How to Cope with a Cash Crisis
At least once in every person’s life comes a time when the need is great and the resources are few. It can be hard enough to make ends meet on a decent wage, but, when the times get tough and the money just is not there to meet the need, a person can easily despair.
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When a person can have good financial control and a good plan of action. Should emergency funds be needed, a person can then sleep better at night.
There is no real magic formula for coming up with on-the-spot emergency cash. There is a good deal of thinking through and the putting of a good plan into action. If you can do that, you have it made. That is truly all that any one of us can do to secure out tomorrows.
How to Cope with a Cash Crisis.
If you are hit with a serious money crisis and you find yourself scrambling around for emergency money, here’s how to assess your situation and get back on your feet.
All of a sudden and without warning, your roof begins to leak! Your hot water heater shuts down and your computer goes up in smoke, the clutch needs to be replaced in your car and your son decides to have his wedding on the Isle of Oahu – all of this within the same week!
As you sit, stunned and you ponder an exit strategy you receive a friendly letter from the IRS explaining that you miscalculated your taxes in 1996, and they now own your house.
This Kind of Money Emergency Requires your Immediate Attention
What do you do?
The above scenario looks like a money emergency of biblical proportions. You are afraid to open your front door for fear of finding a swarm of locusts!
Thank goodness, there are things you can still do to restore your financial life and equilibrium—and perhaps even fend off future misfortune—without having to sell your very soul.
Learning to Cope with a Money Emergency.
Wherever there are money woes, you can be sure to find crippling emotional setback. Avoid it all you try, you might just as well begin to prepare for the devastating fiscal and the emotional fallout that is sure to come. You will need to cope very well with both if you hope to make a solid financial comeback.
Whenever a money emergency hits, it will be your ability to deal with the individual pitfalls that will hold you in good stead. It is when a series of financial hits come your way that the stress will tend to accumulate and make your life much more difficult to cope.
You will not be so overwhelmed when you can calmly and rationally look at each individual problem as it arises. If you sit back wringing your hands with worry and allow all of your emergencies to pile into one; you will find yourself down for the count.
Calm must take center stage. You must NEVER allow yourself the luxury of panic. There is no one there for you to just take over. You are all you have.
The more you panic, the less effective you will be. You need to keep a very clear head to be able to sit down and come up with an appropriate plan. Be aware of your own tendency to sabotage your plans further. It is only when you are at your most calm that you will be prepared to get to where you need to be and then overcome.
Being Calm is the First Key to Managing a Money Emergency.
At even the first hint of a money emergency, it’s important not to act right away. If you do you will inevitably make a mistake! First, before you can manage your finances again, you have to first manage your emotions. You absolutely must regain your balance before you can even begin to make a plan.
If your money emergency demands that you act quickly, think first about seeking the advice of a debt counselor, money coach or financial planner. Whenever possible think about seeking out the aid of a financially perceptive friend or family member who can help you to come to a clearer perspective.
Remember the old adage that “two heads are always better than just one!” You won’t need to make a major cash investment if you’re strapped. Look for a planner who will give you a one-hour consultation for $150. Often times this will be all you will need to securely turn the corner.
Time to Crunch some Numbers.
The first step toward establishing financial stability is to step back, take a deep breath and assess the damage. Possibly one of the bigger mistakes people make when they’re in a financial crisis is not being prepared to make a clear assessment of where they’re at.
You can easily become overwhelmed. However, totaling up the damage serves two important purposes. First, you need to know exactly how much you owe, how much money you have in hand and what it will take to cover the distance between the two. Second, you will want to avoid any other mishaps, such as penalties, further repairs, missed deadlines, etc.
If you are not properly prepared, you must become prepared on the spot. Any type of money crisis will catch you unaware and you will feel cornered. Wouldn’t it be ideal to be ready and waiting for the crisis? How likely is this to happen to you, though?
Most people will be at least somewhat prepared. If the crisis is not too dire, they will be able to handle it ok. Some will be sunk from the get go. The idea is to not be overwhelmed and to have a good plan of action, no matter how little or how a lot. You need to be entirely prepared to deal with any sized setback.
Ideally, those unexpected expenses could be covered by the funds in the Irregular Expenses account in any good budget. Unfortunately, though, there is always a common problem. You might well have an emergency stash—but it’s most often depleted. This same problem affects the majority of us so take heart.
At about this time many people make the mistake of turning to plastic for relief. Resist this one. You will only be transferring your problems from one pocket to the other.
On the other hand, if you are sure you can handle using credit cards to deal with a cash emergency, you had better be sure you could pay them off when the time comes. Otherwise, why add yet another debt and another problem. Eventually, it will all catch up with you.
If you’re truly running while on your last leg, consider taking out a home equity line of credit. This will work for some. The interest is tax deductible, but those aren’t fixed rates. Be smart about this remedy, though. Unless you plan to pay back the amount you borrowed promptly, it can end up costing you more than you thought—especially if you’ve already depleted your own equity.
The Idea is to Make a Smart Decision and not a Rash one
Think well before borrowing from your 401(k) or IRA. There are loopholes that allow you to do so, but there are also hidden costs—never mind potential taxes, penalties and other consequences. Keep in mind that if you were to lose your job, you’d have to repay the loan immediately, or be taxed as though it was a withdrawal. This remedy could be very costly in the long run.
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