I do a lot of counseling and problem solving with folks who believe they’ve hit rock bottom. A lot of them are in dire situations, but, truth be told, most of them are just in a rough spot and can’t see any alternatives beyond the traditional one, which is to ask family or friends for money. That solution is really nothing more than them saying, “Please bail me out of this problem I’ve created again.”
I don’t work that way, but, believe it or not, people come to me in counseling and either ask for money or want my services for free. I’ll do counseling pro bono from time to time, but never until I sit down and take a look at what their finances really are. Then we often find out that they’re broke because of how they spend money, not because of how much money they have. Then we start looking at alternatives. Ten minutes with me and we’ll come up with 20 ways to get out of the immediate situation and start building on a bigger and better life on the other side.
In working with these people, here are some questions I usually ask…
- Do you have cable or satellite tv?
- Do you smoke, drink alcohol or soft drinks, or have sugary snacks in your pantry?
- Do you eat out more than once a month?
- Do you go to the movies?
- Do you own any DVD’s or CD’s?
- Do you have any pets?
- How many people live in your house that are capable of working?
- How many cars do you own in your household?
- How often do you ride a bike on errands?
- What are your hobbies?
- Do you subscribe to Netflix, Hulu Plus, or Amazon Prime?
- How many computers in your home?
- How many and what type of phones are there in your home?
- What do you collect?
- Do you have a gym membership?
- Do your kids have more than five toys each?
- What kinds of activities do your kids do after school?
If you answered in the affirmative to three or more questions, I’m pretty sure that you’re not at rock bottom financially. Maybe you should sell some things, quit buying so much, and reevaluate your priorities. Or you could keep going on the same path until you do hit bottom.