Controlling Our Controllables
During this time when there is so much uncertainty, we may feel frightened and out of control. There are areas where we can be proactive, which in turn, may give us some relief.
Many of us are watching our retirement balance decrease with extreme fear. Many of us have lost one, or maybe even, two incomes. Many of us are working from home and may be learning how to be homeschool teachers for the first time. Our new reality may add to the feeling of anxiety that comes with being out of control; it is important to know what we can and cannot control.
We cannot control the ups and downs of the stock market. However, we can stop looking at our balances until the crisis subsides and turn to our Financial Planners for guidance. We know we are in it for the long haul and history tells us that the stock market always recovers.
We cannot control the loss of a job, but some of us can file for unemployment and/or some of us can create new ways to earn income to cover our monthly expenses. We can Google, “companies currently hiring during the coronavirus outbreak in our area”. There are many!
We cannot control the debt/expenses we incurred prior to this crisis; however, we can create a plan as to how we are going to manage our money and stop incurring new debt/expenses.
We can control our non-essential expenses. First, we can review our bank and credit card statements to remind us of the automatic withdrawals and charges to our accounts. We might not even know, or remember, the subscriptions or memberships that are automatically withdrawn from, or charged to, our accounts on a monthly/annual basis. Now is the time to be proactive and contact those creditors to cancel unnecessary subscriptions/expenses such as magazines, memberships, iTunes, Bark Box and streaming services, e.g., Amazon Prime.
Second, we can contact the credit card companies and banks to have all our credit and debit cards reissued. This action will stop funds from being automatically charged to our credit cards or withdrawn from our bank accounts, giving us control over when and how much our creditors get paid. If our creditor contacts us prior to us contacting them, to let us know our charge was denied, we can take a moment and ask ourselves if this is a necessary expense or one that we can choose to do without...want or need? Remember, this is a temporary solution to a temporary problem.
We can control who gets paid from our expected monthly income. If we are in a position where we are not able to pay all our bills, then we must prioritize our expenses. If we do not already have a monthly budget, now is the time to create one. The EveryDollar app is one of the easiest budget plans to navigate. You can find this app at www.EveryDollar.com.
Once we have completed our budget, and we are unable to make all our minimum payments, it is essential we contact our creditor(s) and request to have our fees waived and payment deferred or make arrangements to pay what we know we can afford. We do not want to make any payment commitments we cannot keep. It is important to keep detailed records of when and who we spoke to, along with their contact information.
Although we cannot control how long this crisis will last, we can control how we respond by living in the solution and managing our money.
I am offering an Ask A Coach 15 Minute Phone Call for anyone with questions or needing assistance. You can schedule a call at https://www.coachingtogrow.com/appointments-financial
Be safe and be well.