What Are the Best Tips for Avoiding Financial Trouble?

Tara Barnett

Avoiding financial trouble is difficult because unexpected situations and problems outside one's control can have a negative effect on one's financial situation. It is possible, however, to minimize the chances of getting into financial trouble by fully understanding any financial risks one takes. If one is already in trouble, it is a very good idea to try and lower debts, pay off credit cards, and attempt to improve one's credit. On the other hand, if one is merely looking to avoid future financial trouble, the best way to accomplish this goal is to have a savings account and never enter into any financial arrangement one does not understand.

Many people end up in financial trouble not because of frivolous debt but because of an unexpected expense.
Many people end up in financial trouble not because of frivolous debt but because of an unexpected expense.

One of the biggest sources of financial trouble is debt. Credit card debt, loans, and other situations in which a person owes money to another person or bank are very risky, because if his financial situation changes, he may begin to have trouble making payments. This can become a major problem over time, because failing to make payments or making late payments is bad for credit ratings. Avoiding debt when possible and making intelligent choices about which debts to take on are both great strategies for staying out of financial trouble. Some debts are worthwhile risks, but frivolous purchases made on credit are usually not good choices.

Many people end up in financial trouble not because of frivolous debt but because of an unexpected expense. A loved one might have large medical bills, or one's car might break down, and may suddenly need a large amount of money. Usually, the solution to this type of problem is to go into debt, but getting back out again can be extremely difficult. This is particularly true when the expense is ongoing, as is the case with long-term illnesses. Having a savings account for emergencies can be a great way to avoid this type of trouble, although having good insurance against losses of these types can also be effective.

The most basic way to stay out of financial trouble is to keep one's income high enough that one's financial position is secure. This also involves investing one's money wisely and saving whenever possible. Many people believe that going into debt in order to improve the chances of having a higher income is wise, but it is important to research the potential of the debt to pay off. Student loans, for example, are in no way a sure path to future income, but taking out a loan to start a business that one is certain will succeed may be. Doing research on all situations involving financial risk, as well as making reasonable decisions about money, are the best ways to stay out of avoidable financial trouble.

Discussion Comments

Cageybird

I have a sister-in-law who is always in financial trouble. No matter how much money she earns from her job, she cannot seem to save enough to make a complete payment on anything important. She ends up getting a lot of financial help from sympathetic relatives and friends, but those options are drying up quickly.

One piece of advice I give her about avoiding financial difficulties is to limit exposure to temptation. Don't treat a department store trip like a visit to the promised land or just something to do when you're bored. Make a list of the items you really need in order to function and put blinders on when you get to the store. Never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach, either.

Phaedrus

One thing I've learned in order to avoid financial difficulties is to pay off or budget major household expenses first. If I owe $450 in rent, $125 in utilities and a $200 car payment, those are the very first things I have to take out of a $1000 paycheck. Anything else, like food or entertainment, will have to be based on whatever's left over. If I have $100 remaining before my next pay day, I buy certain kinds of groceries. If I only have $25, the list has to be changed. The rule is bills first, personal needs second.

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