Take charge of your finances: Don’t be the victim.

roller coaster rideEveryday life for the average person can be a rollercoaster ride. There are huge highs and sadly huge lows and the key is to get back out there and grow through perseverance. After all, we all learn by first failing…but this doesn’t make us failures.

Think back to your childhood. Young romance ends badly? It’s the other person’s loss. Spent allowance on something dumb that broke in a week? Chalk it up to a bad manufacturer or deceptive advertising. These are normal thoughts for a child. However, with age, it is healthy to learn from misfortunes, gain knowledge, and form a stable foundation of independent thought so that choices are more probable for success. In the midst of a highly publicized national recession, it’s easier than ever to be a victim. Few can argue that there isn’t a widespread shortage of job opportunities that utilize full labor potentials, raised personal debt loads from increased costs for real estate and education and increasing skepticism in America’s future – thanks to modern news being dominated by negativity.

Here are some ideas to overcome being the victim and taking control of your own financial situation:

  1. Modify your behavior
    Life isn’t fair. Don’t blame others for your financial situation; assume responsibility for where you are and how you got there. The time to start taking responsibility is now. Either you can prepare and ease unexpected circumstances and stay aligned with short and long term goals, or you can leave it up to fate and react to the weight of the world as it continually confines you.
  2. Run your finances like a business
    Click for help - words written with chalk on a blackboardBusinesses have meticulous plans, yet so few individuals do. Any modern successful business pays close attention daily to what comes in and what goes out and makes regular adjustments to stay ahead of trends. Lastly, a business knows well in advance what to do with potential budget shortfalls AND equally important, knows where they will invest surplus (earnings).What you need to do is keep track of EVERYTHING you spend money on EVERY TIME you spend money, then compile data categorizing areas of spending. Just like people trying to lose weight write down calories of food digested daily, you will positively reinforce yourself to avoid buying things you really don’t need. Challenge yourself to set goals to reduce certain categories to be more in line with other emerging or neglected areas (such as retirement savings). Reduced spending leads to emergency savings, which is a non-negotiable step before you can be serious about paying down debt without simultaneously incurring it. Over time, your surplus savings can be used to invest.
  3. Don’t fear change
    If you’re not happy, chances are the world will not change around you enough to make you so without effort on your part. Sure, a great few will win the Powerball or stumble across a Picasso or Honus Wagner baseball card in their attic, but the rest of us need to see that change really is the catalyst to progress. Change can also be scary and big change often takes place with a series of smaller adjustments that are needed to ensure its value, definitely not the product of a one day declaration. For instance, if you desire more education, you could quit your job, enroll into a full time program, and use student loan money to replace your working income without changing lifestyle. However, it would be a lot less scary to take one night class at a time while increasing budget surplus, paying down debt and or/adding to savings. That would allow you to ease into a high class load while retaining the value of the education in not burdening yourself with student loans.
  4. Reject advertising
    Hundreds of billions of dollars are spent on advertising in the United States each year. The general objective is to create a need for something that you can most likely live without. Advertisers accomplish this need conversion by triggering emotions tied to self worth, safety, prosperity, love, and acceptance. Then there are advertisers who target victims directly and these items or servicers are usually substandard or predatory if useful at all. Payday loan, rent to own, high interest auto finance, subprime mortgage, and debt settlement companies are not in business to help people who fit outside the lines of standard lending guidelines. Rather, they exploit people to the maximum extent of profitability possible.
  5. Pay attention to financially successful people
    You know people that are better with money than others…people you know that make decent incomes but don’t spend money like it’s a contest. They don’t pull out credit cards to buy everyday items and might comment once in a while about the stock market. These folks can be great role models, while others who are just good at spending money and recycling debt can really only provide you with experience.

You have so much potential to change, to rid yourself of stress, relish in self-confidence for taking control and in the process, become someone who changes the world around you by motivating others!

There is no reason to go through life consistently disappointed and without a plan to make each day a step towards self liberation. So take charge right now!

LSS Financial Counseling can help you take control of your finances. Call us today at 888.577.2227 to talk to one of our experienced Financial Counselors. We’re here to help you conquer your debt and achieve whatever your financial goal(s) may be. Don’t wait – take action today!

Author Tim Fischer is a Certified Financial Counselor with LSS and he specializes in Foreclosure Prevention Counseling.

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Posted in Financial Planning, Financial Wellness

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