Finding a financial path when life is turned upside down

Sometimes, you eat the bear; at other times, the bear eats you.

Or to put it in other words, we can’t always be on top of the world. Life is filled with trials and tribulations. Hopefully, these issues aren’t too overwhelming, and we’re able to carry on with the normal daily tasks without too much disruption.

At other times, however, the problems are so ambitious in their scope that our lives are effectively turned upside down. If you’re divorced, or lost your job, or suffer from health problems or injuries, then you’ll need to carve out a new life. And while you’re doing that, also ensure that your finances aren’t put in jeopardy. Below, we take a look at how you can stay on the path towards healthy finances, even if the other problems in your life are mounting.

Figure out the finances

First thing’s first: if something happens that is going to affect your finances directly, then you’ll need to get the calculator out and do some calculations.

Most people only have a vague understanding of their financial situation; but when trouble comes, it’s imperative that you have a detailed account of your incomings and outgoings. The money that you have now might have to last for a considerable time.

Once you know how much that is, you’ll be able to adapt your lifestyle to account for the new reality.

Cut all non-essential expenses

And talking of a new reality, it might be necessary to cut some – or many – expenses that you’ve taken for granted up until this point. Most of us are guilty of “lifestyle inflation” when we begin to earn more money; while this means we fail to save as much money as we should be saving, it does at least mean that when the going gets tough, there are a lot of unnecessary expenses we can cut.

But first: make sure you understand what the essential expenses are. Housing, bills, and food to cook in the home are essential – socialising, luxuries, and eating any food you haven’t prepared yourself are non-essential, and should be cut.

Look for help

Your difficulties might only be temporary, but sometimes temporary problems can often turn into long-term difficulties if they’re not handled correctly. Take your bills. Missing payments can put you in long-term financial distress, or maybe even mean that you risk losing your home if you fail to make your mortgage repayments.

As such, you might be well-served by looking for financial help from friends, relatives, and any other potential lenders. No-one likes asking other people for financial help, but you’ll be able to pay them back eventually. Put your pride to one side for a moment, and make sure that you’re doing everything you can to keep your future bright.

Getting money you’re owed

It’s unlikely that you alone have contributed to your current life problems. You may have lost your job, or been injured, or be going through a divorce; in all three of these events, there are other parties involved. As such, it might be possible to share the responsibility of the outcomes with other people or parties. If you’ve been injured, hire a personal injury attorney and get the money you’re owed.

If you’re divorcing your partner, then make sure you fight for a fair share of the assets and money. There are nearly always ways to have someone in your corner, no matter what the issue you’re going through is.

Where to invest

You might think that the sensible thing to do would be to halt all expenditures. This is generally true, but only to an extent. If you need to find a new job, then it may be a good idea to spend some money by investing in yourself. Studying for a qualification or taking a course that will lead to a new, well-paying job is a smart investment. It’s the dead investments, the ones that seem like a good idea (for example: paying for a holiday as you think you need to “reset” before moving forward) that need to be resisted.

Part-time work

Here’s the thing: no matter what job you normally held, if you find yourself unable to work – or needing more cash – then you can always look at part-time work. There are typically many jobs available (and many, incidentally, that you can do from home). It might not be everything you look for in a job, but it’s not about job satisfaction: it’s about ensuring that you’re able to stay afloat until things begin to pick up again.

Look for other revenue source

Most people live with the misunderstanding that it’s only their salary that can provide an income. This is not true; this is just one source of revenue! You may have many others. For example, if you have a spare room in your home, then you may be able to meet your mortgage payments just by finding a lodger. It might not be ideal, but when you have quick access to high levels of money, everything is worth considering.

Networking

People have always been – and will always be – your best resource when it comes to finding new opportunities. If everything is going swimmingly, then you won’t have given ‘networking’ much thought. But now that things are tough, it’s worth tapping up all the people who may be able to help you get back on your feet. Most people are eager to help out a friend in need if they can; reach out, and accept the help when it’s offered. You never know where it might lead!

Preparation

The winds of change can sometimes begin to chime before the path changes course. If you sense that danger may be coming up in the not too distant future, then begin planning by putting money into your safety net, and by looking for new opportunities. Preparation is the best key for, well, just about everything, and especially life’s challenges.

Finally, remember to stay strong, positive, and patient. Things always turn around when we have a positive attitude.