Can’t Bear to Check Your Finances? Here’s Help
BY LAURA MCMULLEN
Would you rather eat that ATM receipt than risk seeing your balance? You’re not alone. Keeping tabs on money can be stressful and confusing. Even if you know you should keep track of your finances, it can feel easier to just ignore balances, credit card statements and bills. But what’s easy now may become hard to stomach later. Avoidance can lead to overdrafts, a lowered credit score, debt and perhaps missed opportunities to save and invest. Sound familiar? Don’t feel guilty, says Justin Nichols, certified financial planner and director of operations at Garrett Planning Network. He tells clients in this situation: “Let’s just start new right now and figure out a plan to move forward.” You’re already making moves by clicking this article. Read on to learn how to get a handle on neglected finances. DETERMINE IF YOU NEED PROFESSIONAL HELP These tips are most helpful for folks whose finances aren’t yet in dire straits — just ignored. However, avoidance is particularly easy (and harmful) when you’re financially overwhelmed, says Sarah Newcomb, behavioral economist for Morningstar and author of “Loaded: Money, Psychology, and How to Get Ahead Without Leaving Your Values Behind.” If you can’t cover your basic needs or feel like you’re drowning in debt, talk with a nonprofit credit counseling agency. Credit counselors offer free budgeting help and may be able to create a plan to consolidate your debts and lower the interest rate. SCHEDULE FINANCIAL CHECK-INS Acknowledge any anxiety you feel about dealing with finances, says Amanda Clayman, a psychotherapist and coach specializing in financial wellness. “Anxiety sucks our attention and energy,” she says, which makes problem-solving difficult.
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