The late psychologist Abraham Maslow is said to have asked one of his classes: “Which one of you believe that you will achieve greatness?” The class stared back at him, no one answering. Maslow said quietly, “If not you, who then?”

When it comes to taking charge of your money, and your life, why not you? And why not now? When I used to ask my clients why they’ve put off looking at their money, the most frequent answers I got were, “Well, I’m too old.” Or “I’m too young”. Or “I don’t know what to do and how to look at my money”. Or “I’m overwhelmed. I don’t know where to start. So I don’t do anything.”

But statistics tell us that procrastination is the number one reason people fail financially. If you put off looking at your money because you’re scared or you don’t know what to do, or you don’t know who to talk to you, believe me, you are not alone. But you must start taking action. And trust me, you CAN do this. You simply have to be willing to be the one who takes control, and you have to be willing to start now.

I’ve seen this in action countless times. When people step up and stop waiting for someone else to do it for them, and they are willing to start “now,” not later, amazing things can happen. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Louise, perhaps because there are so many stories in the news about people who are in dire financial straits.

Louise was 63 years old when she came to her first Financial Recovery Counseling session with me. She was almost immobilized by fear, and yet she had decided to step up and simply start taking action. This took some faith on her part. When we first met, Louise told me that she was “underemployed and under-earning,” and had used up most of her money. Several years before, she had been through a divorce that gave her a sizable settlement. Following the divorce, Louise—at that time a psychotherapist in private practice—cut her business in half by closing one of her two offices. Then she decided to switch careers and try to build a new practice as a personal development coach.

By the time Louise came to see me, not only had she run through the money she’d received from her divorce, but she was unable to keep making the payments on the large balances she’s run up on her credit cards. She was scared, and she told me, “I never thought I’d be old and poor.” But, as Louise got some basics in place she began to achieve results beyond anything she could have imagined when she first began the Financial Recovery process. (Don’t worry—I’ll share some of her steps in other posts.) Today she is completely out of debt and she has significantly increased her earnings. She even funded a pension plan and paid her income taxes on time.

Freed from the burden of debt and the fear of what will happen to her as she grows older, Louise has begun to blossom, using her energy and creativity for the benefit of both her clients and herself. She also realized that she must continue to move her financial life forward. If not she, who? If not now, when? So why not you? And why not now?

January 24th, 2011 by Karen McCall