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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.

4 Responses to “Long-term Trust versus Short-term Hope that Our Financial Situation Improves”

  1. plonkee Says:

    As a Brit (and so a beneficiary of healthcare free at the point of service) I find this interesting. Universal healthcare is such a part of the British entitlement that we cannot truly imagine doing without it - you’d have to be over 65 to have a hope of even remembering anything else.

    Anyway, the comparison between your health and your finances is still good when you take universal healthcare as the best thing that’s ever happened, or think that it would spell the end of the world. And that’s because the cost of poor health is measured in things other than money.

  2. pete Says:

    I was a little hesitant to do something about universal health care in this context because it has such emotions tied to it from both sides of the fence. I am actually on the fence. I see the positives and the negatives.

    Yet, the key message in all this. Is if we are hoping for a solution, we will be sadly mistaken with the results because the solution in having a knowing things will work out which frees us up to do our part of the solution to maximize the results. If we continue to blame the health care industry for all our wows (or banks/credit cards companies for our financial pickle), we will overlook how we contribute to it (because if we have is hope - nothing we can do will help). When we trust (and see things like higher gas prices as a bump in the road), we do our part of the solution and things tend to have a way of working out in the end.

    After I posted, I saw something at CNN/Money as forcasters are projecting lower oil prices in the next 3 to 8 years. So, we just need to trust and do what we can now to ride out the price blip until things calm back down versus giving up and letting things slip because we have given up on the American Dream.

  3. nancy Says:

    Like the Brit above, I’m from Canada where of course healthcare is a given. I guess it depends on what problem Universal HealthCare is trying to solve. In Canada’s case, it’s true — my food and exercise and nutritional choices are not swayed one way or the other by my healthcare (would I make healthier choices if I knew I didn’t have health care? I doubt it - my main motivation for my choices is simply my wellbeing). What it does do, is alleviate the fear of, “what would happen if ABC happened?” It allows me to sleep better at night and get on with living life.

    I honestly don’t think we (canadians) see HealthCare as a Hope, causing us to not take responsibility for our own health. Almost on the contrary, it’s part of the Trust - I know the bare basics are met, which gives me motivation to build on that foundation.

    ….and…. even if some people don’t have it in them (the knowledge, the inner spirit, whatever) to shift to the ‘trust’ rather than the ‘hope’ … does that mean they shouldn’t still have full access to medical treatment?

  4. pete Says:

    Nancy,

    You pointed out the difference between trust and hope.

    “my food and exercise and nutritional choices are not swayed one way or the other by my healthcare (would I make healthier choices if I knew I didn’t have health care? I doubt it - my main motivation for my choices is simply my wellbeing”

    That is trust - that the answer is within not out there somewhere depending on what someone does. Hope is when the answer is out there dependent on something else (e.g., Congress passing universal health care”. As you said,

    “I honestly don’t think we (canadians) see HealthCare as a Hope, causing us to not take responsibility for our own health.”

    Thus, is this saying that by having a knowing the answer is within, you take on more responsibility for your health?

    A question that you raised,

    “if some people don’t have it in them (the knowledge, the inner spirit, whatever) to shift to the ‘trust’ rather than the ‘hope’ … does that mean they shouldn’t still have full access to medical treatment?”

    This is something that was in the back of my mind. I did not write the article to debate whether or not we should have universal health care (just was what triggered some thoughts in my mind). Universal Health Care is a secondary issue (one that I let others debate and trust we come up with a better solution than we have right now).

    I guess the underlying message I was writting about is why do some Americans lay their hopes on just universal health care instead of going to solve the root of the problem, personal responsibility? Thus, most of the articles I have written center around personal responsibility, so that person who does not know how to switch from “hope” to “trust” can learn.

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