Managing your finances can be a tough prospect, especially when you’re overwhelmed by a surplus of bills and underwhelmed by your lack of a steady cash flow. However, no matter how stressful your financial situation might be, there are some actions you just don’t want to take. So if you’re feeling a tad bit consumed with financial stress and think you might go out and do something crazy, take a look at this quick list of what not to do first.
- Don’t pull money out of your 401k. This is often a desired first course of action for hard workers who have saved thousands in their retirement fund. However, those funds are for just that, your retirement, and are not meant to be used as a savings account. This is why pulling money out of your 401k before the age of 59 results in a 10 percent distribution tax. If you are in between jobs, you can pull money out, but experts suggest you borrow rather than withdraw. This way, you can at least have the money back in your account for when you reach retirement age.
- Avoid walking away from your home. If you’re behind on your mortgage payments, it may be tempting to just pack up your clothes and family, hand your lender the keys and walk away. However, there are other routes to take. For instance, you can talk to your lender to see if they can defer payments, reduce interest or maybe even forgive some of the principal. Also, you can try a short sell on your home. In other words, there are too many options out there to act hastily and just walk away, putting yourself and your family through even more turmoil.
- Don’t blame your family … or shoot them. This may seem a bit drastic, but you’ve probably seen on the news heads of households who lose their jobs then lose their minds and shoot their whole family. If you’re feeling so upset about your financial situation that you’re thinking of removing your family from the situation at all costs, now’s the time to seek therapy – not that rifle in your attic.
- Try not to commit a crime. So you’ve been thinking about robbing a bank or starting an extortion ring – something, anything – to solve your financial woes. To be honest, if you’re skilled enough to pull off making money in these ways then you can easily use those talents in a more positive manner. For instance, you can try starting your own Internet business that requires little in start-up costs. In other words, just because you’re feeling bad doesn’t mean you have to do bad things, right?
Of course, you’re probably thinking it’s easy for someone else to tell you what not to do if they’re not in your position. But keep in mind that millions of Americans have lost their jobs in the past year, so there are tons of people who truly feel your pain. Taking a negative approach to managing your financial stress is never a good idea. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, instead of making hasty decisions, take a deep breath, feel thankful that you’re alive to see another day and know that times will get better before you know it.