Why Salespeople Struggle with Their Income
Over the last 16 years I’ve spoken to audiences hundreds of times on the topic of personal finance in my No Debt No Sweat Money Management Seminar™. I’ve written scores of articles on the topic and the No Debt No Sweat™ book has been a big seller. So it’s fair to say that I’ve got a real interest (and some experience) in the area of money.
The Cold, Hard Facts
Today it’s typical for a young person to go through twelve years of school and four years of college—supposedly being taught what they need to know to be an educated, productive member of society—without ever being shown how to balance a bank account, do a budget, or avoid a bad credit card deal! The facts are stunning:
• Credit card debt nationally is at almost $1 Trillion.
• The average household with credit card debt is carrying a balance of about $15,000. (Source: Debt.org)
• The average monthly car payment is about $500.
• 56 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement. (Money Magazine)
The Contradiction of Being a Salesperson
As a salesperson you have an interesting problem. On the one hand, you are in one of the few professions that literally allow you to determine what your income will be. Many sales folks can control their hours on the job, their expenses, their client list, and how hard they work. But on the other hand, many salespeople barely make a survivable living.
A fair question to ask is: Why? Why do people in the selling profession routinely struggle? I believe there are at least two reasons. One, they do too much impulse spending. Two, they tend to have poor money management habits. Lets briefly look at each of these.
Salespeople Tend to Overspend for Several Reasons
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but see if you identify with any of these reasons:
o Trying to keep up with the Joneses.
o Trying to impress their clients.
o Because of the uncertain nature of the sales business, many salespeople live too much in the here and now.
o Salespeople tend to be risk takers.
o Because they’ve had a slow period and they’re anesthetizing the pain.
o Because they’ve had a great month and they’re celebrating.
The Facts Are Simple
You can’t outspend stupid. Until we learn to control our drive for instant gratification, we will always be in financial (and, personal) pain. The key is to live on less than you earn. Realize that there are really very few essentials. Learn to find joy in your relationships…not your stuff. Remember, you will either control your money…or it will always control you.