Assessing Where You Are

One of the very first things that you can do when an unexpected turn of events happens is to STOP and ASSESS where you are.

Today is a great time to do this.

Where would you start?

Do you have a roof over your head?      OK, so what is your financial health regarding where you live?  What will happen if you loose your job?  What will you do for a house or rent payment?  You need a plan of action for this.

What if your spouse looses his job or his time is cut in half?  What will you do about the roof over your head?  You need a plan of action for this.

What you can do is literally go through every area of your life and give the mile markers of:   “being concerned”  = “a specific plan of action”;   “action needed immediately”  = “a specific plan of action”; and “we have lost our ability to make a living”  =  “a specific plan of action”.

You do need to do an assessment of every areas of your life.  It is my experience that these times of downturn occur in cycles of once ever ten years.  In some industries when the rest of the country is in a slump certain industries are up and vice versa.

It is my belief that every year, each of us and our spouses and our families need to sit down and look at the “State of The Family” meeting.  Children are never too young to learn about the reality of life and how you are modeling how to live through tough times and what planning looks like.

If you are not the one who handles the finances in your family, I would like to pose this question to you:  “….if your financial handler steps off the curb to cross the street to buy coffee tomorrow morning and is hit by a car and killed……what are you going to do to learn what was in their head?”    The answer is you can’t and I pray that this does not befall you.  But, you see the urgency with which I pose this scenario.  This is the best time you will spend in getting your own head around exactly where you are financially.  You don’t need to buy a book, or watch a financial program or go to a seminar.  Use simple math.   How much is coming in?  How much is going out?  What do the answers to those two questions look like?  Are you in the black (which means you have money left after you pay all your bills)?  Or are you in the red (which means you owe more money than you make)?  I already know the answer from the statistics that the US Government keeps about the average American and their spending habits, saving habits and debt numbers.  You are most likely in the red.

What about the other areas of your life?  If you had a devastating occurrence by the end of the month how would you handle that in every area of your life?

Reality plays a big part here in this thinking.   You may have a relative who is doing well and able to help you, but that person can only go so far before they get into the same place that you started of being concerned.  So if you are planning on relying on others, ask first, put a time limit on how long you will need their help and do all you can to help out in other ways as they help you get back on your feet.  Do not go to the same well over and over, that will kill your relationship with that person.

Let’s say that you do not have any relative who are even in a position to help at all, what will you do?

You need a plan.  You need to know where your money is and where it is not.  You need to have a relationship with your mortgage company, your bank, your neighbors, your church, your spouse and your family immediate and distant in order to be up front and honest about where you are.  You see eventually a person can keep up the appearance for just so long and then the “mask” comes off.

It is better to live openly and honestly than to hide behind the facade of “everything is fine and we are doing really well”.  Living like this will drain the life right out of you.

Next time…..These are the things that I have which are skills that I can sell in order to  bring in income for my family.