A financial crisis can bring out the worst in people. That applies to major economic shifts like we saw during the 2020 pandemic and smaller, more personal financial issues. Most married couples will tell you that nothing causes more tension in the household than money problems. In this article, we’ll talk about how to prevent those in your home.
One of the more common reasons for financial crises is the presence of overwhelming debt. That needs to be addressed. Before getting into how you can offer emotional and financial support to your family, pay off your debt. Use the snowball method, the avalanche method, debt consolidation, or anything else that will work to get you out from under.
Unfortunately, debt is only one symptom of a financial problem. There’s a reason that you got behind in the first place. It could be inadequate income, over-spending on non-essential items, or irresponsible money management. Making changes in these areas is one way to help get your family back on track. Pause for a moment to contemplate that.
Self Care Must Come First
When you’re waiting for the airplane to take off, the flight attendant does a safety presentation to familiarize you with that airline’s procedures. As part of that presentation, he or she holds up an oxygen mask and explains that it will fall from the ceiling if the plane depressurizes. They follow that with, “Please affix your own mask before attempting to help others.”
Those words say it all. You can’t help anyone else without first taking care of yourself. That means mental and emotional health, physical fitness, and financial stability. One of the worst things you can do in a financial crisis is to put yourself in a hole by helping others. Extend that concept to your family too. Help those closest to you, then address pleas from outsiders.
Acknowledge your fears and seek help if you need it. It’s okay to not be okay. Staying silent when you’re emotionally distraught will just make things worse. In times of financial crisis, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with a feeling of desperation. Don’t risk your mental and emotional wellbeing because you think you need to be “tough.”
Seeking Financial Assistance for Yourself
If your financial circumstances are good and you want to help other family members, go forth and be well. If you’re struggling on your end, there are resources available and financial institutions where you can find assistance. Start with your local bank or credit union. Swallow your pride and tell them what’s going on. You’re not the first they’ve heard that story from.
Another option is online lenders. There are installment loans available online, along with paycheck advance loans and lines of credit that don’t require a good credit score. Use one of these options to pay off immediate expenses and apply for a debt consolidation loan to eliminate high interest credit card debt. That will solve some problems.
If all else fails, you may need to get a higher-paying job. Or a second job. It’s okay to crank up the volume until you’re out of the hole. Combine this with a strict budget and eliminating take-out food. That may sound extreme, but it works. Increase your income, cut your expenses, and your family will be just fine. You might even save a few bucks along the way.
Kevin is a former fintech coach and financial services professional. When not on the golf course, he can be found traveling with his wife or spending time with their eight wonderful grandchildren and two cats.