Wow! We are so hard on ourselves aren’t we? We think we are supposed to get it all right the first time. Relationships! Careers! Finances! Now, tell me, where in the owners manual of your life, does it say that you had to get it all right the first time? As far as I am concerned, whatever age you are when you ‘get it right’ is the right age. Sure, it would be great to figure it our in your 20’s, or 30’s, but in your 50’s is better than in your 60’s and your 60’s is better than in your 80’s…you get the point. I have people of all ages coming to me for advice. Some learn early, some not so so much. And it is nothing to be ashamed of.
It will be ok when….
We get into financial trouble for a lot of reasons. Sometimes it is a product of our upbringing, you can only really learn what you are exposed to, so if your parents (or other role models) were not-so-good with money, how would you expect you would be.
Other times, we lean on the side of optimism (an admirable trait but one that can lead to temporary blindness, aka avoidance), overspending or using too much credit assuming we will be ok when… (you can finish the sentence.. when you get a job, get back to work, get your tax refund, the kids move out, etc.).
And sometimes it is simply poor decision making. The salesperson made it sound like you could afford it, the bank told you that you qualify for that level of mortgage.
The reason you are in financial trouble doesn’t matter so much (well, maybe it does), it is what you are going to do about it that matters the most. But doing something about it does depend on knowing what the issue was that led to the situation.
But what can I do?
The most important thing you can do is make the decision to turn your finances around.
Often that starts by asking others for help. And by taking an inventory of your options.
If it isn’t completely obvious, you need to determine where your challenges lie.
Do you impulsively spend, leaving you short for every day/month expenses.? Try Setting up a simple 3-step spending plan,
Do you rely on credit to make ends meet each month? If so, you need to put a plan in place to live within your means.
Maybe you have absolutely no idea where your money goes, in which case tracking your expenses is a crucial first step.
The key is to take action. If you ignore the problem, I guarantee you, it will NOT fix itself. There is always a solution. Sometimes you just need a helping hand to show you the way.
Mary Ann Marriott
aka Dr Debt