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You’ve Been Programmed to Fail Financially … and it’s Not Your Fault

financial programming Mar 10, 2019

If you’re like a majority of the population, it’s likely you’re living on what I call Pain Island. More than three-quarters of people in this country are living paycheck to paycheck and fighting every day to keep their heads above water.  

This is a massive epidemic affecting more people than all diseases combined. In fact, this problem is so severe that it’s the root cause of our most serious health problems. More on that in a moment.

Here’s the deal: Regardless of your income, if you’re living with financial fear, stress, and anxiety, it’s not your fault. You’ve been programmed to fail … financially. (Check out this story and see if you can relate!) 

Who I Am?

I’m John MacGregor. I’ve been involved with the financial industry for over 25 years. I’ve consulted with, advised, and assisted thousands of people through the years.

I’ve been on TV programs, online, podcasts, and have spoken at numerous conferences and seminars around the world, extolling the importance of financial health. I’ve worked 90-plus hour weeks and sacrificed vacations and holidays when clients were in a world of hurt.

I have been dedicated to my profession. Yet what I’ve discovered, what I’ve uncovered, and what I’ve learned through these two-and-a-half decades is that I wasn’t really helping my clients.

Not the way they needed. Not the way they deserved.

Yes, I did my job and I did it well. I am highly educated, experienced, and knowledgeable. I can devise a comprehensive financial plan incorporating the spectrum of personal finance related matters and help set you up with an ideal investment portfolio without question.

But what I realized was the problem isn’t in creating a financial plan, building savings, the right investments, or following a debt snowball payment plan. (Read more about my story here.)

I discovered the real underlying problem sat much deeper. It clings to us like a virus.

And it is literally killing us more and more every day.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re scraping by on $30,000 a year or raking in $230,000 or more; many Americans are struggling to survive from one paycheck to the next.

If you’re like most of my clients, you’re smart enough and want to do the right thing with your money, but somehow you never seem to get your financial house in order. Because, in fact, everyone has the exact same problem when it comes to money.

Most people have an unhealthy relationship with money – and they’re using money to dull their pain rather than using it to fulfill their purpose. 

It’s heartbreaking once you realize this. Absolutely devastating … yet it’s not easy to accept, especially for those ‘higher earners.’

“How could this be?”

Let’s talk about it. 

How Did We Get Here?

We didn’t get here by accident. It was slow, methodical, and rife with a lethal combination of greed, ignorance, naivety, and just plain arrogance.

No matter what your financial situation, no matter how much stress you’re feeling at the moment, keep in mind … it’s not your fault.

You’ve been programmed to fail (financially).

But I can assure you it’s not all doom and gloom. There’s a lot of hope and possibility, you just need the right solutions. Stay with me here.   

When was the last time you recall a class being offered in high school about financial topics like balancing your checkbook, the true cost of credit card purchases, the importance of a high credit score or even prudent investing?

Those classes don’t exist. It’s not your imagination; you didn’t miss them (read more on that here).

The financial industry is focused on serving a certain percentage of people who have money and their primary answer to the problem is to sell more financial products and services.  For most people, financial products and services are not the answer. They need something more, something different.

You can go into just about any major bookstore in the country and find mountains of self-help and financial guides offering basic solutions that will help you get out of debt and live in “financial peace”.

The problem is the well-meaning people who write these books and offer these quick-fix solutions aren’t really solving the underlying problem that’s causing so much financial stress and strain for millions of Americans.

Sure, some of the information contained in these books is reasonable and work to some degree for some people, but if they actually solved the underlying problem, we wouldn’t find the numbers of Americans struggling, living paycheck to paycheck continuing to increase. (Oh, and it’s not about the ‘big, mean, greedy corporations’ keeping people poor. That’s a political ploy designed to distract and divide us. Remember, 'a house divided cannot stand'.)

Easy credit is another culprit. When credit cards were being handed out to college students who had no income, that was a clear sign we were on the wrong path.

When was the first time you got a credit card? If you’re like a growing number of Americans, it was probably right out of high school or even before you graduated. Maybe your mother and father decided this would be a good way to teach you fiscal responsibility.

Did it work? In most cases … no. In fact, in most cases it was the beginning of the end. The start of an unforgiving and merciless trap that rarely -if ever- lets go. 

