When your personal finances are in trouble, it’s more than your bank account and your credit score that suffer. Beyond the financial implication, struggling to make ends meet takes a toll on you mentally, emotionally and physically. It’s an especially heavy burden to bear when you spend every day of this struggle blaming yourself. The guilt and regret compounds the stress that makes it difficult to do the things necessary for financial recovery. Increasing your income, cutting back on spending, and building your savings are all goals most successfully achieved in a calm, deliberate manner, maintained for days, weeks, months and, ideally, years at a time. That’s a hard line to tow when self-doubt has you second-guessing yourself every step of the way.
It is because of this deeply-entrenched, self-sabotaging belief that I am so struck by Forbes‘ Helaine Olen’s article referencing just one line in President Obama’s inauguration speech:
We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us at any time may face a job loss or a sudden illness or a home swept away in a terrible storm.
In other words, no matter how you have managed your finances, any number of things beyond your control can send you reeling off into a dangerous direction. As Olen points out:
This is not a common belief in the world of personal finance. [Instead, the common belief is that] we are all responsible for our financial fates…. We don’t have enough money saved, not because it’s next to impossible to save up enough money to get one through a bout of unemployment lasting more than a year or a major health care crisis, but because we frittered away our savings on designer coffee and other small extravagances. One even sees call to ‘stay healthy,’ as though people just ask for cancer or heart disease or disabled children so they can get on that great government social welfare bandwagon.
So, if you are struggling to make ends meet, and/or trying to repair poor credit stemming from a difficult time in your life, keep the following in mind. Up to this point, you have done your best to manage your money, in response to whatever negative circumstances you have encountered, beyond your control, along the way. Instead of beating yourself up, all you can and should do now is focus on utilizing all the resources at your disposal today to cut back on spending; build your savings; and repair your credit, need be.