Though a financial crisis in your life might not be the expected apocalyptic turn, the upheaval it brings feels like the very sky is falling. Job loss. Fraud. Legal problems. Debt. These negatives eating away at your stability can also devour your happiness.
Unfortunately, you cannot simply pause and rewind back to when you had finances. You have to keep it all and come out stronger. A financial crisis is not the time to give up. It is the time to start fresh and make things right. Here is how:
1.DO NOT SPIRAL INTO FEAR
Of course you are probably thinking, “What about my house? My pets? My car? Life? Food?” You will be walking around looking at the lives continuing on while yours seems to have slipped into a swirling void of desperation.
It is important to remember this: do not react without thinking through all the consequences first. It might sound crazy, but you need to look at this in a neutral light. Find meaning in the ability to reinvent yourself and your situation. From there, the only way to go is up.
2.THINK ABOUT WHAT IS AVAILABLE TO YOU
Depending on the degree of severity, you may have several options. First, consult with your family or partner. Plot out a course that helps you decide how you will keep paying the necessary bills, what expenses you can remove, and what to do if something unfortunate happens – like foreclosure. Figure out who has your back, because if you need to hit them up for some coach surfing, you need to know they are cool with it.
3.DETERMINE YOUR ASSETS
Typically, assets are anything of financial value on your person or in your home. Create a list by separating investments, cash funds, checking/savings accounts, and bonds from things like your car, collections, jewelry, anything made out of metal, and so on.
Attempt to appraise what you have personally (as paying for someone to do so may not be available to you), and get some help selling off what you can give up. Talk to your financial advisor if you have one to see what stocks can be immediately liquidated.
4.CREATE A PLAN
You can also call number 4, “survival mode.” This is where you plan out your personal necessities, then see how much every single cent can be stretched. Remember, while your life might seem like it is raging out of control, you can still control how much you spend by making decisions based on needs, not wants.
Learn how to live sustainably, as in making your own meals, budgeting utilities, downgrading your phone, recycling and upcycling your belongings. Sign up for debt forgiveness programs or government assistance if it applies to you. Do whatever it takes for you to reduce your spending while simultaneously increasing your income.
5.THIS IS NOT THE TIME FOR EGO
If you thought you were never going to be one of those people standing in line at the soup kitchen, think again. The reality is that while you can retain your dignity as a human being, never assume you are too good for anything. If you qualify for food stamps or SNAP, get them.
If you can get a bowl of soup on Sunday, get it. If you have to sell your supercharged gas guzzler for public transportation or carpooling, you do it. Because, keep in mind, you may not be the only one struggling through this crisis, especially if you have children.
That also means you may have to seek out job opportunities you would have never dreamed of doing. I am not suggesting you take on stripping – only if you want to. But scouring Craigslist and applying to be a cashier at the local grocery market is a good start.
Odd jobs with flexibility, like landscaping, bartending, baby-sitting, and dog-walking can help you supplement whatever income you have, such as unemployment or disability, so you can cushion yourself a bit more.
A financial crisis is hectic. You are going to feel as if you are going through a rollercoaster of emotions. Understand how the negative emotions, like frustration, guilt, blame, and irritability, can impact those around you who are trying to help. Rather than lashing out, try to talk about how you feel with loved ones. Seek their advice and counsel.
Also, do not blame anyone, not even yourself, for the situation you are in. Whatever caused this to happen, the result has already taken place. Therefore, blame will only throw boiling water on the wound. Instead, transform that anger into quiet reflection. Ask yourself why this happened and how you can stop it from happening again. In time, you will learn a great deal about resilience and tolerance.
Financial crises hit like lightning. You are going to be frazzled and out of sorts for a while, but you can recover. Follow these steps – plot out a budget, seek support when you need it, and reduce your spending. Remember, the most essential part of this plan is to never give up hope, because finances can be regained.