For the rest of us, though, it was during freshman orientation or that “Welcome Week” where we headed to the student center and saw the booths set up by major credit card companies with applications and banners boasting “guaranteed approval” hanging nearby. Or, “sign up here and get a free t-shirt”.  Nowadays, it’s a guy standing at a booth in the airport saying, “If you sign up today you’ll instantly earn 25,000 frequent flier miles!”

What a bargain! Sign me up! Spend money and rack up valuable miles! 

This idea of easy credit has allowed us to purchase things we didn’t need with money we didn’t have, and this debt -equivalent to a rope around our neck- is often something we struggle to pay off for years, thus preventing us from ever really attaining a life of peace, joy and fulfillment. 

Any of this mentioned in school? Nope.

Forget credit card debt for a moment, though … the biggest financial burden on our population is student loan debt.

Student loan debt currently stands at $1.5 trillion. Next to mortgages, student loan debt is the biggest source of personal debt in the U.S. This debt is staggering.

It has the potential to cripple the entire U.S. economy. It has the potential to slow down and even reduce to rubble the prospects of an entire generation.

If you want to understand why growing numbers of young adults support the ideas of socialism, it’s all rooted in debt. Student loans are crippling generations of us and they never go away. And you can’t file bankruptcy to escape student loan debt. (Learn more about the impact of student loan debt here.)

Our society has convinced us that the only way to get ahead in life is to get a college degree. That’s a complete fallacy, yet these academic institutions are focused in encouraging students to dig deep into debt by dangling the ‘diploma carrot’ in our faces, yet they have zero interest in actually teaching you skills you can actually use in the real world. 

Think about it: a majority of the degrees now offered in almost every college and university lead to jobs that don’t pay enough to pay down their debt in a favorable matter.  In fact, the imbalance between the cost of the degree and its resulting salary is so immense, the student may never pay off that loan. 

It’s a travesty.

I attended some very good schools in my life. In fact, I was fortunate enough to attend one of the finest high schools in the country and although it took me eight years to graduate from college (that’s another story), I managed to graduate from a very good university. Of all those classes, all those books, and all those long, grueling nights studying, I can honestly say -without exception- the most important class I ever took, the class that taught me the most valuable skill that I still use today, was typing.  A huge shout out to my typing teacher, Mr. Kusunoki! 

That’s a sad testimony to the value of college for a growing number of Americans.

This is a modern problem. Not much more than a decade ago, the average college graduate owed just $20,000 in student debt. Today, it has skyrocketed to $37,000. Student loan debt is growing faster than American workers’ earnings.

More than 2 million Americans owe over $100,000 in student loans. Imagine beginning life that far behind already. Many of these young adults thought they would be improving their life with a college education but end up working for the next 20 or 30 years just to pay off the loan!

Want to see more about the student loan crisis and how it’s impacting our financial lives? Check out Part 2 of this series: … By the Numbers. 

The Rose-Colored Glass of Retirement

When people want to talk about retirement, I call it the 3-legged stool:

  • Pension plans
  • Private savings
  • Government trust funds

It’s not a stool designed for three legs; it was meant for four legs, but now you’ve got to try and balance on three.

Kick one more out and guess what? You crash and burn.

A few decades ago, you could have managed to fake your way through life and retire relatively comfortably. Companies and governments could still back up their pension promises.

Not anymore. Pensions are falling apart. Most Americans have barely any savings. Social Security is expected to run out in 15 years.

Learn a bit about the 3-legged stool by the numbers

Keeping Up with the Jones’s 

Currently, with the proliferation of social media, suddenly everyone is living their lives through a social media lens and what we tend to see is all the best of another person’s life, their smiles, their joys, their children, their nice house, gorgeous cars, and so forth.

Rarely do people see their struggles. It creates this illusion that everyone is doing amazing and if we don’t measure up, we better do something about it!

We follow the Kardashians or Jay-Z or name any famous person to see what they’re wearing or driving and we’ve become so focused on emulating them we never give a second thought to spending our hard earned money on frivolous purchases. Billions of dollars are spent every year on credit cards to be someone we’re not. 

We’re running just to keep up. We struggle and put ourselves in deeper debt to buy the bigger house, the nicer car, the fancier clothes, the more comfortable, hip shoes, and even pursue vacations we have no business affording, at least not at that time.

