70% of Americans would answer “No” to that question. Most of us are living paycheck to paycheck which means that if you missed one paycheck you would be in a world of trouble. Bills wouldn’t get paid. Dining out would have to be eliminated. And you might be afraid that bill collectors would start calling.
The current government shutdown brings to light the financial plight most Americans face every day. About 800,000 workers have been financially impacted by the longest government shutdown in history. If you don’t have savings, deal with lots of debt payments, or otherwise have sloppy financial habits this shutdown could cause major problems in your household. Last night on the news I saw families going to food banks because they couldn’t buy groceries like normal. Sometimes you simply aren’t in control of what happens to your paycheck. I won’t get political on you, but this shutdown is just one more reason you need to gain control over your finances.
Here are 3 reasons you need to take control and do something different:
Now is the time to get rid of debt. The necessity of making debt payments every month forces many to go to a job they don’t love, and work more hours than they’d like. If you didn’t have so many payments each month you would have options on how you choose to spend your 40 hours per week.
Having money in a savings account reduces stress because it allows you to continue with life as normal if the paychecks are halted by a job loss, this shutdown or some other external issue you weren’t in control of. You can think clearly about what you need to do next if you aren’t worried about the money.
Finally, having a budget or spending plan, and tracking your money gives you an important look at the health of your financial picture. You know what the priorities are, and you can quickly make decisions about how to proceed when a financial emergency arises.
Since we are still in January and you have the entire year to set and achieve your goals, I encourage you to consider what needs to change so your finances don’t run you. Decide today that you will take control, do something different, and finally get a handle on your money.
There are several ways you can help furloughed workers during this time of need as well.
Donate to a food pantry. Let’s rally around our fellow Americans to make sure they have the basics by giving out of our own excess. Consider what it would feel like to receive this help if it were you.
Get in touch with lawmakers, Senators and representatives and let them know you stand behind allowing these government employees to return to work. No matter where you stand on the political side, I think we can all agree that this shutdown must end.
Support businesses who are helping these workers with their bills, food, and other resources. There is a ripple effect when we are not paid and businesses who help ease the burden should be supported too.
If you need some help or accountability around your own financial situation maybe it is time for us to talk during a 30-minute Debt-Free Strategy session. Sometimes you just need an extra set of eyes or a new perspective to get you moving in the right direction. Here’s to a prosperous New Year!