Sometimes life doesn’t work out the way we would like it to.
Despite our best efforts or best intentions, we find ourselves in strife.
Many Australians know what I’m talking about.
While we have it pretty good in this country, we’re also a nation up to its eyeballs in debt.
If this debt gets out of control, then people can even lose their homes or be forced to declare bankruptcy.
So I want to look at how to rebuild after a financial fire has swept through your life and destroyed everything.
Or maybe it’s not that dramatic for you.
Maybe you’ve simply suffered a financial set-back or don’t seem to be able to get ahead.
Well, you’ve come to the right place because you have the power to turn your life around.
If there is one thing I know for sure it’s that it’s not what happens to you that counts, but how you handle it that really matters.
Here are four tips on how to rebuild your finances when you’ve hit a brick wall.
1. Be honest
If things didn’t go to plan then you need to be honest about why that was the case.
Dig a little and ask yourself what it was that you did to contribute to the problem.
Ask yourself the following:
1. Did you ignore signs that things were wrong?
2. Did you fail to nip problems in the bud early?
3. Did you ignore good advice?
These can all be hard things to admit to, but nothing will change until you take responsibility for your own role in the problem.
2. Clear your debts
Next you will want to take action to clear any debts.
This may seem overwhelming, but putting a plan into place will be like a great weight lifting off your shoulders.
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If you’ve got a massive credit card debt — and many people do — it’s time to cut up the card and move that balance to a zero per cent balance transfer card.
It may take you a year to pay the card off, but at least you’ll be paying it off, rather than just the interest.
If your debt situation is more difficult, it may help to see a professional.
The National Debt Hotline also offers free financial counseling for those who need it, too.
After you’ve faced a financial setback, there’s no point in starting over again without some kind of plan.
Otherwise bad habits tend to resurface, and before very long you’re back in the same position.
So develop a new way of approaching your finances.
- Drawing up a budget.
- Tracking your spending.
- Reviewing your insurance, super and mortgage providers (among others) to see if you can get a better rate.
- Cutting up your credit cards if you have a problem with debt.
- Looking for ways to save with discounts and specials.
- Asking yourself what you truly need to spend money on and what you can give up.
Without a new approach to money, I’m afraid that old habits will die hard.
4. Develop long-term goals
Being good with money is a bit like going to the gym.
If you work out and your aim is to lose 5kg, then you’ll be more motivated than if you go to the gym without any clear goal in mind.
Likewise, with money, it helps to have a goal.
It could be an overseas holiday at the end of the year or another investment grade property.
Whatever floats your boat.
Set yourself monthly saving targets, but make sure you reward yourself regularly too as you draw closer to reaching your goal.
The upshot is that a financial setback is just that — a setback.
Setbacks are temporary as nothing lasts forever.
It’s perfectly possible to go on to great successes after financial strife, but you’ve got to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself.
And the only way to do this is by changing your behaviour.