash when I've totally lost control.
Lesson: Hold on tightly to my money, the checkbook and the debit card. Track the charges on my statement for mistakes, gaps and leaks. Without control, I'll be chasing tails and running into unfriendly traffic.
4. Prepare for rains & storms.
Scenario: My dog does not like going outside to do "his business" in the rain and thunder.
Lesson: Learn to operate under difficult conditions. Always, always have a Plan B. Our alternate route: There is a covered outdoor path under our apartment building. It's near the trash room, protected and perfect for our exit strategy.
3. Clean up the Mess
Scenario: As a dog owner, I deal with a lot of crap (on sidewalks and lawns) and general mess, especially when my dog rips up newspapers around the house. To maintain order, we have to constantly clean and tidy.
Lesson: Fiscal and physical tidiness are constant efforts. It's just a fact of life. Stay armed with a pooper scooper.
2. Create Long-Term Plans
Scenario: Vacations, visits and basic travel are a challenge with a new puppy. It's difficult to find hotels and friends that are hospitable to puppies. It's expensive to find doggy daycare.
Lesson: Failure to plan ahead creates unnecessay expenses and anxiety. Remember: My failure to plan is not someone else's emergency.
1. Get Educated
Scenario: My puppy -- so adorable --jumps on the dining room table and jumps on guests. It's time for more puppy training.
Lesson: Ignorance and lack of training are not excuses. The Humane Society and various animal shelters have affordable puppy training classes. There are online resources and books in the library. Likewise, for my fiscal education, there are many free and affordable resources.