Are you a Financial Zombie?Let me share an initial meeting I had this week with a late 30’s married couple, that came from a client referral. The meeting plan was to discuss their investments, 401(k) and retirement.

Maybe they look like you, or your children or friends or this looks like where you are headed.

They are college educated, both working, and making nearly $200,000 together with have two children ages 6 and 8. In the next few years they will both turn the corner and move into their 40’s. They live in a new house in an outer suburb, both drive cars less than three years old, and they take several vacations each year.

Yet, if they had a financial emergency that required an outlay of $2,500 cash they might not be able to meet the emergency, in spite of having over $200,000 in IRA’s and 401(k) accounts.

While they appear to be successful, they are just part of a growing population between the ages of 30 to 50 that are living paycheck to paycheck. According to a report from the Consumer Federation of America and the Consumer Planner Board of Standards, Inc., 38% of households live paycheck to paycheck.

They are the Financial Zombies. Just like sparklers, they are bright and enjoyable but in a financial moment’s notice they fizzle out quickly.

After about 20 minutes of a them leading an overview of their personal finances, I posed the question, “What is your Financial Life Plan?”

The couple looked at me like I had horns growing out of my head and I was the devil. They looked at each other and then asked, “What do you mean Financial Life Plan?”

“I answered their question by asking the most important question that should always be asked.


Why did you buy the house in _____________?

Why do you commute 1 hour each way to a job?

Why are you not taking the three simple steps to Be a Financial Olympian?

During your saving and investing journey, always be mindful of your WHY.

In the next thirty minutes our conversation, we explored these questions and discovered that while they were smart people, the idea of financial planning was “overwhelming.” How could they decided what the goals were going to be for the rest of their life and then try to decide when they were going to retire?

The idea of planning had become such a burden they ignored the idea that life could be better with a couple simple changes.

Working together, they are taking the three steps to Be a Financial Olympian.

The path to becoming a Financial Olympian begins with three steps. While they are simple, they require commitment and consistency. This is not a budget it is a Spending Plan.


Step 1 – Save 10% of your gross pay each pay period until you have a year’s gross salary. This will be your emergency and base for lifetime savings, and over the years you will realize how important this simple step is.

Step 2 – Participate in your retirement plan provided by your company beginning with your first day. Start with at least 3% and increase each year by 1% until you are contributing the maximum. If your company does not have a retirement plan, then start an IRA and follow the same plan.

Step 3 – DO NOT USE CREDIT CARDS – Credit Cards are a cancer on your financial health and rob you of opportunity and your future.


Becoming a Financial Olympian begins with measuring your progress. For our clients we provide a service that gives them a weekly update on these goals and their progress.

If you would like to tryout the same service as our clients, then email me and we will set your weekly progress and accountability portal up. Cost – there is none.


It is the first step toward escaping the world of the Financial Zombies.

Leave your comments below or email me how you are escaping the clutches of the Financial Zombies.

Michael Tannery CPA CDFA™ AIF® ● CEO
Registered Principal
Be A Financial Olympian

PS Ready to get started and want to schedule an initial no cost consultation?

Click here to schedule an appointment

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