I regularly coach people who have been emotionally beaten up, chewed up and spit out by their situation and exhausted to a level most of us could never understand. And you know what – they usually make TERRIBLE decisions. Their situation has taken everything out of them to the point they truly can’t think straight. So what happens? A collector calls and convinces a weak soul to set up a payment arrangement…with the money set aside for groceries. A commercial comes on TV for “easy money” at the title loan place and the car goes in hock for groceries. A flyer comes in the mail that promises debt relief for only $99 – so the pawn shop gets a few items and this company’s “debt relief” turns out to be nothing but a sham.
All of those things above are caused by two things: lack of hope and reliance on emotion.
Money is an emotional thing – I get it. But I also have seen firsthand what using emotions to drive decision-making will do. When I coach someone who is clearly in a desperate situation, the first thing I do is try and convince them to pick their battles and when they go into those battles, to remove as much emotion from the situation as possible. If you can’t pay a bill, a collector’s angry or belittling talk won’t magically make your checkbook balance increase. If you are emotionally bruised and down for the count, you are weak prey, and the predators know it. So be honest, up-front and clear about what you can and cannot do. Once that has been established, the conversation is over.
All the advice in the world I can offer won’t matter one bit if you don’t have the energy to act wisely on it. If you can’t hold hope that things will get better, my advice can’t help you. If you’re convinced money is your enemy, you won’t listen to me. So instead of trying to be another voice in your head, let me speak to your heart. It will be okay. Things may be terrible right now, but tomorrow offers a new chance for success. No matter how bad things may be at this instant, that’s all it is – an instant. Have hope. You’re not alone, and your situation isn’t so broken it can’t be fixed.