Learning about Personal Finance
I learned a lot of what I know about personal finance in the 1980’s while serving in the United States Navy. While stationed overseas, I had the opportunity to take a college course. The course I chose was Personal Finance.
Most people don’t learn anything about personal finance growing up. Either their parents never took the time to discuss it or their school never taught it. Although my parents taught me some things about finances, I probably learned more in this one class than at home.
Why are people afraid of their finances?
No one wants others to know they are having financial difficulties. After all, what are other people going to do? Most of the time, people are not going to hand over money to correct the situation. So not only is it embarrassing, but now others know that I can’t handle my finances.
But maybe it has nothing to do with handling my finances. Maybe it is an unforeseen event that changes everything. Is it a divorce situation? Did your spouse pass away? An automobile accident can radically change someone’s circumstances. What about a medical diagnosis?
All these situations have the potential of placing someone in a financial situation that is not optimal. Sometimes, these situations can lead to bankruptcy or foreclosure.
If you have ever looked at your checkbook and wondered how you were supposed to pay for everything before you ran out of funds, it can be terrifying. I can recall at times in my life where I had to choose between paying a bill late or buying food. It was after a divorce situation when all the financial information came out. Making decisions like that adds a tremendous amount of stress to someone’s life and in my case, those late fees took months to catch up on again until the financial situation improved.
No one likes to talk about their finances to others. Some feel it is none of the other person’s business. Others are just too embarrassed to talk about it. Either way, it places us in a position where there is no one to talk to about it. We tend to suffer with massive debt, added stress, and not knowing what to do about it.
People are afraid of judgment!
“Well, you should have paid attention more.”
“If you didn’t overspend, you would be fine.”
There are probably a thousand different things you can hear from others about all the ways you may have handled your personal finances poorly. There are another million things you can tell yourself about things you’ve done wrong. It sure is easy to beat ourselves up over things. You don’t need anyone else judging what got you in trouble with your finances.
I have been through a rollercoaster of events in my life. There have been times when my financial situation has been really good and other times when I didn’t know how I was supposed to make it another week.
One way to avoid those feelings of judgment is to get involved in groups and counselors who are there to offer suggestions on how to improve the situation. Sometimes, family and close friends are the wrong place to look for that and that is ok.
There are a ton of people that can beat you up about it. Instead, find those who will support you.
Solutions are Out There
I know that I don’t have all the answers but here are a few resources to consider when trying to get your finances under control. For immediate assistance, check with your local church. They may not be able to give you money or pay your bills all the time, but they can refer you to other resources that may be able to help.
The Little Debt-Free Book – This is a book I wrote that takes you through my financial journey after a divorce. Check out the website for some free resources and ways to order the book online. It not only tells you some of my story of becoming debt-free but offers tools to help organize and budget.
Financial Peace University – This study is offered through Dave Ramsey. Check out the website for information on when and where these classes are available. This is a 13-week course with specific goals for each week to change your way of thinking about finances.
Crown Ministry Financial Classes – These studies vary in length and walk through the financial process with a heavy emphasis on faith. Check out their website for information on when and where classes are available.
Personal Finance can be scary but you don’t have to deal with it alone. I’d love to know if you have tried any of these resources and what the outcome has been.