When I was growing up I was directly impacted by a lot of my family members in the choices I made with my finances. In particular, I had one family member that always seemed to struggle with managing their bills and finances. Whenever we came over to their house, the entire dining room table was stacked with bills. Tons and tons of bills. Plus on top of that, their family had tubs full of bills around the table too that were unopened.
I never once pried into why thy never opened their bills, but years later I soon realized they were avoiding financial responsibility. After I graduated from high school I came to find out that this family had filed for bankruptcy, and I have to assume part of this was because they didn't want to deal with all the bills and debts. The stacks and stacks of pain associated with each bill.
I doubt that my family member is the only one in the US that struggled with confronting paying bills. Frankly, I'd suspect that a lot of Americans are crushed in a mountain of debt and bills. If you are one of those people or know someone who is struggling to stay afloat, then here are six reasons for financial accountability.
- Don't be ashamed – Satan wants you to feel crushed and unworthy of telling anyone your sin. Your financial irresponsibility! He's laying it on thick and you feel like no one would understand. Get out from under this lie, and kick your bills in the face. Tackle them one at a time. Start by opening one bill, and focus on it until it is paid off. Each paid off bill will feel like one small pebble that is lifted off you.
- Confess your sin (debt/bills) – bills are nothing more than the repercussions of past consumer choices. Start by reaching out to a close friend or family who you trust. Someone who you view as financially responsible. Meet with them and tell them your situation. Lay it all out there. This can be one of the hardest things to do, but can have the biggest reward. Don't just stop at meeting with them once, but meet regularly. Ask your financial accountability partner to hold you to specifics. Like for instance: I want to pay off all my medical bills by Dec. 2014 or I want to pay off my car loan by Feb. 2014
- Put your bills in plain site – unlike before, when your bills would go unopened, bring your bills out in the open. I'm a big proponent of posting bills or debts on my fridge. This is a great daily reminder for you and your family of what you are trying to accomplish as a family. This will help your kids understand too what you need to do collectively.
- Tell others about your success – once you've tackled a few of your bills/debts, then be sure to tells others about them. As trivial as this might seem, your close family and friends will be there to encourage you. This is extremely important in order to tackle all your bills. So, stop and revel in your successes for a little while.
- Hate debt/bills – much like I've written about in the past, a person needs to grow to distain debt in much the same way as Agent Smith hated the reality in the movie “The Matrix”. In order to get out from under this mountain, then you'll need to make some major mental adjustments to your view of finances. Start by watching this short Matrix video and get hating!!
- Leaving a legacy – if nothing else motivates you to have financial accountability, then consider what type of legacy you are leaving? Are you leaving a legacy of indebtedness or one of financial peace? Robert Kiyosaki's book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, comes to mind when I think about the two different paths you can go down and lead your family towards. Consider for a moment what you want people to say at your eulogy. What do you want them to say about you?
So these are just a few motivational tips to get on financial track. What motivation or tips would you have for a friend or family member that came to you and asked you for help?