One of my favorite new tv shows on The Discovery Channel is Man vs. Wild. The program follows Bear Grylls (one of the youngest ever to climb Everest) as he survives harsh conditions with minimal resources and finds his way back to civilization. I learn something new each episode and Bear seems to have fun doing it.
What would you do if you were suddenly thrust into a “harsh” personal financial situation? For instance, what if you woke up this morning and found yourself facing home loan foreclosure, in several thousand dollars of consumer debt, or zero in savings? How would you find your way out to financial “civilization”?
I would think that most people, however, aren’t thrust into a negative financial situation. They get there slowly, by their own doing, over time. Still, however they get there, the harsh conditions are the same: high interest charges, constant calls from creditors, uncertainty for their retirement, and possible bankruptcy.
Here are some of the minimal resources you could utilize to get you back to financial civilization if you find yourself in that harsh environment:
Seek advice from a financial advisor. You need someone who’s been there before, like Bear. You need someone who knows how to get you out. Here’s a list from the US Govt of approved credit counseling agencies. Your Church may have one as well. Ask a local CPA…they will most likely make free time for you and get you started in the right direction.
Get help from your family. Your parents have most likely been through this situation before. Ask them how they made it out.
Follow a personal finance blog. Many good bloggers are posting on a daily basis their personal road map to get you back on track. See the blog links to the right.
Pick up a guide book tailored to your situation. There are hundreds of books that you could read right in your local library that would give you excellent advice on getting your situation together. I would start with books like, Get a Financial Life or The Total Money Makeover.
Scour the internet for advice. Always check any advice you get against other sources, but feel free to just search for good advice on the internet. When you currently do a google search for “get out of debt”, this web site is the first listed: http://www.fool.com/ccc/debt/debt.htm. Looks like fool.com has several articles that should provide good advice.
- Read one of my “10 Things” posts. I have a series of blog posts cover the basics of personal finance. One of them touches on credit card debt. Check it out here.
- Look at someone else’s goals. I have a post on our debt reduction goals here.