Let’s face it, most of us will come up some challenging financial times sooner or later, and not all of us will weather the storm without making some mistakes. Sometimes, it’s not even about making mistakes – there are certain financial realities which are simply too much for even the best of us. Life, illness, children, and a hundred other factors, can upend even the most carefully constructed budget. In situations like this, we’ve just got to hang on and hope for the best. But what happens when things do get better. How can we repair our finances?
There are many aspects to personal finance repair. Some of them have to do with the finances you manage personally, spending and saving decisions you make on a daily basis. Still others have to do with creating a strong financial situation for your future. Finally other important aspects have to do with the records that independent organizations keep about your not-so-good recent financial history. We’ll start with that last point and move back up the list.
People recovering from tough financial times will have some not-so-great information on their financial records. These records are kept by Credit Reporting Agencies, three private companies that keep tabs on consumers so they can tell financial companies how to lend to them. If you missed utility payments, have had medical collections, applied for a lot of credit cards, or committed any other credit behaviors that seem irresponsible, your credit history and credit score will suffer. Some of these reports can be disputed, on your own or with the help of a credit repair company.
If you have just gotten through a hard financial period, you probably aren’t well prepared for your future. You don’t want to invest a lot of money if you have debt (addressed in the next point), but if you can possibly invest, it’s a good idea to do so. Traditional investing allows normal people to set aside reasonable amounts of money, which grow to impressive totals over years and decades. If you have never initiated an IRA or 401k, it’s good to do so if you possibly can. Other people will find it wise to invest in further education or in buying a home for themselves.
Spending and Saving
Not all financial problems come from bad spending or saving habits, but many do. If you have had a lot of problems with spending and saving in the past, it’s time to get those under control before spending a lot of time trying to repair your finances. People who have strong personal finance skills always live well beneath their means. If you are paying off debt, you’ll have to live WELL beneath your means to pay off all that money. But once you succeed, you’ll see how that it was worth it, AND you’ll be in the habit of spending and saving wisely.
There are many ways to get your financial life back in order after lengthy difficulties. Give it the time and energy it takes, and you’ll get yourself on the right track for life.