So, I’m guessing that you are here reading this, either because a financial tragedy has already happened to you or you are hoping to prevent one from happening. If you are in the situation that it has already happened, then I want to say to you, hang on; you can survive this. We did, and I’m going to tell you what you need to do.
If you are hoping to prevent a financial tragedy, I am very grateful you are taking the steps now to prevent unnecessary heartache in you life.
Financial tragedy can hit you in an instant, crazy things happen all the time. You never ever know if or when it can happen. Believe me, I know because it happened to us.
What To Do When Financial Tragedy Happens
So in a nutshell, my husband, kids and I were probably the average families. We were not making a whole lot of money but making enough to make ends meet. We had debt but were able to keep our heads above water. We didn’t have any savings but could scrape by if we needed to.
Yeah, we could handle things at the time. But one little (or big) bump in the road and everything can fall apart so easily. And it did.
Without going into all the details, my husband went to the hospital for a “minor” procedure that did not go as it should have. A one-day surgery turned into my husband almost losing his life.
So, we went from a two-income household to a one-income household in an instant. Remember how I said we were not making a whole lot of money but could make ends meet? That was no longer the case. I also said that we had debt but could keep our heads above water, well that debt grew pretty quickly on one income and a ton of hospital bills. And we didn’t have any savings but could scrape by if we needed to; well, there was nothing left to scrape when we hit rock bottom.
How to prevent a financial tragedy from happening
Of course, you can’t predict what will happen that might throw you into a financial tragedy, but you can take the steps to prevent a financial tragedy should something happen.
You can learn from my mistakes…
Instead of just making ends meet. Start living below your means.
Read Living Below Your Means ~ A complete Guide for some helpful tips.
Don’t just keep yourself from drowning in debt. Get rid of it.
Check out How to Dig Yourself Out of Debt to help you get rid of your debt
Prevent yourself from scraping by because you don’t have the money. Build an emergency saving.
The tips in How to Reach Your Emergency Savings Goal will get you on the right track here.
These are the three most important steps in becoming financially secure that you need to do.
What to do when financial tragedy strikes
First and foremost, you are in survival mode at this point, you need help. Don’t let your pride get in the way of recovering from this.
There are many programs out there that can help you out in these types of situations. There are local, state and federal programs that can help. I won’t get into the details of any of these programs because there are so many and they are different in all areas.
I know that most people are too proud to ask for this type of help, but this won’t be forever, just until you get back on your feet.
Don’t let your pride get in the way
You may also have friends and family offering to help you. Take the help. You may not want to because you’ll feel uneasy about it or don’t want to ruin a relationship.
The simple answer to this is don’t let it happen. If you do accept a loan from someone, let them know that you are going to pay them back as soon as you can. Keep them updated on your progress and timeline every now and again so they know it didn’t “slip your mind” creating tension in the relationship.
Face the music
It’s so easy to try and put it all in the back of your mind or try to ignore your financial mess but this simply won’t do you any good.
First and foremost, make sure you are able to take care of your family’s basic necessities such as food, housing, heating costs, etc. If not, this is where those agencies I spoke of earlier will be able to help you.
Next, gather all your bills and face the mess that this tragedy has caused. Make a plan on how you are going to deal with it. Can you put in any overtime at work? If so do it. If not you may need to take on a part-time job or find ways to make money in your off time from home.
Then cut out ALL non-essential spending. This won’t be forever, just until you get out of this situation.
Ask for forgiveness
Once you’ve assessed your situation, contact all the companies that you are behind on paying. Explain your situation to them and make sure you let them know that you have every intention in paying them. Let them know the plan you have for doing so.
Not every company will care but you will be quite surprised at how understanding others will be to your situation. They may even offer up services or programs that you didn’t know existed that could help you out.
Learn from your mistake
Once you are in a better place and are able to manage to keep your head above water, learn from your mistake and make sure it never happens again.
Start building those emergency savings that would have the help you so much in this situation. You’ve had to live within your means to get out of this, so keep it up.
I know that it could take quite some time to get out from under a financial tragedy but you need to keep at it. You will see the light at the end of the tunnel, I promise.
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