Did you find yourself standing around at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s night, hard pressed to think of something, anything, that, in the current economy, you could resolve to do when all you currently think about is money? Whether you were in Times Square or a tiny gathering, you probably weren’t alone. Millions of Americans facing foreclosure of their homes, looming unemployment, mounting consumer and health care debt, and other tenuous financial situations during this still unfolding financial downturn are also struggling to start anew despite facing insolvency. Well, in addition to shedding those pounds and quitting those unhealthy vices, get ready to start your latest (and greatest) resolution with four steps to get yourself on the road to financial fitness in 2010.
Act Now and Assess Your Finances
Figuring out your financial future is sometimes as easy as understanding where you stand today in your day-to-day fiscal life. Are you currently unemployed or feel as though you could lose your job soon? As such, do you have enough money for you debts and everyday expenses? Are you a homeowner facing foreclosure? Do you have substantial healthcare bills or an ongoing medical condition? Do you have multiple credit card balances or mounting business expenses? Have you recently filed for bankruptcy? What other financial circumstances are you facing? The answers to these questions and others can supply the necessary starting points for charting your next solvent steps.
Put Together a Financial Plan
Financial planning doesn’t necessarily mean hiring someone else to assess your portfolio. It can start by simply tracking your personal spending for a month, while keeping in mind your desire to pay down any debt (consumer, mortgage, or otherwise), reduce expenses, increase your income or discharge debt in bankruptcy. Once you establish a system you’re comfortable with, you can more closely keep track of your current financial situation, including how much money you may be wasting on unnecessary items and interest and how much savings you can accumulate under a new, leaner budget.
Save Up for the Unexpected
If you’re facing unemployment, increased interest on credit cards or mortgages, or high medical costs, personal savings can provide a much-needed security blanket for tough economic times. To avoid hefty hardships from expected bills, start with a target savings of at least three months of income. This necessary nest egg can be a lifesaver in these uncertain economic times and provide much-needed peace of mind.
Consider a Clean Slate Through Bankruptcy
Once your plan is in place, you may come to the conclusion that that you don’t have enough money to cover your many monthly expenses, pay mounting debts or save for your financial future. At that point, you may want to consider bankruptcy. A bankruptcy filing can discharge debt and allow you to save for your next steps, including a new home, your child's college fund, and a pleasant retirement. In fact, every year bankruptcy attorneys meet with hundreds of people in financial distress. Each time those who have encountered misfortune, bad judgment, or business failure walk into law offices feeling hopeless and at the end of their rope, perceiving no alternatives to their continuing fiscal problems. Almost every time, however, it seems more and more when these same clients leave these offices, they feel hope, relief and even, resolved, often for the first time in months or years—resolved that the bankruptcy laws and system offers them the possibility of a new start— at a tolerable cost—and with it a financially viable and secure future. In short, on a personal level, bankruptcy relief ends worry and stress of living on the financial brink…a resolution we can all appreciate.
If you’re bankruptcy bound, learn more by visiting The Law Offices of John T. Orcutt’s “Things to See and Hear” information.