Thankful Thursday: Financial help

 

St Patrick's Day hat with four-leaf clover

Turn your money “luck” around

About to get on my soapbox for a minute. It’s been on my mind.

Don’t be too embarrassed to seek help from a trustworthy and credentialed financial counselor.

Yes, it’s embarrassing to show all your failures, ignorance and the life events that impacted your finances negatively to a stranger. Laying it all out there asking for help isn’t easy. But I know for me it was the best thing I ever did despite all the tears when I had to hear hard truths and realize, hey, maybe you’re not so smart Miss Smartypants.

There are so many variables in life that can lead to financial strain like a job loss, a serious illness ot divorce. In America, we live in a culture of blaming folks in financial difficulties as if all people arrived in the situation only because they’re irresponsible.

Our culture that likes to believe that people pull themselves up by their own bootstraps to achieve success. Meanwhile ignoring the factors like privilege and socioeconomics that give some people a headstart in the race and others extra hurdles to overcome.

We’re not born knowing how to manage money and the game changes all the time. The advice someone gave you 100 years ago might not hold water today. The game changes to keep poor folks poor and middle class folks teetering on the line. It’s just sensible to figure out where you are and get professional help to get back up, stay on track or rise up!

I’m thankful for the financial counselor who helped me get my ship back afloat. Just like a snowball affect of things sent my finances rolling downhill, likewise a snowball effect of people, opportunities, dedication and hard work all moved my moolah back in the right direction. I’m thankful for them all.

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You just won the Mega Millions!!!

29/1/2013 Lottery ticket

29/1/2013 Lottery ticket (Photo credit: barbourians)

I’ve played the lottery over the years a handful of times each in three states. I’m definitely not what you’d call a regular lottery player at all, but I still have a “If I win the lottery plan.” written down on paper. Seriously.

Why? Because I’m a nice person (mostly). I am sympathetic to people hurting or in need. I have champagne tastes (except when it comes to wine) and I’m on a beer budget. And I know what it’s like to be in financial trouble. I think I’d be a prime candidate for one of those lottery win gone wrong stories. So I made a plan. My first thought when I’d heard the Georgia Mega Millions winner came forward immediately was, “I hope she has a plan in place.”

I’d show you a photo of the list, except no one can read my chicken scratch from 100 years ago. So here it is:

If I win the lottery

  1. Tell no one. Not husband. Not mama. Not daddy. Not siblings or even your BFF since kindergarten. Tell no one.
  2. Put the ticket in a secure location.
  3. Call in to work sick if you work.
  4. Spend that sick day securing a financial planner, lawyer and an tax accountant. Put together your team of professionals who will know how to manage money. As much as you may want to give friends or associates that business, don’t do it.
  5. Once all the money is accounted for, working with the professionals. Come forward.
  6. If the state lets you remain anonymous, take less and do it, if not make sure you have proper security before you come forward.
  7. Take the lump sum.

Lottery win goals

Goal 1: Income for life that covers salary, cost of living increases and my retirement
Goal 2: Pay-off any debt I have
Goal 3: Give to charity (Make sure you have selected the charities you want to give to.)
Goal 4: Set aside a stream of funds to take care of my parents
Goal 5: Arrange for a Hawaiian vacation for my parents, myself and brothers.

I also realized I would have to move. And quickly. To a much more secure location temporarily. Also, now I’d have to disable my social media accounts and change my phone numbers. Having the money accounted for would help me to say “No,” to all of the requests that would come in to “let me hold X amount for a minute” or “Would you like to give X amount.” If I think I get calls now, I’m sure they’d triple if I was a winner. One other thing I’d update my list with is 1. Make time to dream and 2. make and prioritize my bucket list after taking care of business.

As of today the co-winner of the Mega Millions jackpot has not come forward. I hope that person is planning for that windfall right now with the appropriate professionals. It would be awful for such a great thing to become a worst nightmare.