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5 Reasons You Should Get Your Financial Act Together NOW

When we look at our list of “whys” for being debt free and financially independent, we’ve got all sorts of fluffy, encouraging stuff on there, such as wanting to do it for our kids and being more able to help others. But if those fluffy reasons aren’t working for you, you might try scaring yourself into financial stability. There are many cold, hard reasons for why now is the time to get your financial act together.

Only you know what you need to do to improve your financial situation. Maybe you’ve got a boat load of debt. Maybe your savings account is empty. Maybe you’re well behind on retirement savings. Whatever the case, it might be that you know you need to do something but you just can’t get the motivation to do it. Hopefully these reasons will help.

Money Problems Cause People to Behave Out of Character

One glance at the news and it’s evident that financial instability causes all sorts of other trouble besides not being able to pay the bills. I regularly read stories in the news about people that commit all types of horrible crimes because they don’t have the money that they need.

People murdering family members, co-workers and others because they can’t deal with the financial stress anymore. They take their own lives to avoid having to wake up one more day to money problems. They resort to rioting in the streets (like in Venezuela currently) because of unaffordable food and other necessities. Money is one of those things that is no big deal – until you live without enough for a long enough period of time.

Put yourself in a better financial situation before “long enough” sends you over the edge.  And in the meantime, remind yourself that no money problem is worth hurting yourself or others. It’s only money. It comes. It goes. And you’ll get through it.

Money Problems Prevent You from Being Able to Buy the Things You Need

I spoke in this article about loved ones who couldn’t provide the basics for themselves because of money problems.  When you’re struggling for money and deep in debt, basics like car maintenance costs, medical costs and new clothes are often out of reach. Many times you’re faced with having to choose one need over another.

We spent many years living paycheck to paycheck. Money was always tight. Some months we would make it. Not much left over, but we had enough to pay the bills. In those months we’d be all “See? It’s okay. You’re doing fine,” with ourselves. The “fine” would hold us over and lull us into not working to change our spending habits. Until another bad month came again. Then we’d be freaking out all over again.

Don’t allow yourself to remain in that situation. Get angry at your debt and make the necessary sacrifices needed to pay it off quickly.

Everything you need to know about managing your money: Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide To Money

Debt Prevents You From Achieving Your Dreams

When you’re deep in debt, every dream in your life is limited or out of reach. Do you dream of travel? Debt takes away your ability to afford it. Dream of working at a non-profit helping others?  You won’t be able to afford the cut in pay if you’ve got debt payments. Dream of paying for your child’s college education? Dream of paying for a home with cash, or buying a sports car, or retiring early?

All of those dreams are likely out of the question if you’re saddled down with huge debt payments. Dump that debt and start working toward saving for your dreams.

How to define – and achieve – your dreams: Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence: Revised and Updated for the 21st Century

Debt Prevents You from Helping Others

One of the main reasons Rick and I want to be debt free is so that we can write a check on a whim to anyone who needs it that we feel led to help. Recently, a couple in our church needed cataract surgery for their elderly mother. She was visiting from the third world country she lives in, so she didn’t have health insurance. The surgery would need to be paid for in cash. Luckily, our church took up an offering, and the combined efforts of us all collected money that would help pay for the surgery. But it was tough for Rick and I. We wanted to be able to just write a check for the whole thing. And there have been many other times when we’ve wanted to hand people big checks.

When our debt is paid off and we’ve got a plush savings account, we’ll be able to do that.

Maybe your dream is to go work in the mission field feeding the hungry in Africa or helping the homeless in your own community. Use that dream to motivate you to get your financial act together.

Debt Prevents You From Being Able to Survive Without Income for a Time

We knew a guy once who had to have heart surgery in his early forties. He had serious blockage and some other heart issues, and recover time would be long. He was self-employed, which meant no sick pay. However, he had no debt and a ridiculous amount of money in savings. That meant he could take as much time off as needed to recover without worrying about money.

Compare that to our friend who had to have a toe removed (Type 2 Diabetes) and had to leave the hospital as soon as humanly possible. He just could not afford to be off work.

Which financial situation sounds more appealing to you? The one where you could take as much time as you needed to recover  and not have to worry one bit about money, or the one where taking time off work was not an option, even though the health concern was serious?

There are other reasons that you may need to survive without income for a time. A job layoff. Time to care for elderly parents. Don’t let debt and a lack of savings prevent you from being able to do what you need to do because you need the money. Change your financial situation, starting today.

 

 

17 comments

  1. Brian says:

    Great post Laurie. Everyone’s reasons with vary, but just stop and think for a minute how would you handle an unexpected job loss, health issue, natural disaster, etc. Could your current financial situation weather any of these events? My guess is many would answer no. The good news is will a bit of planning, and hard work you can get on track too.

    • Laurie says:

      Yes!! It’s happened to us many times, and it always created such incredible stress. Life is so much better now that we have savings and dwindling debt.

  2. Great post! Your first point about money and character is so true! I look back at some of my choices with money and shake my head.Thankfully, I have not committed murder or theft due to money issues, but I did plenty of other dumb things! In particular, I remember spending money to get back at Mr. Money Tree when I was mad at him! How stupid and immature is that? I am so grateful that the emotional wounds that caused that behavior have been healed.

    And like you, I have been reading quite a bit about Venezuela, what a mess! Those people are in a real life and death struggle.

    • Laurie says:

      Oh my gosh, Anne! I used to do the same thing with money years ago!! I wasted SO much money trying to get back at Rick. Ridiculous! Yes, healing is wonderful, isn’t it? 🙂

  3. While having emergency savings available is a huge help in many stressful life situations, having less debt makes it sooo much easier to deal with. While we still have the mortgage, not having any other debt obligations gives us much more flexibility to cut our expenses down in case of a loss of income.

  4. Mrs. Groovy says:

    Wow! Your first reason is hardly ever discussed. I’m reminded of the Long Island Bank Robber, Stephen Trantel. After being let go as a trader he began robbing banks. He seemed like such a nice guy too! I bet he WAS/IS a nice guy!
    http://www.cnbc.com/id/100000046

    (Contrary to others I believe his wife had no idea. But she also had her head buried in the sand. The truth forced her to become resourceful. She divorced him, got a real estate license and provided for her son, who told her he was proud of her.)

    • Laurie says:

      Wow – I hadn’t heard his story before. Yes, it’s crazy what people do when they feel out of options regarding money. It’s a real and serious danger, you know? Good for his wife for pulling herself up by her bootstraps – great example to their son!

  5. katscratch says:

    I struggle the most with not being able to financially give to others what I would like. I still do, on a much smaller scale, but am very much looking forward to being able to make a bigger impact. Great post.

  6. Financial stress is huge. It’s the largest stress factor in most people’s lives. It’s consistently ranked as the number one concern, even above family, health and work.

    To make things worse it usually compounds other stresses in your life like health/recovery or family relationships, as you pointed out.

  7. My wife and I spoke last weekend at a marriage event and asked the audience if debt was preventing them from pursuing their passions. A lot of people were nodding their head and I think it really resonated with people. Hopefully they’ll make the necessary changes 🙂

  8. Oh my gosh, shivers down my spine while reading about people’s out of character behavior!

    Sadly, we keep hearing more and more of these stories on TV: Last one I heard on the news was about a retired cop who actually took his children’s lives and then his own. Who does that? Money shouldn’t cause such behavior. Ever.

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