While saving money, creating an investment strategy, and hiring a financial advisor are all great suggestions for those who can manage it, many or even most people can't afford to do any of that. So what can one do? U.S. News & World Report has some suggestions that might be a bit more practical for those who feel they can do very little about their financial situation.
1. Don't Suffer In Lonely Silence, Call On Old Friends And Make New Ones
People with extreme money worries should, first of all, know they are not alone, and take precautions not to become isolated. Instead of shame, people need to be honest with each other. Health quotes Liza Gold MD, a psychiatrist and professor at Georgetown University Medical Center, who warns against isolation.
"Don't allow yourself to become isolated by shame, which is very common. Let other people in and let them know how difficult things are, and don't try to keep a stiff upper lip and bear it all yourself. It's not a burden that can be borne well in isolation."
Ask for help. Put aside any shyness and call in all the business connections that most people accumulate over the years. Don't be ashamed to ask for a job lead or money-making suggestions.
"We're social beings and we respond to social connections very well. Instead of feeling embarrassed or guilty when you're having money trouble. It's actually time to turn to those loved ones for support. You're going to hear from them that they're in the same boat, or a similar boat."
Money worries are common and sometimes people just have to accept that their situation has changed. According to Health, it is important for people to understand this is not about feeling guilty or blaming one's self. These days, money problems are not anyone's fault, least of all the people who are either in poverty or fearfully balancing on the edge of being poor. Dr. Rego urges people to be gentle with themselves.
"If you start beating yourself up in the moment with all those accusations and self-flagellations, you can only expect your mood to go in one direction."
3. Find Solutions and Regain Control
Once money worries can be set aside and a more positive frame of mind is available, it is important to look at how much money is actually needed. What is in the budget now that could be sacrificed. Where could new income streams be found?
Create a plan, based on the needs, talents, and capabilities of all family members. It is time to put ideas gathered over time together and find answers. Consider refinancing mortgages to reduce the interest and payments. Try giving up a few luxuries, or find a cheaper place to shop. It is also time to assess career options.
4. Take Life One Day At A Time
Dr. Rego also says it is best to live in the moment and take life one day at a time. While planning ahead sometimes makes sense, ruminating about past failures and future troubles does not help at all. Do what needs to be done each day, follow the established plan, adapt it day by day, and don't get bogged down.
"If you're spending a lot of time ruminating about the past or worrying about the future, it's not good for you."
[Image by Olesia Bilkei/Shutterstock]
Take time to have fun, exercise, and relax. Do as many free or low-cost activities as possible. Learn to take joy in going for a walk or visiting friends. According to Dr. Rego, life doesn't have to be expensive to be enjoyable, but avoid passive activities like too much TV. Get active and appreciate those things that are really important, rather than material gain.
"Stay focused on the other valued things in your life, because money isn't everything."
[Photo by Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley/Getty Images]