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Start Making Some Money Plans

By Sara Gilbert, GreenPath Debt Solutions

Why do we wait to take action? Especially when the chips are down and decisions are difficult, taking action can be tough indeed.

Doing nothing, though, has its own set of consequences, so why do we wait? In our counseling sessions at GreenPath, many if not most clients, tell us that they waited quite some time before making an appointment with one of our certified counselors.

Counselors are trained to offer options and relief to deal with financial concerns. What causes the long wait to start to try to do something about finances that are not working as well as they should?

First, there is the sense that some have, that needing financial, budget or debt advice is a sign of failure. This is not true. As a society, our financial choices have become more complex. Expert advice is a necessity these days.

A great example of this can be seen when we think about applying for a mortgage loan.

We used to walk into the bank on the corner to apply for a fixed-rate mortgage loan that we would pay off in 30 years. There was one kind of loan and one kind of repayment.

The current increase in foreclosures can be partly attributed to the fact that in the past 20 years or so, those more simple rules of the mortgage business changed to become quite complex with many products and loan types.

Why wouldn’t you want some advice on how to best understand the rules of the game so you can make the best choices for yourself and your family?

Another reason that I think we avoid taking action is that we think we have no options. As the difficult economy moves on, we are all dealing with this “new normal” time of financial and economic adjustment.

We all have difficult financial concerns with complex consequences to the decisions we make.

You can’t know what might make your financial life better if you don’t ask the experts what all of your choices might be. Do these questions sound familiar to you? Will we be able to pay off debts? Will my job continue? If it doesn’t, how do I make my rent or mortgage payment? If I had an emergency car repair, could I afford to pay for it? What if I get sick and have to recuperate at home for a period of time? There’s plenty to worry about and you can worry or you can take action.

Make a plan. Get some advice. Certified counselors at GreenPath are available to help you plan to pay off debts, balance your budget or deal with your mortgage concerns.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting some GreenPath clients, Jerry and Sue Bailey, who recently paid off more than $92,000 in credit card debts.

They were recently awarded the National Foundation for Credit Counseling Client of the Year Award for their hard work and determination.

They told me that they were reluctant to talk to each other about their debts prior to meeting with a GreenPath counselor, let alone anyone else.

But about five years ago, they took some action to get some reputable advice from a GreenPath certified credit counselor, and today, they are debt free and very excited about their future without debt.

They worked hard and had some hurdles along the way, but they say they would never have achieved their goal if they hadn’t had a plan and some good advice.

Sara Gilbert is the group manager for the Colorado branch of  GreenPath Debt Solutions. GreenPath is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.  

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