As we start 2019 some of us are faced with a dramatic financial crisis – “What am I going to do now that I do not have Income as I was planning?” This could be because the Federal Shut Down or that my employment plan I developed in 2018 has not been fulfilled, layoffs, seasonal work or a myriad of other events. But the biggest question now is “How am I going to address this situation”?
If there was not a plan in 2018, today may be the best day to start a new beginning by putting a plan together for the current situation or planning for the future in case you do become part of another type of “Shut Down” Plan.
The vast majority of clients I see do not have anything set a side for any type of an emergency, let a lone a reduction of income no matter how short or long in duration. Seasoned financial planners are all in agreement that you should have from 3 to 6 month of expenses in an emergency fund. More conservative planners will change ‘expenses’ into INCOME, especially if you are living paycheck to paycheck using all available funds each month.
“Well how can I do that if I am using everything to live on?” The answer could be a new start! Ask someone else to help you take a look at the past behaviors, overspending, or lack of planning that created a financial struggle. Take that drastic but needed step to really look at what needs to change for you be able to start saving something.
The Fresh Start may be going over all your financial records see where your money is going and if it is going where you really want it to go. A phrase that has stuck with me from one of my first trainings on basic budgeting was “Put a plan together to give your money an address to go to rather trying to figure out where it went”. Develop a Monthly Spending Plan – it sounds better than a budget! How do you want to spend your money? What is important to you, what are your needs that need to be covered, what are your goal you would like to achieve?
There are all sorts of apps, books, tools and methods that are out there that work, but they need to be what you want to use, what you are comfortable with and something that will not cost you anything to implement.
I relate budgeting to my weight control plan. Over the past couple of months I have not taken the time to really focus on what I was eating or when or if I was exercising. The result of my behavior is carrying around a few extra pounds that mysteriously appeared. Now I know what to do, I started a structured plan 3 years ago, achieved weight loss goal in 7 months, (one of the many times I have done it). I even have “Free Life Time Membership” to an organization that helps me maintain a healthy life style as long as I maintain my goal and follow the plan. I need to keep in line with my daily FOOD BUDGET – I need to track, be aware of what I am doing every day and when I do so I once again find that the plan works.
You can take the first step and call the Center for Financial Resources at 605-330-2700 for a financial review – have some one walk you through your income available to spend, review your monthly expenses and plan how you want to spend your money, and then come up with a plan to be debt free in less than 5 years.
It WILL take courage to make the call! It will take hard work and perhaps many changes in your lifestyle, but you can do it. You can achieve your goals. The financial counselors at Center for Financial Resources are on your side. We are here to help you. Think of us as your Financial Coach. Now be realistic and know that Coaches want you to be successful and they may have you doing the basics to build your skills, challenging you to stretch comfort zones so that you can be able to achieve the unbelievable. Tony Dungy, the coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Super Bowl Champs Baltimore Colts has said “The first step toward creating an improved future is developing the ability to envision it.”
Come in and have us help you envision the plan that can help you avoid the ‘Shut Down” fear.
written by Randy Rehling
images courtesy freedigitalphotos.net