If you are lucky, you are able to earn enough money to cover your cost of living and come out at the end of the month with some left over.
There are times however, that we might run into a string of expenses that require us to dip into our savings or even take out a temporary loan to hold us over.
As long as the problems can be resolved and the costs are able to be controlled, we can usually work our way out of the tough spot. There are, however, circumstances that lead to real trouble. Let’s look at a few of these situations to see what can go wrong and how they may be tackled.
— Loss of employment.
A major cause of financial distress is the loss of a job. It’s reported that more than sixty percent of Americans will run out of money in less than 30 days and be unable to cover their bills if they lose their job. If not for unemployment benefits, government assistance, and charitable organizations, that percentage would likely be higher.
There is more to joblessness than financial hardship. A person’s failure to provide a livelihood is devastating. The loss of personal self-worth can be harrowing. In any event, financial self-sufficiency should be our goal, with or without a job.
According to Al Jacobs, a professional investor, “The time to plan for a loss of employment is before that loss occurs. And the best way to insure you’ll not be caught short is to possess sufficient savings set aside to handle your living expenses for a reasonable period of time. By living expenses, this must include all your normal expenditures for housing, utilities, transportation, food, insurance and debt payments, though you need not include savings, investment programs, charitable contributions or entertainment. There are differences of opinion as to the specified time period, some as short as three months, with most advisors recommending six months. My personal belief is that six months is a bare minimum. You’ll be better served with a nest egg sufficient to maintain yourself in the style to which you’ve become accustomed for a full twelve months.”
— Family illness.
One of the main reasons for economic hardship is serious family illness. Medical costs are expensive. It’s easily possible for an injury or ailment that results in major surgery and a hospital stay to generate bills that exceed one hundred thousand dollars. Without medical insurance, this is an expense that can strain any budget. Comprehensive medical insurance policies are costly, which in part explains why forty-seven million Americans are uninsured (Pfizer.com). In short, sickness can break the bank.
So what is the solution? Well, you can’t avoid a medical emergency by just eating right and exercise, though it would be a good idea to keep from engaging in obviously risky activities like down-hill skateboarding or shark diving. What you can do to hedge the unexpected health related event is to get a catastrophic health insurance policy. The concept is basic. It’s an insurance policy with a high deductible and a low monthly premium. Under this program, you determine in advance what medical expense you are willing and able to personally fund. This might not be perfect but it can help stave off the expenses of a catastrophic event that could clean you out.
With divorce often comes the loss of income. While there is really nothing you can do to guarantee that a divorce will never happen, you can just like with the loss of employment, try to prepare financially for the possibility of the loss of income.
Well, Duh… I know it seems obvious, but out of control spending is a leading cause of financial problems. It often starts out with the use of credit cards and the inability to pay off the amount charged each month. The balances on the credit cards begin to rise, along with interest charges, and before you know it, it is difficult to make even the minimum payment.
The best way to prevent overspending is to have a budget, get rid of the credit cards (perhaps keep one for emergencies or to rent a car), live within your means and become financially responsible.
If you find yourself facing what seems like an uncontrollable financial situation, it might be time to seek professional financial help.
The professionals at DebtHelper.com can explain the benefits of a debt management program and provide you with a fresh start.
One of the biggest long-term benefits of the debt management plan is the reduction in interest. Reduced interest allows you to pay off your principal balances faster while saving you possibly thousands of dollars in finance charges.
In order to determine if you are eligible for a debt management program, you can fill out an online budget application form now and then you can contact one of their Certified Personal Finance Counselors© at (800) 920-2262.
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