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Stay prepared for financial issues

Posted on August 15th, 2013

Financial trouble isn’t something anyone wants to talk about. It’s a cultural taboo, and it has different beginnings for everyone.

For some, financial distress arises after unforeseen medical expenses. One Harvard University study found that unexpected medical expenses accounted for 62 percent of bankruptcy filings in any given year.

Shifts in the economy can also create financial strain. An unanticipated layoff could also have personal finance implications. For others, financial pressure is the product of uncontrolled spending with little regard for a budget.

Identity fraud is another common cause of financial distress. If your financial assets are not properly protected, the results could be quite harmful.

While the causes may be different, preparing oneself against financial trouble is similar across the board. It is important to plan ahead — try to have a “financial cushion” equal to three months of income to have some funds available if an unanticipated situation should occur.

Equally important is creating a realistic budget. By creating a weekly, monthly or even annual budget (and sticking to it) you can hold yourself accountable and ensure that you are spending, saving and investing properly.

In some cases, trouble is inevitable. When trouble can’t be avoided, the first step is to consider all of your options. Is there any spending you might be able to cut? Is it possible to access money that may be tied up elsewhere?

After considering, but before exercising your options, seeking professional help is the next best step. Trained professionals are a valuable resource and can help anchor you in a time of financial uncertainty.

After the storm of uncertainty has passed and stability has returned, it is important to move forward in a way that will maintain your financial footing. It is essential to maintain a healthy relationship with creditors once your finances are settled so that you can rely on them in the future. Preserving the working relationship between clients and their creditors ensures that everyone is satisfied and feels confident to proceed.

Financial worries are not often a topic of casual conversation, but I understand the stress and emotional toll that these troubles can create. I have focused my career on helping others move away from financial trouble and toward financial stability and security. When your financial future is at stake, be sure to seek professional help early on; it can keep a bad situation from growing much worse and, in times of uncertainty, will serve as a resource, not just a resolution.