I was reflecting back yesterday about the first time my wife Angie and I were asked to greet visitors and make announcements from the platform at our Sunday church services. Being the introvert, I was pretty nervous. I wanted to do it right, make people feel welcome, and not screw it up.
So with Angie’s help we made it through the greeting and announcements ok, then I realized no one told me who to hand the mic off to next.
I froze like a gallon of Blue Bell ice cream… in Antarctica.
Someone pointed to the pastors.
But I was sufficiently freaked out and distracted by then that the phrase “Please welcome our awesome pastors Joseph and Yolanda Morgan to the platform” turned into “Uh… here’s our pastors next…Uh… Pastor, uh… MORGAN!!!
I was so distracted and uncomfortable that I had forgotten their first names! Sort of a faux pas when at that point we’d been members for about 5 years or so.
I’ve found after reading many personal finance books and counseling people about their finances, that many people have the same reaction when they get themselves into a money situation that causes panic.
When you’re in panic mode you don’t think logically, common sense goes out the door, and you find yourself making decisions you never thought you’d make. Like buying those expensive (and fly!) high heels to make yourself feel better because your debt situation has you depressed. Huh? Makes perfect sense right?
So many of us are living paycheck to paycheck that even a small bump in the road can have you looking seriously at payday loans, car title loans, pawning your possessions (think Pawn Stars tv show), running up the credit cards, or taking out a home equity loan (all bad ideas by the way).
Nobody is immune to the occasional bumps in the road, so how do you prevent panic and bad decisions from overtaking you and making your situation worse when those bumps come along?
You make sure to put yourself in a good position before bumps happen, and when you do that, you never get into panic mode, and you then allow yourself to make solid, rational decisions. Unlike me with a mic in my hand.
You do this by making a plan for your finances.
That means putting together and implementing a get out of debt plan, building an emergency fund to prevent panic from setting in, and spending wisely.
Yes, it can be done, even if you are living paycheck to paycheck. It takes work and it won’t come to you overnight, but it works if you just take action and do it.
We’ve greeted visitors and made announcements many times since that fateful day. I’m much more at ease and prepared now than I was that first time, and things go much better now. Just like your financial situation will get better with a little action and practice.
You can start taking action now by taking my “Celebrating Financial Freedom” home study course that will teach you all you need to know.
Have you ever made a stupid decision because you panicked? How did it work out for you in the end?
I can’t wait to read your comments, let’s get a discussion going.