Develop a Plan
I’ve said this before and you’ll hear it plenty more times. Plan, plan, plan. Without a plan, failure is almost certain.
How do you start your plan? Determine the source of your troubles. This may be obvious if you recently became unemployed, had a catastrophic medical emergency or lost money from a bad investment. However, many people live beyond their means for years. The fact that they do so, is often difficult for them to see if you have suddenly found yourself unable to pay your debts, look at your debt sources and your expenses and identify how you got into the mess.
Make a list of your biggest financial problems. You will have to prioritize your problems because you cannot fix everything at once. If the largest issue is the loss of a job, then your first step should be finding another one. If the largest issue is a large bill that you do not have sufficient resources to pay, then that is where you’ll start. The rest of your financial woos will be easier to solve once the major ones are out of the way.
After you have identified and prioritized your financial problems, try setting a goal date for solving each one. Set a date certain. It’s not enough to say you want to pay off your credit cards this year. You must be specific. A better thing to say is, I want to pay off my department store cards on October 1st of this year, or you might give yourself until the end of the month to find a job or make it your goal to pay off your student loan by the end of five years. Setting a specific date helps you realize exactly how much time you have to accomplish your goal. If you see that date is fastly approaching and you have quite a bit more work to do, then you’ll know you’ll have to push so that you can meet your target date.
If you have a spouse, make sure they are involved in the process as well. Two heads are always better than one. You can encourage each other as well as remind each other of the shared goals that you have set to keep you both on the right track.
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