Thursday, October 27, 2011

There's Always Another Way

We all think we can do this alone. But this is not true. At some point, you might think that getting out of debt is easy. That all you have to do is just start paying it off. But there's more to it than numbers. For example, you suddenly hear that a family member who lives far away has a serious illness and you have no money to fly up to see her. Since you closed out all your credit cards, you think, "I'm just going to have to get another credit card." That's when you cave and start using unsecured debt again.

By now you're thinking the Financial Genie has got it all wrong. And thinking all is lost, you give in.

Before you go out and hit the credit card campus, you do have several options. One such is to call one of your buddies, the smart one who admires you for what you're doing to get out of debt, the one you call to bookend as described earlier. Don't rush to judgement, as you may well be able to use your prudent reserve in the interim. Another possibility is to sell something you really don't need or use any longer. Collateralizing something of value that someone else wants is a way to get some money for real emergencies. This is not the time to get deeper into debt.

Support can come from a financial advisor, a friend, a mentor or therapist. You want to choose people who are themselves solvent and not using unsecured debt, someone who is financially healthy. This does not mean you can borrow from them, but rather use them as support, the kind of support that understands you as you tell your story. If all you can find is someone who listens well, you're going to feel much better about what you're going through. Some support may come from family. Mainly, you're looking to talk it out and gain some insight. You're not going to borrow money. There are also online, phone and face to face support groups as well. One such is Debtor's Anonymous which deals directly with these issues.

A word of caution about getting help from your employer. It happened to me when I was having car problems. The repair costs were out of this world. I was talking to someone about this at work when my boss walked past. He brought me into his office and offered to help me out financially. I thanked him but told him I don't borrow money. He was understanding and kind and said, "Well, it's there if you need it." I did not take him up on his offer because it's never a good idea to owe your boss money. They have power over you as the employee anyway. But when you owe them money, that power grows incrementally and you're also seen as someone who doesn't know how to handle personal finances. That and I really didn't want to use unsecured debt. Though I was building up my prudent reserve, it hadn't grown to the amount I needed to pay for the repairs.

Money can be used as power in other areas. In a marriage or partnership, when one is not working and the other one is paying for everything, there is the danger that power and control will come into play. Money issues can be deal breakers. If you're solvent, not using unsecured debt and earning money that is yours, there's really not a problem. But, if only one person is working, and the other is not or is earning very little, this can cause problems down the road. These are issues that can be easily resolved as long as the partners can come to some agreement. This is not to say that once in awhile when one or the other is out of work and needs financial support while they're actively looking for work, that the other partner can't help them out. It does mean that even in difficult times, using unsecured debt will throw you a curve ball.

Staying the course, riding it out and getting support for those emergencies or protracted unemployment, will help keep you on the right track. Just know that you're investing in you and you are important.

To avoid vagueness, try a little clarity. Look at your numbers daily. ~ The Financial Genie

No comments:

Post a Comment