Financial hardship is more than just living beyond your means. It usually occurs like a snowball effect. Perhaps something happened, an unforeseen event or a major financial burden, that you hadn’t planned or saved for. Perhaps you lost your job, had unexpected health issues arise, or have a large debt that’s been compounding and building interest payments over the years.
Financial hardship is the long-term effects of serious financial issues—and it is a huge emotional and stressful position to be in for any amount of time. For your health, wellbeing, and emotional stability, let’s work on getting you through this financial hardship together.
Ideas for getting through financial hardship
1 – Write down your top 3 financial hardships
In a recent blog post on How to figure out your financial priorities, we discussed following Warren Buffet’s 25/5 rule. That is, write down 25 goals, circle the top five, and focus only on those five goals. However, when it comes to dealing with financial hardship, writing down that many challenges and goals is too overwhelming and couldn’t trigger more anxiety and unnecessary stress.
Instead, think of your current top three financial hardships that are weighing you down. Write them down. Even just moving away from denial and avoidance by acknowledging them, giving them a name, and writing them down are essential steps in letting go.
2 – Stay calm, positive, and optimistic
Now that you’ve named your financial hardships and can see them clearly, try to relax and look on the bright side. You’ve come this far and now you know what you need to work on. Stay positive and be optimistic that you have the power to tackle your financial hardships. It will take a lot of hard work, planning, and perhaps some extra financial help and counselling, but anything is possible if you put your mind to it.
3 – Set SMART goals
As we’ve discussed in the past blog post, 3 simple debt solutions for millennials, SMART goals are those that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. For example, if you have $10,000 dollars of debt at 20% interest and can afford to pay off $500 every month, you have a few options.
According to Credit Canada’s debt calculator, if you only pay off the minimum payment of $500 every month at 20%, it will take you over 25 years to pay off your debt and you will pay $18,375.64 in interest charges.
If your debt is dispersed among several credit cards with varying interest rates, focus on the highest interest rate cards first with your $500 monthly payments. Using the avalanche method will take you just over two years to pay off your debt and you only will pay $2,266.06 in interest.
Or, you can consider debt consolidation that brings your monthly interest rate down to around 8%, let’s say for our purposes. If that was the case, this lower interest rate would mean that your $500 would go the furthest, taking you under two years to pay off your debt consolidation loan with $768.73 in interest.
Choose the best course of action and create a SMART goal around it—and stick to it. For example, “I will consolidate my debt and pay $500 every month for the next two years to pay off my $10,000 debt in full.”
4 – Seek help when you need it
No matter the severity of or reasons for your being in a position of financial hardship, your best course of action is to tackle the situation head-on and as quickly as possible. That may require getting financial advice, lowering your monthly interest payments, or consolidating your debt. The longer you’re in a place of financial hardship, the harder it is to get out (especially as interest adds up as we can see above).
Learn more about how Progressa can help you get out of debt—and stay there.
The author Sam Milbrath
Sam Milbrath is a freelance copywriter and brand marketer. When she isn’t writing for brands or doing her own creative writing, she’s exploring, taking photographs, gardening and doing pottery. Check out her work at www.sammilbrath.com