I cannot think of a better time to set sound goals than during tough times. This is because the mind is devoid of romantic aspirations and experimental – almost foolish – ideas that usually abound in easier times. Life is no longer seen through red-coloured lenses and the heart is desperate for a way out. “I wish I could win the lotto…” could easily be one of the proclamations but what really is the chance of winning? One in a million? Isn’t it better then to sit with pen and paper in hand and come up with a game plan? And no it doesn’t have to be complex but a simple exercise of completing the sentence…
If I had money, I would:
- Pay my overdue rent
- Settle my debts with Peter and Paul
- Move the kids to a better school
- Pay for Loretta’s knee surgery
- Invest in building a block of flats
The exercise – which works equally well in easier times – elicits both real needs and real desires. Every good thing possible must be done to meet real needs. If not, you will be thrown out of your home and possibly have your household goods auctioned. The goal then is not just paying the overdue rent but finding tenable ways of surviving tough times. Opting for a cheaper abode, setting up an emergency fund or cashing in on a skill set could be some of those plans.
Real desires will show you where you want or could go in the longer term. The work is in figuring out how to get there. Owning a block of flats is an idea that came through when I had hit rock bottom. I am in a better place now and still wracking my brain on how to get ‘THAT’ parcel of land. Some days I save aggressively, other days I draw out all my savings. Some days I invest aggressively, other days I shudder at my poor decisions. It gets better with time. The savings eventually grow, the investments begin to make sense and the dream is no longer blurry.
That said, financial loss can get to catastrophic magnitudes and throw off even the best of us. We completely deny the fact that we fell victim to a ponzi scheme. We get extremely angry with cronies who invited us to a costly deal that went sour. We hope against hope that ‘serekali‘ will bring to justice the bank that went under with our hard earned cash. We mourn for days at the destruction of our home by the torrential flooding. Why? Why? Why? If not answered properly, this incessant questioning can have depression hold us hostage.
Moving on may require that help of a professional kind is obtained. Counselors offer a confidential and nonjudgmental space where individuals (and families) can get assistance in managing stress, redirecting disturbing emotions and setting goals afresh. Some countries – like Australia – offer free financial counseling services and have counselors with extensive knowledge in law and policy including consumer credit laws, debt enforcement practices, bankruptcy and insolvency regimes, industry hardship policies and government concession frameworks.
EASY? Definitely not! But isn’t it great to know that there is help for the downtrodden? The internet also offers thousands of personal finance articles that open us to the skills, experiences and ideas of others and could be useful for recovery. We, as well, have the invitation to… approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16
photo credit here