Soon after we make these purchases are feelings of inadequacy re-emerge and we’re off to buy more stuff or upgrade what we already have.  It's a constant strain to keep pace --- and still,
you always feel you’re losing ground. 

Then, when we’re feeling all this financial stress and strain and pain, we turn to other outlets to try and numb it. That can lead to all kinds of addiction and unhealthy lifestyle choices, and suddenly everything spirals out of control.

The Outcome Is Literally KILLING Us!


This is all leading us to growing stress, disorder, chaos, and poor health.

This feeling just sits there.  It’s relentless. It refuses to let go. No matter how far or fast you run, no matter how desperate you scrape and claw at it, the pest refuses to relent.

You can’t find peace.

That’s what it feels like, doesn’t it? No matter how much you earn, how many hours of overtime you put in, or how much you’ve invested and saved, this dangerous, menacing force hangs with you every step of your life.

Financial stress.

I refer to it as Pain Island and a majority of us are living on it. Right now. Every day.

It’s the stress and strain caused by our finances. It affects those with solid incomes and those without work. It hampers the diligent who’ve paid their bills on time since high school and those who have been reckless with their earnings.

This financial stress and strain does not discriminate and though we’re surrounded by mountains of financial books promising peace, prosperity, and hope, the problem is only getting worse!

Learn more about how financial stress is affecting our health, relationships, mind, and lives … By the Numbers!

The Bottom Line

What this all boils down to is that we don’t have a lack of information. But, it’s not information that will change things. The problem is out of control and it’s only getting worse, even as we have access to more and more information and other resources.

You can simply do a quick search online for ‘financial peace’, ‘how to get out of debt’, and so forth and be met with thousands upon thousands of websites, all offering the same promises.

But the traditional solutions don’t work.

If they did, we wouldn’t be in a growing mess saddled with exploding debt. Heck, look at our government and you see our political leaders continue to dig our nation deeper and deeper into debt. Great role models for the rest of us, right?

We live in a country that is rooted in spending, in debt, and without any real financial foundation of healthy living established early in life or at any level of our government structure.

It is not an information problem; it is behavioral (read more about this here).

Your behaviors are based on certain beliefs you hold and build your life on. When it comes to our finances, harmful beliefs run rampant and you’ve probably experienced at least some of them, which include, for example:

  • “I’ll never be good with money.”
  • “I’m not good with numbers.”
  • “The system is rigged and unfair.”
  • “I didn’t come from money.”
  • “The rich are greedy.”
  • “There’s more to life than money.”
  • “With two jobs and a family, I don’t have time to take care of my finances.”
  • "Someone else will take care of me/us."
  • "What's spending just a little more money going to hurt?"
  • “I have to buy this.”
  • “I can worry about the future later.”
  • “With my luck, it will never work out.”

These and many other harmful beliefs are running in the background of your mind without your conscious awareness.  These beliefs are essentially on autopilot and they’re dictating what you think, believe, behave, how you act and who you become.  In a way, beliefs have become people’s identity and this identity has become their unhealthy sanctuary.

I Have Found the Solution

I’m not promising an overnight fix here. That simply doesn’t exist, not if you want genuine, real, lasting financial peace. What I am telling you is that through all these years of experience, digging deeper to find the real root of the problem, and discovering the neurobiological underlying focus, I’ve discovered a hope-inspiring, motivating reality: there is a solution.

I found that solution and I wish to share it with you.

First, though, we need to understand why this problem exists and where the solution lies. The problem is in our head and the solution is rooted in science. You don’t need a science degree to understand it, though, but you do need to take some initial steps and come to realize that the beliefs you’ve accumulated and are stuck in your head may very well be the cause of your financial strain and stress today.

Through my years of studying this, it is the root cause of the greatest epidemic our society faces.

It may not be your fault why you’re currently living on Pain Island and experience financial stress and strain - no matter your income or net worth, but if you don’t acknowledge the situation, admit to where you are right now, and commit to changing your beliefs around and about money, then your future will be on you.

If you want to experience the kind of true, lasting financial peace you’ve only dreamt about to date, I can help. It’s a process, but it can completely transform your life and bring you real peace, comfort, and joy.

Want to know where you are right now? Take my free assessment now.

Are you ready: Yes! Sign Me Up!

Your new life awaits … and I’ll be with you every step of the journey!