This past summer was not the best for my family when it came to financial manners. With growing and constantly eating children, new school clothes and supplies, and a busy schedule where any chance to earn additional money to pay off debts fizzled in the heat, my goal toward financial freedom seemed even further away then it did during the first half of the year. This scenario plays out across millions of households as those in charge of finances shake their heads at their growing or stagnant debt and wonder how to find the light at the end of the tunnel.
In today’s world of instant gratification we all look for a quick solution to our problems, and at this moment there aren’t any. We still have to be patient and work hard to correct the past mistakes we made or were put upon us in order to raise our heads from the chilly waters of the virtual swimming pool. To do this we need to take a page out of our children’s lives and do three things… Stop. Look. Listen.
You’re traveling on an unknown road and have no idea where you are. Not even the GPS built into your smartphone gives you any idea. At this point you have 2 choices – keep going and get more lost, or stop, take your bearings, and try to get back to where you were in the first place to try again.
The same thing can be said when it comes to a daunting financial situation. You can continue on the same path of monetary misuse, possibly leading you some dire circumstances like bankruptcy or foreclosure, or you can stop, examine where you are, and trace your steps back to a point where you were financially safer. This may mean cutting back on unnecessary expenses, eliminating some items, or creating a budget.
In situations where one gets lost, others tell them to look around their environment for something familiar. Perhaps an object they noticed along the way that will lead them back to their starting point. It’s the same thing when trying to fight your way back to a stable financial ground. Look through your current financial statements to see if anything catches your eye as a glaring error or reminder of how you once spent money. This necessary review can help put you back on track to clearing your debts and allow you to see the light at the end of the tunnel once again.
This advice comes in 2 forms – listening to yourself and to others. Sometimes the return to a stable financial life comes from the advice of the people that love and worry about you, whether it be a spouse, parent, or even your children. Internally, listening to your inner voice can help you make the right decisions in the way you spend money. Be wary of listening to everyone and everything, because the advice may be given for selfish rather than selfless reasons.