I know you are scared, money problems are scary. Whether it was fretting about being over 40 and having no plan for retirement or just coming to the realization that you have a pretty good job but still can’t seem to pay all the bills. Maybe anxiety at night over ever finding a career after college with all those loans? The Money Boogeyman comes in many different forms. One thing holds true, ignoring the problem will never make it go away.
Step 1 is always the same, Gather up all the available information. Knowledge is power and you need to be able to see all the cards before you plan your next move.
Literally, get a notebook and a pen. Now go look inside room 237.
Track down your numbers and take stock of your worst injuries. You put the good news on one side; income coming in, savings balance, $ owed to you by Uncle Bob, whatever. Next list the bad news; the bills due, the money already earmarked, $ you owe Uncle Bob…you get the picture.
It will become apparent to you where the most blood is coming from. Treat this condition first. The process known as TRIAGE.
Step 2; Don’t get overwhelmed. You have already put some real work into this just organizing your mess. Don’t lose it now. Nobody is coming to save you or do it for you and it is not easy. The answer might ultimately be that you are screwed, but at least you found your answer.
Step 3; Prioritize the next several actions you need to take. There are many different actions you could take next. What would be the most effective? What is easy enough to change that you should just get it done first? Some things take a long time to bear fruit. Should you get the ball rolling even if there will not be an immediate improvement?
I know it sounds like that is a lot of empty advice without any real help, but before step 3 you were not ready for any real help.
Step 4, call in the BIG GUNS You already know somebody who would be good at straightening out this mess. It just probably isn’t you. But look at where you are now, you have identified the goal and the problem. You have the information to come up with the solution. You understand that this needs to CHANGE. Who are you gonna talk to?
Step 5, You’re scared again. Your Big Gun is probably someone you don’t want to go crawling to so they can fix things again right? You are embarrassed? They talk down to you or gloat over your past money issues? A relative who you don’t like that much?
SORRY but this is the part that takes the most growth and maturity.
Your situation sucks or you wouldn’t even be reading this far and contemplating handing over a life decision to this person.
BUT you are already in a different place. Your list and your pre-thought out mini plan from Steps 1, 2, and 3 show a new and improved side of you. A reset that is miles from where you started.
TRUST ME, I am the Big Gun to more than a few people. I also had a way of being so patronizing and condescending that you swore you would never come to me again with this type of stuff. BUT, when you come to me this way, with the start of strategy and a new attitude, I am way more ready to start over and help, in fact you made me feel good about myself as a money guru. I am also way less likely to be a DICK again.
Step 6, put on your Big Boy Pants and ask for HELP. When you woke up this morning everything was blurry and there seemed to be no way to out. By tonight you could have a solid Plan, a new relationship with an old friend, and a light at the end of the tunnel.