Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Surviving Financial Hardship

Things happen — between the roof springing a leak to your daughter’s wisdom teeth needing removed, sometimes life throws unwelcome surprises at you. A loan can be a blessing or a curse and can only take you so far (click here if you’re interested), but it is an uneasy feeling to know that you are in debt.

Take it All In

The first step in managing your debt is to acknowledge it. You and your partner should both sit down together and open all the scary envelopes that you’ve been avoiding. It’s the opposite of a good time, but it needs to be done. Prioritize all your bills and decide what needs to be paid the most urgently (water, electric, etc).

  • Sort by date and company, and use a highlighter to mark the amount due for each bill.
  • Total up the amounts from every bill to get an idea of where you stand with each company.

Start Communicating

Once you know how much you owe to each company, you need to contact them as soon as possible. You might be surprised to learn that many companies are willing to work with you and want to help you out. Explain that you are in financial hardship and ask what can be done to help you make regular, but low enough payments.
  • Usually you are able to set up payment plans with collection agencies. Believe it or not, being kind to these folks will make them more likely to work with you and an overall more pleasant experience.
  • Sometimes you can get a lower interest rate on your bills by pleading your case. This helps to lower your overall monthly bill.
The nauseating, gut-wrenching worry that keeps you awake at night is not a good feeling. If you’re in financial crises, take a breath. Start with what you can take care of and take steps to get the rest under control.

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