The total UK personal debt at the end of June 2012 was £1228 billion. The average personal debt of a person seeking help is now £32,000. Has your personal debt got out of hand? To release yourself from debt you need financial integrity. Financial integrity is about ‘facing the truth’ and taking full responsibility to turn your situation around. In short, you are going to ‘save’ yourself and stop hoping for a windfall, a miracle, a rich partner, or a lottery win to dig you out of your current financial mess. You need to take action, change your thinking and change tactics. Are you ready to commit 100 per cent to this? If you are, you will have another shot at achieving personal success and fulfilment. Is this what you want?
Facing the truth
Being in debt doesn’t mean ‘the end’. It is a sign to change. You need to face the truth and take control of your financial integrity. What are the signs that you are heading for trouble?
- You try to look good for other people but it is getting harder to keep up your ‘image’.
- You blame other people for your problems.
- You argue with your partner about money issues.
- You talk about what you are going to do but never get around to doing any of it.
- You pay your bills late.
- You don’t know or really want to know how much debt you have.
- You are working harder and harder.
- You can’t get a loan any more.
- You buy yourself something when you feel down about yourself.
- You don’t enjoy your job any more.
- You don’t feel supported in your personal relationships.
- All of the above ‘states’ have been created because the person’s financial integrity is out of balance. To stay in balance you have to look and respond to ‘your truth’.
Your truth consists of three parts
- Your basic structure
- Your needs
- Your desires
- You have to manage all of these parts otherwise you will lay yourself open to making financial mistakes.
Your basic structure
The basic structure includes knowing what your monthly outgoings and expenditures are, what your mortgage is and what provisions you have for your pension. The basics may seem like the boring bits but they are really important. You have to create a secure structure around you. You have to know what your boundaries are to avoid cracks appearing and financial mistakes being made.
What is your total debt? What are your total assets worth? Do you have enough money to live on? Do you have enough people to support you? Do you have enough time to take care of yourself? Do you tell the truth to yourself and others? Do you need to spend some time putting the basics into place?
Your needs are your passions and the material things that you feel you need NOW. Needs are the very ‘things’ that drive you and seduce you. It is these needs that will trick you into believing that you don’t need to spend time on the basic structure because it is boring. So you have to manage your needs very hard otherwise they can become very demanding and persuasive. Needs have emotion attached to them and they can hook you in. For example, you can find yourself thinking, ‘I have to have it’, ‘I have to be the best’, and ‘I have to feel the most special’.
Your desires are at the top of the ladder. They are more like ‘mini visions’ that spring into your head. Things like wanting more time to travel, more time to spend with your family and more time to spend doing the things you enjoy. They are the things or the ‘states’ that you want to achieve. Ideally they should be light and carefree otherwise they turn into needs that have to be satisfied.
Desires have to be managed to prevent them from becoming needs. For example, you would like a new computer. The more you think about this computer, the more your desire for it grows until it has become a very important and crazy ‘need’. You need this computer to feel satisfied and good about yourself and your job. When a desire isn’t managed properly, you can easily be consumed by it and feel the need to fulfil it.
If you find yourself falling into this trap STOP and go back to your basic structure. Can you afford a new computer? Would an upgrade be a more sensible option? Overspending will throw your financial integrity out. Is there another way that you can deal with the need that the computer satisfied? Your need to be the best, feel good and perhaps more advanced than your colleagues?
Once you operate from ‘truth’ it will be easier to manage your life. Let’s take a closer look at a few other simple steps to help you.
- Understand your money. Track every expenditure for at least a month. What are you buying? It will probably shock you just how much you spend but you will build up a picture of where your money is going.
- Make a budget. Write a budget that reduces your expenditure by 25%. What costs can you cut out? Could you reduce your mortgage payments, your expenditure on eating and drinking out, and membership to clubs that you no longer use. What else could you cut out?
- Increase your income. Are you being paid what you deserve? Why are you in this line of work? Are you fulfilled by what you do each day? Are you due a pay rise? Could you sell any of your personal possessions? Could you rent out a room in your house?
- Get the support you need. You will need the help and energy of the people around you. Advise the people close to you what your plans are. Make sure your family rallies behind you.
- Raise your standards. Raise your standards at work and home. Don’t be tempted to cheat and go on a spending spree. Buckle down and enjoy getting solvent. Take pride in what you are doing and achieving.
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