HISTORY 101: IN TODAY’S FINANCIAL JUNGLE, APPLY LESSONS LEARNED FROM VIETNAM

Don’t think the “old rules” still apply in this new world.  Take, for instance my practice areas of bankruptcy and debt settlement, and bear with me while I compare and contrast this with the historical lessons from Vietnam.  My understanding is that the overarching cause of failure in Vietnam was a lack of a clear, well-defined objective.  You simply cannot effectively lead forces without knowing which proverbial “hill” to take, or whether you should take the hill to begin with. The result was countless casualties for our troops and nothing to show for the sacrifice. 

“Financial wars” are very much affected by the same melee in the financial jungle. Creditors attack from all sides, bombarding you with lawsuits and collection attempts in full open assault. At the center of the battle is the need to survive and protect your family. The casualties are peace of mind, rational thought and logical actions. Never mind Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), today, individuals are plunged into Financial Crisis Stress Disorder. FCSD symptoms include anxiety, shame, hopelessness, fear and irrationality.  

I deal with countless families who have waded through the past two and a half years.  Yes, it’s been at least that long.  My, how time flies when we’re all having fun… they have conducted “police actions” just like they did in Vietnam—rooting out the credit “snipers” by sending a little money here, and a little money there.  The proverbial “band-aid” on the bullet wound.  Resources are now low, and income simply isn’t enough to cover “all” of the family’s monthly expenses regardless of how many times they are reviewed and examined.  Decisions and prioritization need to be made.  To compare this to Vietnam, after the war dragged on in what seemed like forever in hell’s vent-pipe.  America grew weary of the war, the protests, and funding it. Leaders, wary of blame and fearful of escalating more failure, were trapped in a web of indecision and apathy.  

The scenarios and emotional duress are much the same for individuals in financial crisis today. It’s a war, and victory will go to the best prepared, both financially and emotionally. Those who fail to recognize the gravity of the situation end up getting slaughtered on the battlefield. Hand wringing and wishing for a better tomorrow are not only pointless actions; they can be the nails in your coffin. Getting sound legal advice and aid exponentially increases your chances of survival and regaining financial stability.   

Lessons learned?

  • Be decisive, form a plan and act on it.
  • Do it while you still have ammunition and supplies.
  • Get good advice from the field, and consult the best advisors. You are not an army of one.
  • Face the facts- denial will drown you.
  • Never enter a fight that you just can’t win on your own.

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