Making Smarter Moves and Feeling Less Guilt

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Guilt is both an absolute and relative experience of truth. A person or society feels guilt based on definition of what’s right and wrong, appropriate or otherwise, good or bad – created as paradigms, practiced as behaviour, expressed as culture and laws.

If in a relationship, a person cannot recognize a wrong done or said, how can he or she admit it, say sorry and repair the damage of an offensive word or action? If these persons handle important jobs in judiciary, education, government, what’s the result? Liberalised drugs, sexual promiscuity, homosexual marriages, accessibility to guns, pornography, destruction of natural resources, exploitation of women and children, organized murder and kidnapping that all violate the law of human life and nature. As a society, people create these through condonation by indifference and patronage.

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There are events that elicit universal and absolute guilt; while some as relative guilt reference to a specific cultures or norms.

Killing people is supposed to elicit absolute and universal guilt. Some cultures justify killing as preservation of faith or ideology. Hence occurrence of war for political supremacy. In the hallmarks of psychology, the absence of guilt in situations warranting remorse as in fraud, infidelity, libel and the like is defined as sociopathic deviation; and to some degree, psychosis-driven for heinous crimes as murder, rape and the like.

In a culture where men are given supremacy of decisions or dominance, a man will not feel guilty that he did not consult his wife/partner on what affects her financially and emotionally; let her make a decision to advance her development. By human equality, it should make society feel guilty they created laws that don’t allow women to make decisions without consent of spouses, when separated or divorced women are ruled out for leadership for typecast of emotional instability.

Shouldn’t society be guilty of typecasting assertive women as dominant, not marrying type or unattractive? Or branding sex as a physiologic function more than an expression of intimacy in love?

For guilt to be experienced by an individual or society, a sensor rings a bell in the mind and heart of each person that censures a wrong action being done or resultant damage. It comes from values aligned to principles. Values are relative, what is chosen by people as good for the preservation of goals.

Even if that sensor rings loud and repeatedly but is not heeded by the mind to halt the action or to rectify the damage based on belief, no guilt can be experienced.

Guilt is a signpost of consciousness – of what is right, productive, good, empowering, balancing and healthy that need to be (re)defined universally first — not by relative values but by principles. Then we can understand what, how and why we experience guilt; and worry if we don’t in situations where we should have had. It starts with deep examination of conscience in consciousness.

“Smart financial moves” that aren’t actually that smart

Insisting on a 15-Year Mortgage

It seems like a smart idea. You get a 15-year mortgage, and you are done with your mortgage debt that much sooner. Plus, you pay less in interest. But is a 15-year mortgage really all that smart? One of the problems with a 15-year mortgage is that you lock yourself into higher payments. This can cause cash flow problems later on. What happens if you are in a tight spot and can’t afford the 15-year mortgage payment? You’ve locked yourself in.

With a 30-year mortgage, you have more options available to you. You have a lower monthly payment (which can be a big thing with cash flow), and you can make extra payments if you want. Make the extra payments to reduce your mortgage debt faster, and if you run into problems, you can scale back without risking foreclosure.

Paying Off Low-Interest Debt ASAP

You should get rid of all debt immediately, right? It’s only smart to stop paying interest to someone else as quickly as possible. But is it really that smart? It depends on the type of debt in many cases. High interest debt like this should be paid off as quickly as possible. But what about student loans or mortgages? I’m paying less than 2% on my consolidated student loan — and I’m getting a tax deduction on the interest. If I’ve got an extra $300 a month, should I put it toward my student loan to pay down a tax-deductible debt that’s only costing me 2%? Or should I put that $300 into my retirement account — which has returned almost 7% annualized since 2006? My money will be put to better use through investing.

Cutting Up the Credit Card

Once you pay off your debt, it’s smart to cut up the credit card and cancel the account, right? You don’t need credit cards, anyway. But what if this isn’t so smart? Cancelling your credit card after paying it off can result in higher credit utilisation, so it can be a not-so-smart move if you are still in debt pay down mode, dinging your credit score. Plus, you lose out on other benefits, like rewards programs that offer you things for free.

Responsible credit card use can do more for your finances than cutting up your credit card. If you can control yourself, keep the credit card.

Taking Advantage of Interest-Free Promotions

It seems like a no brainer: Six months same as cash! You can get a big-ticket item on credit without paying interest. Smart, right? It might be stupid, if you aren’t absolutely sure that you will have that item paid off within the promo period. Interest doesn’t just stop for that time; it’s still calculated. If you haven’t paid off the item within the allotted time, all of the accrued interest is added to the loan, and now it’s part of the balance, so it’s usually compounded going forward. That means a bigger bill later.

Using Up Time to Get Something for Free

A few months ago, a restaurant in town ran a promotion. Come to the restaurant on a certain day and get a free ice cream cone. People were lined up for two hours to get this free ice cream cone which only cost about $1.50. Divide that $1.50 by two, and you are basically standing in line for $0.75 per hour. Instead of waiting in line, I went back another day for the ice cream cone. I stood in line for 10 minutes and paid the $1.50. However, since I value my time at $85 an hour, and was able to get work done for the other 50 minutes, I ended up ahead in the transaction. Don’t make the mistake of missing out on actually earning more money just to get something for free.

Buying Life Insurance for Your Child

When I bought my life insurance policy, I bought a rider that includes enough to cover funeral expenses for my son (and I’m still not sure that was really a “smart” thing to do). The agent tried to sell me on a full-blown life insurance policy for my son, but I passed. It seems like it might seem smart. After all, what if the unthinkable does happen. But unless your child is actually a movie star and providing your family’s income, a child life insurance policy is just wasted money.

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