What’s your favorite kind of soap? Mine is Dove Cucumber and Green Tea. It is probably the most delicious smelling object on the face of this earth. But don’t be fooled, today’s blog title isn’t about hand soap, shampoo, body wash, or any other kind of personal hygiene product. Nope, I’m talking about the type of soap you need to obtain excellent financial hygiene.
Remember how I shared with you, on Friday, my weirdest job? It involved me working in a mental hospital. Part of my daily responsibilities involved documenting my interactions with my patients. The SOAP method is a way to do that. It stands for…
S ubjective information about patient (competence, stability, mood)
O bjective observations acquired by observations, tests, etc
A ssesment of patient’s current situation
P lan to ensure further stability
It’s pretty straightforward right? Every shift I used the SOAP method to write two or three paragraphs about each of my patients. Could you imagine how different our financial situations would be if we applied this simple little tool to our own lives. I’d like to introduce you to Sara. She is a shoe-a-holic that lives a frivolous lifestyle, but doesn’t have the income to back up her expenses. She is surely heading towards financial ruins. Let’s take a look…
Sara struggled to maintain her composure as she walked in to the Nordstrom shoe section.
She began foaming at the mouth at the sight of Steve Madden boots. She was observed saying “Lay off my shoes woman or I’m gonna have to drop kick you” to another female customer standing near her.
Sara is financially psychotic and suffers from an intense addiction to “cute” shoes.
Slap Sara across the face. Teach her about the impact her shoe fetish is having on her overall financial health. Educate through counseling. Slap again if behavior repeats.
That probably wasn’t the best example, but I think you get the point. The SOAP method is a quick and efficient way to not only diagnose a patient, but also establish a game plan for improvement.
Could you imagine how different our financial lives would be if we knew our every move was being monitored? Being that my former patients were in an in-voluntary facility, they didn’t have the luxury of hiding behind their choices. They were observed and documented 24 hours a day/7days a week. Yes it may be a little “big brother-ish”, but it really did help the majority of the patients get better.
While I don’t think observation and regulation should be enforced (everyone has the right to ruin their life if they want) just think how different some people’s financial decisions would be if their financial status was public record. If they couldn’t hide behind the facade of credit cards/mortgages/and car loans. Perhaps then, and only then, we would transition from a society of credit, to a society of stability.
Do you know a “Sara” that needs to take a financial shower and is in some serious need of SOAP? I can think of a few people I’m close to that have stinky financial habits.