Long-term Trust versus Short-term Hope that Our Financial Situation Improves

I was listening to NPR on show about universal health care. In listening to the report, I started thinking if we have universal health care what will change? We should have more people covered by insurance so that people should not worry as much about going to the doctor. Yet, do we need to do more than give insurance to people to improve health care?

Note, this article uses a health care example to show how trust and hope applies to our financial health. The premise is that when we trust, we take action while when we hope, we give our power away.

In discussions about universal health care, I find that personal responsibility is left out of the discussion. In thinking about the discussions, I notice how we give it away when we hope our situation improves instead of trusting it will. How I see it, universal health care is a hope that it will solve the problem where price is the issue. However, there is something missing in this and that is looking at what we can do or should do now (personal responsibility).

Part of the issue is the cost of insurance. However, part of the issue is also pinned on deductibles and co-pays. Per the proponents, proponents of universe health care say that we would not send tens of thousands of dollars on expensive procedures if we gave more people access to $60 to $100 doctor visits. Is the real issue deductibles and co-pays? I totally agree with this – treat the smaller issues before they become large issues. However, I also view insurance where the small costs should be covered in a budget because when small costs are covered by insurance, the profit, commission and administration costs of insurance would increase the cost of a doctor visit significantly. So, why do we need to provide preventative health care when in perspective, the costs are minimal to other larger health care costs (such as paying some money into an emergency fund instead of paying off credit card debt with high interest rates and fees).

It got me to thinking why do some people forgo the doctor visit (or emergency fund) when they know they have or could have a potential problem. There may be millions of reasons such as not having enough time, not having the money to pay for it or believing that the problem will get better. These solutions are short-term focused versus looking at the long-term (considering impact of what happens if it does not get better).

I have written in the past that struggle (financial or otherwise) makes it harder to get out of a situation because we give up trusting the situation will work and instead we focus on put out short-term fires hoping our long-term situation improves. The energy of putting out fires, keeps us from being able to thrive because our energy goes to the short-term fix instead of long-term solution. For the person with the medical issue, it may be a struggle between going to the doctor and putting food on the table. There may be a hope that the medical condition improves on its own, as other medical issues may have done in the past. The morale is that the short-term struggle with living day-to-day keeps people from having a long-term outlook of healthy living. This keeps the struggle going from one issue to the next, as time is spent overcoming one issue a new issue comes up.

I bring this up because even if we have universal health care, we will still leave other problems because universal health care does nothing to solve some of the long-term preventative issues (e.g., exercises, nutrition, etc.) that would go a long way in taking care of short-term issues (costs) due to poor health. It is easy to forgo that morning workout because our schedules are too hectic. Yet, the underlying issues is we are hoping some short-term work (go to work to catch up or spend time catching up with friends and family) to make our lives better versus looking at a long-term solution (proper eating and exercise) which can give us better vitality where we can get more done in less time.

To bring this back to trust and hope, when faced with a struggle our instincts are to focus on the short-term hoping the situation improves instead of focusing long-term solution and trusting. Financially, this may be living day-to-day and hoping for government to step in and help (with universal health care, lower taxes or more benefits) or for a company to offer us a better position with proper pay. As we focus short-term, we overlook long-term solutions which need to be done to get up on our feet and stay up (education, savings, balanced budget, etc.).

The key difference, in which situation we take either short-term (living day-to-day in struggle) or long-term (the solution), are trust. The more trust we have the longer-term focus we develop and the better off we will be. Trust is having an unshakeable belief that we can make it through a situation, thus our focus in long-term (our future). Hope is having a disbelief that we can make it through, so our focus is on what is lacking now in the short-term (here and now) because a better tomorrow may never come. We may think of hope as looking at tomorrow (future), yet it is more about what is going on today (here and now). Hope is about believing that today is not so good and that tomorrow is our only option. Trust, on the other hand, is about knowing a bump in the road is temporary so the focus is not as much about now (the bump in the road) rather the future (the road to recovery from the bump). Trust is about doing what we need to do to stay on our long-term course.

We may think of trust as giving up control and hoping. So what is the distinction? When we fly, we trust the pilot. Yet, before trusting the pilot we have actually done our homework that their airline is relatively safe (taken some responsibility on taking action on research). If we have not done our homework (known that flying is safe), we are hoping and praying that the flight will make it. Trust is doing what we can and letting the rest go. When we say that we trust that things will work out and do nothing, it is actually hope because everything is out of our hands. We are saying that we do not have any influence on the outcome, thus this is the only option is to hope a higher power (in one form or another, spiritual or government) to step in and save us. We are saved by doing our part and trusting the rest.

We may want the government to help us with things like universal health care and hope it actually happens. Yet even if we get it, it does not work unless we do our side of preventative health (do not get sunburn, over and over again; exercise; do not smoke, etc.). Trust is doing what we can about our health, knowing that everything will be alright because we have taken that first step.

Financially, when we are in a struggle, we need to shift from hoping our situation improves (questionable belief) to trusting that it will (rock-solid belief). This means taking action on a long-term perspective to get to where we want to go because we when we trust, we take action. When we hope, we leave it up to someone else to step in doubting we can make it happen on our own.

If we had a rock-solid knowing (trust) in our financial situation, we would pay for the $60-$100 doctor visit to ensure our long-term success instead of hoping the condition gets better because we are struggling day-to-day hoping our situation improves. Universal health care can help with some of the higher bills. Yet unless we take action on our own to go to the doctor and exercise, universal health care is only a hope that something happens to improve our health and finances instead of trusting if we do our part, the rest will fall in place. Financially, for people in trouble, this is doing our part to cut our spending, increase our income (improving our skills) and becoming a better risk candidate (to lower our interest rates), knowing that other things will fall into place to reduce our situation (or debt).

Thus, even before we hit the financial side of what to do, the key is to look at our beliefs. If we are hoping (doubtful) of a better financial future, we need to transform it to a trusting (knowing). We do this by seeing how much control we have in a situation and knowing that the universe has not stacked a deck of cards against us (where everything goes against us). Thus, look at your situation with a fresh set of eyes and list everything that you can control about your finances. If we are honest, there may be more that we can control than we initially thought of.

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