Escape the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Lifestyle

Larry Szeliga
Larry Szeliga
Larry Szeliga is the founder of MYOB Publishing, LLC. He is a best-selling author, keynote speaker, and workshop facilitator. Despite a work history of being a successful “C” Level Executive, his personal finances were a mess. They were so poor that they led to: • 1983 – Car repossession • 1987 – House foreclosure• • 1990 – Divorce • 2012 – Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. The bankruptcy was a wake-up call. Szeliga realized that he had been making excuses for his inability to manage his money and accepted that he alone was responsible for his financial instability. He vowed to take control of his money and stop making excuses. Szeliga began reading book after book on financial literacy and personal money management, interviewed experts, and talked to those strapped for cash and those who were financially well off. He developed simple tools that gave him the information he needed to make sound financial decisions. Then he took action to reduce his expenses and increase his cash flow. His persistence and perseverance paid off. In 2019, just seven years and a few days after declaring bankruptcy, Szeliga retired with enough money he never had to work again or worry about his financial future.

The Title of Your Book

Escape the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Lifestyle “Your life is your business and you are the boss!
Escape the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Lifestyle

When I retired in 2019, I started helping a few family members and friends take control of their financial situations. Before long, I was helping family members and friends of family members and friends. I was shocked by the level of financial illiteracy I encountered. A friend suggested I “write a book” to teach others how to achieve financial health and maintain it. “Escape the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Lifestyle” focuses on action, not theory. It gives readers practical tools and templates to use in making better financial decisions. It teaches them how mindset and perseverance can impact financial well-being. It provides step-by-step instructions on collecting and analyzing information needed to make good money management decisions and puts them in control. It shows them how to increase their income and decrease expenses. Readers will learn what to do, how to do it, and understand why they’re doing it. They’ll apply fictitious examples in the book to their circumstances for a successful financial playbook that they can reference for years. I firmly believe that your life is your business, and you are the boss. People are the source of enormous, untapped potential, and my goal is to help them unlock that potential.

What was your biggest surprise or aha moment when writing your book?

“If you want to learn something, read about it. If you want to understand something, write about it.” – Yogi Bhajan This quote hit the nail on the head for me. Trying to explain what, why, and how I did things so that others could easily understand it forced me to look at my explanations more deeply. In reality, I wrote this book three times. Each time, asking friends to read the manuscript and provide pure, unadulterated feedback on the content and the experience. They responded, and my first two efforts were, in my words, abysmal failures. I accepted the feedback, coping with the discomfort and disappointment. However, the third manuscript was the charm. The readers’ reactions were shockingly optimistic, and some even requested follow-up books on various topics I mentioned. My surprise was twofold: 1. How difficult it was to transfer what I thought I had learned into a format that could help others 2. How rewarding it was to take my understanding of personal money management to a much deeper level It was a lot of hard work over two years but well worth the effort.

Who is your ideal audience for the book?

Anyone who wants to “Escape the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Lifestyle” would benefit from reading this book, but only if they use the information provided to help them make good, informed money management decisions. It takes time, dedication, and perseverance, but it is well worth the investment

Tell us, how do you deal with fear?

There are different sources and types of fear. The fear of imminent danger, when you find yourself about to step on a rattlesnake or being hit by a car, and, the fear of not being worthy enough to be loved, accepted, or adequate. To be honest, I wrestled with the fear that my thoughts on money matters would not be accepted, and my knowledge would not be adequate. At times, I even thought of quitting, not writing the book. After all, I am financially comfortable and really don’t have a need to earn money to live. So, why put me at risk of proving I was not adequate? That would be the safe way out, but then I’d be reinforcing the thought that I was not adequate a no-win situation. But then I thought: • I’m not in imminent danger. • I never claimed to be a financial expert. I am simply revealing what I did that helped me escape financial hardships. • People don’t have to read or like what I have written. One of my core beliefs is that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, beliefs, and values. I realized and accepted that: • The foundation of my self-worth is not built on the opinions of others. • I tried to accept the anxiety of fear I feel, and I try not to dwell on past experiences or anticipation of what might or might not happen in the future, but to stay in the present moment. To recognize the feeling as it arises and lean into it. The bottom line for me is, if I can help just one person minimize their financial instability and distress in their life, my efforts are worth the investment of my time and energy. I just have to remind myself that I don’t have to believe everything I fear.

Tell us, how do you deal with rejection?

I’m blessed because I never felt that being rejected was a big deal, so I don’t take it personally. I think this originates from my philosophy that we are all entitled to our own opinions, beliefs, and values, but we don’t have a right to judge others for theirs. I may not share those same opinions, beliefs, and values, but I respect their right to hold them dear. I often find it valuable to try and understand the foundation of their opinions, beliefs, and values, which frequently leads to interesting conversations and expands my view of the world, helping me experience a better, richer, and fuller life. Early in my life, I accepted that we are all entitled to our own ridiculous ideas and that just because they disagree with mine doesn’t mean they are wrong.

Tell us two concepts or ideas you want the reader to takeaway?

If you take control of your money, you can minimize financial instability and distress. If you minimize financial instability and distress, life is much more enjoyable.

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Name one of the biggest challenges you have faced writing your book and how did you overcome it?
My most significant challenges in writing this book will likely not surprise anyone. First was overcoming the fear that I was not qualified to write the book. I’m not an accountant or a financial expert, but I did experience the distress of living paycheck-to-paycheck for most of my adult life. I was fortunate to successfully embark on a journey that took me from bankruptcy to a state of financial health I never thought possible. So, I accepted the concept that I might not be accepted, my book might even be a complete failure, but I saw not trying as a more significant failure. In the end, I felt I was taking one more step that might help others improve their quality of life. My second big hurdle was TIME, or more accurately, a lack of time. I first realized that it was not a lack of time causing me distress; it was a lack of appropriate priorities. I started looking at what I was spending my time doing and how much value it contributed to my life. I determined that 15% of my actions contributed to about 85% of my effectiveness. So, each day I set priorities with a focus on the increasing time spent on the 15 % of what made me effective and less time on the 85% of was I was doing that was not effective. That made a big difference. Additionally, during my efforts to reduce costs, I saved 20 minutes per workday making a cup of coffee at home rather than stopping to buy a cup on my way to work. I also canceled my television service, which freed up at least two hours per day of non-productive time. So, in addition to saving money, I saved time. My third challenge was to remain dedicated to getting it done. At times the frustration was overwhelming. I felt I had something of value to contribute that would help many people, but I couldn’t always see the finish line. I knew I had to persevere and remain faithful to my cause. Sticking with my intentions was perhaps the most challenging obstacle to overcome. Knowing that what I had to say could help thousands of people minimize financial instability, reduce stress, and improve the quality of their lives motivated me to see the project through to completion.

What’s a personal self-talk, mantra, affirmation, or self-belief that contributes to your success?

During my personal struggles to escape the paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle, there were two thoughts that motivated me.
Those two thoughts also energized me to finish this book:

1. “My life is my business, and I am the boss!” 2. “I will not make excuses, I will make it happen!”

Contact Larry Szeliga:

larry at

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