Have you ever had to look yourself in the mirror and say “I need help”?
I had a customer come into my office and say those words “I need help!” My wife passed away about 4 months ago. I have never paid a bill in my life, she did all of that for me. I know what you have pictured in your mind here sits this 85 year old man that has lost his wife. You would be wrong, 28 years old she was killed in a car accident and left him with the sweetest little girl that you will ever meet. I said do you have your bills that are due/overdue in final notice with you? “I do, but I don’t know where to start.” So broke we out all of the bills that he had, I asked have you had anything shut off yet? No our gas and electric is auto deducted. We did get a foreclosure notice today which is why I came in… Let’s start there! I told him that the most important things are food, house, utilities, and car in that order. I told him that everything would be fine in time, this won’t be done today. So we called the mortgage company and said this is the situation what can we do? He has the money in the account to make him current can we do that? We got current with that they waived the late fees. We did the something with the credit card companies. We just asked that they waive the late fees, we aren’t asking to forgive any debts he said “they are all my bills I just don’t know where to start to get on track.” With a budget, I asked when he got paid next? While I printed out a blank August calendar and said I get paid the 1st and the 15th. Are you salary or hourly? Commission… In my mind I’m thinking Ouch! Ok have you been working since the accident? I’m working yes. Ok, what is your average commission check? He told me, ok so this is a more difficult situation based on your pay just because it can change so drastically going into Fall and Winter. Well I do have a “Winter” job too pushing snow. Well that helps that situation some at least. Based on a commission you need to build a budget with the ups and downs of sales. First of all pay your Four basic needs first out of every paycheck. Then you will need to be paying yourself saving for what Winter may bring you. Save about 30%, we mapped out his next 6 weeks we got everything set up on his online banking so he is able to monitor his accounts and make payments. A commission job pays very well if you are good at sales. The trouble that I have from a budgeting standpoint is that you never have a steady pay check.
I have a co-worker who has an “if something happens” 3 ring binder. Her husband and son know that if something happens to go take this safe deposit box key to this bank and get into the box everything is in there. I don’t think that everyone needs to go to this extreme or can be that type of planner. Everyone should have a “will” in place. “Trusts” are nice but that can be a difficult process getting up and running. Plus they can be super expensive to get started. A will is fairly inexpensive and you are planning for yourself what to do with your things when you die. I promise all of will die no matter what you believe, we will all leave this body on earth what you believe from there is up to you. Just like with a budget you are telling your money what to do, with a will you are telling your stuff where to go and what to do. This should be on you priority for this month. If you have children you need to have something in place where you want the kids to go so once you are gone the families aren’t in court fighting over custody. If you think I’m too young re-read the top of the article. 28 years old gone turn on the news 16 year old gone. Facebook child dies of cancer at 18 or 6. It can happen to you or to me. If you have children you should probably be looking to have the document reviewed every 5 years until they are out of college. In most cases you don’t want to give several thousand dollars to a high school freshmen they will have no plan or idea what to do with any sort of money windfall no plans for the future on saving or investing. Once they are out on their own they can start to make some educated decisions. Ask the hard questions to your parents if they are still alive. What are their plans? Do they have a Will or a Power of Attorney? Trust? Maybe sit with a finical planner. Not an advisor who wants to put your money into the stock market and “make you some money” (Make their commission) a planner who can take a look at your whole picture of your assets to help to guide your future.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
― Benjamin Franklin