Homeownership Guidance, Advice and Blogs

As the Director of Affiliate Relations at HomeFree-USA, I’ve always been fascinated with how people handle their money. Like everyone else, I’ve had my financial ups and downs. In fact, it took me 32 months to pay off $32,000 in credit card bills and build up a six-month emergency fund. While that was a very difficult period, I am grateful – and wiser -- for the experience.

Through my personal experiences and working at HomeFree-USA, I’ve gained a ton of insight that I feel compelled to share. You’ll find those lessons here. Feel free to take the thoughts and ideas that resonate with you most and put aside the rest for later. I look forward to sharing my journey.

How to Overcome Financial Setbacks When You're Mentally Unprepared

Runners will tell you: only half of finishing a marathon is about physical stamina. The other half is showing up and believing you're capable of conquering those 26.2 miles.

Likewise, much of personal finance is about attitude and inherently knowing that there are many ways to make money, even if in the moment you're struggling to pay your bills. In the face of very real money problems, when you're not mentally ready to save, cut back, or work harder (but know you need to), here's how to rise up and take action:

  • Continually remind yourself that this too shall pass. Even if the cause of the setback is permanent (like a death), the financial burden it's creating doesn't have to be. By reminding yourself that this too shall pass you're recognizing that this is a temporary situation that will lead to a better future. Also, don't wallow in your misfortune. Accept what has occurred, then move on to the next tip.
  • Embrace your self-awareness. Sometimes things happen that are completely out of your control. Many times though, if you do an honest assessment you will see how your action (or inaction) either created or exacerbated the situation. Find at least one thing that you could have done better, pledge to never allow that to be an obstacle again, and search for ways to actively repair it going forward.
  • Consider different ways to reach your goal. If your setback is unemployment, searching for a new job could be a short endeavor, but there may still be a lag in pay. Consider the gig economy as a short term option to keep money flowing in. Even if you don't have a spare room to rent on AirBnB or a car new enough to drive for Uber or Lyft, you can deliver food or groceries in any car or bicycle, do light manual work via TaskRabbit, or put your professional skills to work with Guru or Fiverr. Who knows, you may even stumble upon something you can keep going after your main income is restored.
  • Avoid allowing outside influences to keep you down. This includes toxic people, negativity, age (i.e. thinking you're too young or too old to...), fear, guilt, others perceptions of you, or the state of the world. Succumbing to any of those will simply hold you back from getting beyond this time. Period.
  • Do no further harm. You may be forced to use credit cards during this time, but do your best to avoid digging a deeper hole by examining every expense and seeing how it can be minimized or eliminated. When this gets tough refer back to my first suggestion: remind yourself that this too shall pass.

I know setbacks don't feel good but never fear: you've got this.

And so it is.