Can Lessons From Lance Pump Up Your Finances?


Now that the interview has aired and Lance Armstrong is the poster boy for the dangers of running (or bicycling) from the truth, you knew it was only a matter of time before I figured out a way to turn it into a teachable moment for improving your credit portfolio.

Hounded for years by former teammates and others close to his cycling team who alleged that he used banned drugs to win the Tour de France, Armstrong built a second career out of vehemently denying those rumors and constructing a parallel universe of self-delusion. Even after the U.S Anti-Doping Agency gathered enough evidence of Armstrong’s rule-breaking to strip him of all his medals and ban him from professional racing forever, he still maintained his silence on the matter.

In what may be the worst kept secret since it was revealed that soft drinks make you fat, Armstrong confessed to Oprah that he used illegal drugs.

No doubt, it would have been better for Armstrong’s legacy — and the sales of his Livestrong brand of fitness products — had he come clean years ago. But his example of much-belated truth-telling shows that no matter how horrible things are, no matter how badly we’ve screwed things up, accepting reality and dealing with the truth is always the best way to make things right.

As it goes in professional sports, so it goes in our financial lives. Armstrong was able to string along fans and drug testers for years with a combination of evasion and lies in much the same way consumers ignore that niggling voice that whispers “Whoa, buddy. Are you sure you can afford this?”

Recent events in Washington make the present moment one to reckon. With the federal budget deficit predicted to be just under $1 trillion next year, even deductions long held sacred and considered third-rails of politics, including mortgage interest and charitable deductions , are on “on the table.” The payroll tax holiday has already gone the way of the $5 movie ticket. So, whether it’s capital gains taxes, the Affordable Healthcare Act tithe or increased payroll taxes, higher taxes are as inevitable as the ramifications of global warming this year. Add to this the discretionary (though some feel emotionally obligatory) expenditures to come on Valentine’s Day and the inevitable spate of birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and other celebrations sprinkled throughout the year, April 15th (clearly not a discretionary expenditure day) and Christmas looming but 340 days away — then consider the combination of holiday hangover, rising taxes and continued spending… It starts to feel like a hamster wheel.

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