Debt Management in Tough Times

Debt management involves developing one or more strategies to help a debtor get that debt under control.

 

Should you shop for a lower interest rate on your debt?

• This can be a good option, if it substantially reduces your monthly payments and the refinancing is not too costly. Inquire whether other higher cost debts can be rolled into the lower cost loan.

What if you can’t pay your bills

• Prioritize your debt. Keeping a roof over your head …

What are Your Resources?

When the money gets tight, it is important to know what resources you have. Resources can be described as assets (time, money, energy), materials, or capital (other funds) which can be used to accomplish your goal.

 

What are your financial resources?

• Make a list of all of your assets, or everything that you own.

• Distinguish between financial assets (bank accounts, investments, retirement accounts, etc.) and physical assets such as cars, home, or personal possessions.

• Which financial assets …

Freeing Up Money from Services

Worried man and woman.

Utility Budget Plans

You can work with your service provider so that your monthly bill is based on an average of the previous year’s monthly bills. This is usually called “level billing.”

However, if you exceed the budgeted amount, you could end up owing money at the end of the current year or your fixed payment will increase next year. In some cases, a utility company may make an adjustment during the year, if useage is greatly exceeding the estimated …

What is Your Net Worth?

A net worth statement, sometimes called a financial statement, measures wealth or how much we are worth – at one point in time.

 

calculator

 

What are your assets? Assets include cash and other items of value that can be converted to cash. Some assets are more difficult than others to convert to cash. Be careful not to overvalue personal belongings, such as televisions and furniture as these often lose value over time.

 

• How much do you have in cash or …

Keeping a Roof Overhead

 

Keeping a roof overhead is an important concern
when your income drops. If you rank your bills in
order of priority, chances are housing is at or near
the top of the list.

When you are under the financial stress of reduced
or lost income, one of the biggest expenses is
housing. Housing expenses include mortgage or
rent payments, insurance, taxes, household
maintenance and repair, utility bills, furnishings,
and cleaning supplies.

When income drops, careful planning can help you…

Meeting Your Insurance Needs

MEETING YOUR INSURANCE NEEDS

When your income or personal situation changes,
review your insurance coverage. If your income
decreases because of a layoff, illness, disability,
divorce, or death of a breadwinner, you may find it
extremely difficult to pay insurance premiums. If
this happens, you should first determine your
minimum needs for insurance. Then, call or write
your agent to check into a different payment plan
that allows you to keep your coverage. Or,
investigate plans with lower premiums.

Insurance …

Controlling Spending

 

When the family faces reduced income, take
immediate action to stop all excess spending.
Whether your situation is temporary or extended,
you need to get the most for your money.

Studies have found that many families do not
adjust their lifestyle for about six months after
their income is reduced. That six months of
ignoring the situation can bring disaster. When
you take charge of your financial situation
immediately, you are making a positive
contribution to your family’s well-being …

Deciding Which Bills to Pay First

DECIDING WHICH BILLS TO PAY FIRST

When you do not have enough money to cover your family’s basic living expenses and pay all your creditors, you face some difficult financial decisions.

When family income is reduced, your spending habits must change. The sooner you change, the more likely your financial problems can be lessened. Your family should be part of the decision-making process, since their cooperation is essential to carry out the plans.

When your bills exceed the money available …

Accepting Your Feelings

 

People respond to a personal crisis with many feelings: anger, anxiety, outrage, self doubt. They may be hostile – lashing out at those closest to them. Or, they may become moody and depressed. Their tension may show up as restlessness, loss of appetite, loss of interest in sex, insomnia, and feelings of apathy and exhaustion. While some of these symptoms may be unpleasant, they are normal, predictable reactions of people experiencing a loss or critical change in their lives.…

Having a Spending Plan is Critical

A spending plan or budget is a plan for spending and saving family resources to meet identified goals.

money and records


What is the type of expense?

• Fixed expenses occur on a predetermined
schedule and are for a set amount (such as a car
payment or rent).

• Variable or flexible expenses usually occur on a
predetermined schedule, but may change in
amount (such as a cell phone or utility bill).

• Discretionary expenses are ones that are
totally up to you …