This is a great time of the year for most of us: getting together with our family and friends and enjoying the holidays that we have looked forward to all year long. Who doesn’t love the holiday season with the food, parties and spiritual joy we all can share? And look to the beginning of a new year when we can plan for improvements just up ahead! But I say most of us enjoy it because there are some who don’t quite see it that way.
Acute Financial Stress
According to a study done by Payoff, about 23% of all Americans and an even higher percentage of millennials suffer from what is known as AFS, Acute Financial Stress. This “disease” is caused by one’s reaction to financial stress which of course the holidays’ emphasis on spending and shopping can trigger. This and so many other financial issues can turn someone’s life completely upside down and even lead to a physical and/or mental debilitation resulting in things like heart disease and mental health problems. It has been compared with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) as to its reach and severity among Americans today. Continue reading
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When you go to the doctor, they check your vital signs like blood pressure and temperature to make sure you’re healthy. But what about the vital signs for your financial health? These numbers tell you if you’re financially healthy (or not!) and can give you goals to shoot for.
Over time I’ve learned the hard way that I have to go to the doctor and get checked out or else my health suffers. It’s the same with your money. If you don’t pay attention to your financial vital signs, you’ll be headed for disaster. Continue reading
Have you ever thought about the possibility of filing for bankruptcy? You know it happens all the time. Today, many people find themselves drowning in debt and unable to keep up with their obligations. They find themselves in a desperate situation and bankruptcy offers a pathway back to stability. While it’s better to take responsibility and pay down your debts, there are times when this simply isn’t an option and bankruptcy is the only way.
If you haven’t done it yourself, I am betting you probably know of someone or some business that has declared bankruptcy. In fact, it’s become so common that even a presidential candidate can have had multiple business bankruptcies and still garner respect and admiration as a responsible and savvy money manager (as incredible as that might seem). Today it’s become the way to “liquidate debt” or “reorganize debt” in order to manage financial problems. It even may turn a very negative situation into a positive one. Continue reading
Every once in a while, if I’m lucky, I stumble onto something that intrigues me and I feel like I must share it with you. That is exactly what I’m doing today, when I share the surprise I had in discovering the new reality TV show “Life Or Debt” last month on Spike which airs Sunday nights at 10 pm Eastern.
The show is a reality show in the truest sense possible. It deals with real life, real people and real problems. It’s the kinds of problems that most of us have dealt with at some point, but in this show it’s magnified with a huge lens that puts the problems under the microscope for all of us to view. Continue reading
Are you the kind of person who is smart about your money? Do you think about your spending in advance? Do you have a budget and almost never deviate from it? Do you actually know where you money comes from and goes every week? You’d be very surprised to know that a lot of people haven’t a clue about those things and in fact can’t control their spending. That’s hard to believe I know, especially if you’re a person like me, who makes knowing about my money a real priority. But for a lot of people, spending money, shopping, and going out on the town isn’t something they think about like I do. In fact, for many people, spending money (even when they don’t have any left) is an overwhelming urge or need. It’s a compulsion and is really part of an addiction. It’s called Compulsive Buying Disorder (CBD).
CBD spending comes from someplace within the mind and is almost always a desperate attempt to satisfy some negative emotions like anger or sadness. It may be an attempt to block out something like stress or a sense of inferiority that buying something new or spending to an extreme will cure, if only for a moment. Continue reading
All my life I have resented and feared debt. I’m sure I’m not alone. At various times in life you’ve got to face facts and your fears because sometimes there’s just no escaping it. I thought today I’d review my adventures in debt for your information (and perhaps my own therapy). So this is a story, not about a man named Brady, but of one named Gary! Sit back and take the journey with me and maybe when the dust clears you might just feel better knowing that you aren’t alone.
Today is New Year’s Day and I’d like to wish everyone happiness, health, and prosperity for 2016. And how do we get to happiness, health, and prosperity?
Resolutions: every new year we make a list of them and then by February they just seem to disappear in the cold north wind. I know you know what I’m talking about. You’ve pledged to lose some weight or to give up your nasty smoking habit, but it’s so much easier to say it than to do it. You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?
Well, when it comes to your financial resolutions, it’s much the same. Making resolutions that can make real changes in your life is something that most of us think, talk about and plan every year. But what becomes of that plan?
About a year ago, I wrote about how to make a better plan, by setting measurable goals, dealing with setbacks, engaging others, and more. This year I’d like to talk about what some of those financial goals might include. Continue reading
Maybe you’re in your twenties and you’ve been out and about enjoying life. You socialize with your friends most nights and you finally got that apartment you always wanted even though it cost just a little more than you wanted to pay. You have a job, but it’s not the one you really wanted. It’s a paycheck and some experience, but you really want something better. And now this…you realize that you just can’t pay all your expenses each month and you’re in big trouble! Trust me on this: you’re not alone. Many young people (and even not so young people) start out with the idea that everything will just fall into place once they’re on their own. They’re all about the fun of independence, their first apartment and job, and what seems to be a great adventure with sunshine and happiness ahead. But, the reality is you never had to manage your own money before. Mom and Dad probably helped you quite a bit and if a shortfall ever arose, well they put a bandaid on it with a loan or a gift. There’s nothing to be ashamed of here. It’s part of growing up and now that you are an adult, you need to figure it out on your own!
So you can’t pay your bills…what can you do? Continue reading
There may come a time when you face a situation when you need money that is above and beyond your emergency funds. We may all face them at some point, whether it’s a medical emergency, car or house situation, or perhaps something with the kids like a huge tuition bill or family issue you need to help solve. What can you do? There are several solutions, but today I’d like to address a common but often misunderstood one, the home equity line of credit, or HELOC.
First, let’s talk about home equity. The equity is the difference between what you owe on your home to pay off any mortgage and the current market value of your home. For example: Continue reading
So many of us live our lives in debt. We see most people around us living in debt. We have mortgages, car payments, student loans, credit card debt, and we keep on charging more. As we make minimum payments (maybe a bit more, or even a bit less), we expect to have debt…forever. But it doesn’t have to be that way. For many of us, what it takes is a change in mindset and a willingness to start paying off debt now.
That change in mindset isn’t always a small thing, but it can be a revelation. Most of us can live off less than we can earn, and some of that difference can pay down our debt. #DebtIsNotForever. When you begin to think about getting out of debt, can you imagine what your life would be like without seeing interest on your credit cards each month? Without getting a mortgage or car payment bill? What could you be doing with all that money…Living out your dreams? Retiring early? Funding your children’s education? Remodeling your home? Travelling? Starting your own business? Donating to charity?