HOW TO PLAN WHEN THE CHIPS ARE DOWN

There are times that life in general, doesn’t seem to favor you. You are bombarded with bills left, right and center. Your debt never seems to reduce, but instead, increase exponentially. There is no breathing space to allow you to think. Things are rough, life is tough. You begin to wonder what to do. Here is a guide that will help you surf the insurmountable waves:

  1. Identify – Critically assess the things that drain money from you. To be able to achieve this, begin to write down every expenditure that you encounter. However small it may be and collect the data for two or three months. Then begin to map the data, and realize where does your money really go. Identifying where your money goes, is the first step to freedom.
  2. Cut Down – Once you identify the money drainers, let them be the first to be shelved. It’s a painful and introspective journey, but worth it. Be brave and cut down on things/items/activities that you engage in that drain your money. It is not easy to remove some things that are inherent to us, our families, reputation, and lifestyle. For example, if it’s the car that drains your money, sell it and find cheaper alternatives. If the money drainer is eating out or lavish entertainment activities, stop at once. It is better to do it, gain control of your money and bounce back rather than digging yourself further into debt just to salvage your reputation or lifestyle. If you don’t do it early enough it’ll create some reprieve, delay your recovery may take longer than usual.
  3. Avoid Debt –  Yes, debt is inevitable but avoid expensive altogether. It is the shovel that continues to dig you into deeper into problems. Avoid abrupt and unplanned changes to your already tight budget. Take time to evaluate things critically before you commit to them. Decide if the timing is correct or not. As the Jesuit founder, St Ignatius of Loyola said: “If you are in a state of desolation, do not make decisions…” You may also need to stay away from people in your circle who splash money around: it may psychologically affect you and make you feel like you are not making progress.
  4. Adapt – Human beings are designed to adapt to the changing tides. Provided you accept where you are. Once you cut down, adapt. It may be hard for a number of days or weeks, but it will be the best decision you will ever be grateful for in years to come. If it means downgrading, please do so. Learn to live a simple life that is within your means. Accept and focus, because you are on the journey to healing and revival. It’s an uncomfortable journey, but you will get there.
  5. Open up – Be open about your situation, first to yourself, your family and your very close friends. Ensure the people who know about your situation are the right people. Share your challenges with people who genuinely care about you. They could be the ones with solutions to your challenges. They could even have taken that journey before and they could assist you to navigate. Stay away from people who will speak ill of you, or laugh at you or take advantage of you. These group of guys is the last you need around you. They are insensitive.
  6. Seek Support  – Create a system that keeps you accountable and honest. Keep the right friends and true relationships. Have you ever asked yourself how many true friends you have? We have many friends, but very few real, genuine and present friends. Take a pen, and write them down. How long is the list? In my inner Circle, we have a very simple checklist to test our true friends. We look at how real you are: how present, indebted and committed a person is. Openness and trust are important values to the harbor. If you don’t have true friends, invest in just Two genuine friends. They are enough for a lifetime.

As you get on the journey to financial recovery, take home the lessons learned and purpose to never get back to that hole. Repeat the pointers above even as finances start to stabilize. Track your expenses. Open up multiple income streams. Keep the right friends. Always know where your money is going.

Once all is said and done, the key learning is to embrace planning. It is an extremely essential tool for our well being and success. Be deliberate about it. Do not take it for granted.

At Thellesi Co. planning is the first step of creating our secret sauce to solving problems for our clients. The steps are simple as we first See (Identify) the problem, then Strategize on how to tackle it; and finally, we plan how to Solve the issue. We call it the 3S process. Embrace this process in your life and see how things work out for the better.

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