Posted November 26, 2008
The current financial crisis, currency situation and slowing economy worldwide is a worry for most people, but how are you coping if you are single and you have no one else to fall back on?
There is no doubt that there are benefits to being single and independent. You can do what you want, when you want, and you can spend your money how you like without having to answer to anyone else.
But the current tough times might be making you wonder if those people who are safely ensconced in a couple - whether that be by marriage or simply living together - have actually got a smoother ride. For example, if one half of the couple were to lose their job, things would certainly be difficult but they would still have a certain amount of money coming in to cushion the blow.
That would not be the case with a single person. If you have $2000 coming in each month and you lose the job that gives you that income, you are left with the task of having to get another job very quickly.
So how can you handle money in this situation? What should you be doing to protect yourself against those unexpected events in life that always seem to hit you when you are least prepared for them?
The first thing to do is to sit down and take a long look at how you live your life now. How much do you earn each week or month? What kind of bills do you have? Are you regularly paying for anything that you don’t actually need? The word ‘budgeting’ makes most people go cold, but there is a lot to be said for it! It can help you to prepare for the future and cushion the blow if anything happens that you need some cash for in a hurry.
If you have read anything at all about savings you may have heard that they should be viewed as just another bill. Only you are paying yourself instead of paying someone else. You would be surprised how the simple act of putting away as much as you can each month makes you feel.
Let’s say you earn $2000 a month and you have just $500 in savings. How would you feel if you lost your job?
Now let’s say you earn that same $2000 a month and you have $6000 in savings. Suddenly you have three months in which to cover your regular income while you find a new position. And you would probably find that the cash would last you longer than that because you would automatically tighten your belt to make sure you could cope.
There is plenty of information online that will help you to figure out how to cope with planning for all kinds of eventualities. You can make a good start by going to http://financialplan.about.com/cs/singlesandmoney/a/SinglesIssues.htm now.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is not to worry, whatever situation you might be in at the moment. The best thing to do is to be honest with yourself and look at every aspect of your current financial situation. Do you have debts? How big are they? Work out a way that you can pay them off more quickly if at all possible.
Similarly, how much cash do you waste each month? If you buy lunch out every day for example, that can really add up. Why not take lunches with you and put the cash you save into that savings account you are going to start up?
It might be difficult and even unpleasant to start looking at your finances to this degree to begin with, but once you have begun the process you will be amazed by just how uplifting it can be. Some people find that they wish they had done it sooner, while others discover that it really isn’t so bad anyway.
Even if you find that you owe more than you thought you did, or you feel embarrassed about the state of your finances, unearthing the truth is the first step to recovery. It is up to you to make sure you secure your future and take responsibility for your wellbeing.
So make sure today is the first day that you really take control of your money. You can build towards a nice nest egg if you want to - but you need to take the first step to achieve it.