Americans are well known around the world for certain things. One prime thing is our tendency to talk and even brag about our lives and our abundances. We are pretty proud of living in what we refer to as the “greatest country” in the world and we have good reasons to feel that way. If you are a bigtime world traveler, you are probably sending a clear message to everyone you meet: you have lots of money and you enjoy spending it freely. You probably stay at a fine hotel, eat at a fancy restaurant, travel at the height of the season, etc. and that is the message you’re sending.
The Art of Braggadocio
Speaking of bragging, we also have great fervor when spreading good news to others, especially our family and neighbors. We make it obvious so they will notice when we drive into our garage with that big new $85,000 2017 Land Rover that’s so perfect for those cross country trips and exploring the Gobi Desert, but will more likely spend its time parked at little Debbie’s soccer practices every Tuesday and Thursday!
But in spite our willingness to outwardly brag about our lifestyles and even our need to brag, we are all pretty tightlipped when it comes to sharing some hardcore pieces of our finances. These are just certain things that are embarrassing and we don’t like to talk about with anyone at all. They may be matters that have caused us to have more than a few sleepless nights. They can even cause disruption in our marital tranquility. Creature comforts are not the “be all, end all” way to insure you a happy life. Overspending and secret spending money issues are frequently a cause for divorce.
3 Shameful Financial Problems
Some of those embarrassing financial issues include:
1. Financial Infidelity
This tightlipped secret is a very common occurrence when two people do not share the intimate details of their incomes and spending habits in an honest way. For some reason, one or both of the partners hide details of their income and spending habits from the other and when that happens, financial problems are bound to develop. It’s known as “financial infidelity”.
I have known and counselled so many couples at my former job as a financial specialist regarding their secret lives when it comes to earning and spending. It’s shocking to think that married couples in particular wouldn’t be able to share and work together towards their common goal of financial security, but I am here to tell you it is way more common than you may think.
If you have ever been in this situation you already know that you cannot plan, budget, and control your finances without first having all the pertinent information at hand.
Have you ever lost your job? My guess is that at some time or other you probably have had that unpleasant experience. Job loss is far more frequent today than ever before. There is of course the infamous and dreaded “downsizing” that seems to be ever present in our lives. That can be a reason you are asked to pack up your cardboard box and move along. But, there are also those situations when perhaps you are terminated for cause.
Losing your job can be the most depressing thing that can happen to anyone, especially when it is for some wrongful action or incompetence that is embarrassing or even humiliating. It’s frequently a shock, an unexpected event, and something you aren’t in any way prepared to deal with and worse, to share with anyone else.
So much of our self-esteem is involved in our job and our feeling of self-worth and value is directly tied to it. In addition to the financial problems that a loss of income immediately causes, there are thoughts of how and what you will do to get back into the job market and “fix” your situation.
The likelihood that you will not talk about your firing and its surrounding circumstances will hinder you. Networking is a first line of attack when it comes to getting another job offer, but your fears of embarrassment can prevent you from getting to that point.
3. Credit Card Crush
That plastic card you carry in your wallet or purse can be your best friend, or your worst enemy. When you have crushing credit card debt, it feels like having an incurable disease and you probably feel as if it may be terminal. It can be even worse if you are keeping it a secret from loved ones and family. The first step to reversing the problem is to admit you have a problem and then to plan your new debt solving strategy. You will need some help with that process. Keeping it all to yourself and wishing it away will never work.
How to Prepare for Financial Roadblocks
With all the potential problems we face in our lives, the least successful ways to overcome your most difficult financial problems is to try and do it alone. Whether you depend on a life partner, a friend, a relative, or a professional to lean on and confide in, you must get some outside help to solve your issue. The best strategy to avoid financial roadblocks is to make a prevention plan. The list is simple and works. It includes:
- Communicate and share your financial information with the person(s) who share your finances so that you know your limitations and then track your progress before any problems develop
- Make an agreed upon detailed budget and live within it
- Don’t spend to impress your family, friends, and neighbors
- Have an emergency fund to deal with unexpected situations, about 3-6 months worth of bare bones expenses
- Set goals for your finances that involve this year, next year, 5 years from now and future years’ plans for things like houses, cars, travel, education, and retirement
- Use your credit cards sparingly and never spend money that you don’t have the ability to repay promptly
- Think frugally, and find ways to save your money – frugality isn’t a dirty word
While our finances tend to be confidential information, some secrets aren’t worth keeping. If you’re having a financial problem that’s tough to deal with, letting your family and friends provide encouragement and help will get you further than keeping it to yourself. Don’t let the braggadocio get the better of you!
Have you a secret financial problem that you are afraid to talk about? Do you share all of your finances with your significant other or family? What experience have you had that involved a major roadblock in your financial life and how did you overcome it?