I became Certified as a Money Coach in 2009. It was actually perfect timing because the Great Recession was upon us. People were scared. They were losing jobs, couldn’t pay their bills, and the worst hadn’t hit.
In my first “Money Talk for Women” workshop as a new Certified Money Coach, one of the participants took The Money Quiz, which is part of the Money Coaching process. After scoring her quiz she started crying. Her “Money victim” score was off the charts.
Then she explained why. She and her husband sold a beautiful home in the Bay Area, moved to the Valley, bought their dream home and settled in. With the downturn, he lost his job, her business wasn’t able to get off the ground and they were losing everything. She felt victimized. I would have too.
A few days ago, a money-coaching prospect called, barely told me who he was and launched into his current money situation:
He didn’t take a breath as he furiously listed ALL the things that are causing financial stress: his income is down because of being injured, his wife handles all the bills and hasn’t been paying them, (he didn’t know. (As the law states, ignorance is not a defense). Past due notices, phone calls and demands for payment are flooding in. They owe the IRS back taxes, their credit card debt is too high and they’re only making minimum payments.
Here’s the thing he kept saying – “I’m so embarrassed.” I understand. I’ve been there and I could feel his pain through the phone.
His silent questions: “How did this happen? How did we get here? How are we going to fix this?”
The answer? Sometimes we hit a financial bottom because of chosen ignorance. He wasn’t paying attention to finances because his wife was “handling” it.
This man’s financial pain belongs to so many American’s. The average American’s credit card debt was about $8,000 in 2018 – a 2% jump over 2017. Credit card debt is almost as high as it was in 2008. I’ve talked to people whose credit card debt is way, way higher. STRESS…
The Money Victim client truly was a victim of circumstance. Once she faced their situation head on, she and her husband climbed their way out and got back on their feet.
Another big, sad answer to why people end up in financial trouble is trying to live the AMERICAN DREAM and keep up with the Jones’ – gotta have the new car, gotta have the new home, the pool, the designer clothes, the best shoes… I’ll take out a credit line on my home, put it on the credit card… It’s a rush, it’s fun, the buying feels fabulous (you can tell I know, right?). BUT. Then the bills come.
There’s another money reality that is happening for Americans now also and that is poverty and the difficulty and vulnerability it brings.
What To Do:
1) Face the Truth – with as much non-judgment as you can. I know it ain’t easy! But, what’s the alternative?
2) What are the numbers? What’s my total INCOME? What are my total EXPENSES? How much total DEBT do I owe? (Breathe…get support if you need it!)
3) Whew…Now you know. What next?
4) Call your creditors, make small payments, talk with them – the worst thing is to pretend nothing's wrong.
5) Educate yourself. Read – Dave Ramsey’s “Total Money Make Over”, Suze Orman’s “Women & Money” excellent. My “Prosperity, Power & Peace – Financial Fitness Program for Women.” Special I'm ready RATE: $19.95 (Regularly $295.00).
6) Create a Plan and Follow the Plan. This is individual to your situation and needs and may require outside help. Contact me or talk to your financial advisor.
7) Forgive yourself for any financial mistakes. We are ALL so human! We ALL make mistakes! You want to LEARN from them and not repeat!
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Certified Money & Business Coach, Professional Speaker & author, Lynn Telford-Sahl, writes thePowerUP Your Money blog for women in sales and small business. If you’re ready to PowerUP your Money, your Business & your JOY get your FREE Financial Strategy Session with Lynn at www.powerupyourmoney.com or take The Money Quiz to find out your Money Strengths & Challenges.