Dr. Phil was a re-run today, but he talked to a couple who has filed for bankrupcy but are right back in financial trouble. They have 5 phone lines, pay $159 a month for cable, 2 cats, 3 dogs, 1 lizard (100 crickets a week it eats) big house, etc. etc. Some of Dr. Phil's advice:Knowledge is power. Know how much money you've got and know where it's going. You can't make good decisions on bad information.Remember that nothing is sacred (nothing can't be eliminated).You don't solve money problems with money. If it's money troubles your encountering, having someone pay all your bills and give you some extra spending cash wouldn't fix things. You need to make bigger changes that prevent the same problems from re-occuring.The hardest thing to do is to admit that what you're doing is not working, and be willing to change it. Stop justifying! You either do or don't have the money for something. Little expenses add up, especially when that money doesn't exist to begin with. Decide what you want: to get your nails done and be bankrupt or to be financially responsible? Afford it first, and justify it second. Change your language. Stop using words like "have to" and "need" when they don't necessarily apply. Does your child "have to" have cable TV? Make decisions based on reality — not on guilt. If you can't afford (in terms of time or money) to take care of five pets, then even if your child adores them, one or more may have to go. You may really want to buy your teenagers name-brand clothing, and they may tell you what misfits they'll be without a label on their shirt, but if you can't afford it, you just can't buy it. It's that simple. Be willing to downgrade. You may have gotten used to a lifestyle that is not feasible. You may need to live in a smaller house, drive an older car, or change your budget.Be willing to challenge everything. "There are no sacred cows when re-engineering your life," Dr. Phil says. Recognize that your overscheduling and overpsending is hurting your family. Children learn what they live. Is this how you want them to live?Give yourself permission to slow down and take care of yourself. Do you really need to be at all your son's football practices? What if you used that time to take a bubble bath, or to lie down and read a magazine? It's not a gift to your kids to make yourself sick. Don't be a martyr.Have a family meeting about how things are going to change. Explain that you need to eliminate some of the moving parts. Don't be afraid of telling your kids that there will be some financial adjustments.Recognize that you're not in control of everything. You just don't have that power. When you stop expecting that of yourself, you'll make more realistic choices.
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