The pursuit of happiness is not only written into our Declaration of Independence, it is recognized by the United Nations as a basic human right. We have to wait until March 20, 2023, to celebrate International Day of Happiness, but if you start planning now, you can make 2023 a new year full of new routines, happiness, and new opportunities.
The new year is more than a celestial circumstance; it marks a chance for a fresh start mentally and emotionally. For many who suffered dire financial problems in the current year, the new year offers hope for genuine happiness.
How? Reworking your financial models is a good place to start. Forbes recommends six steps to wrestling the wrecked family finances into submission:
- Identify financial goals and how to achieve them — Decide what you are trying to achieve as a family (saving, vacation, remodeling, future security, college) and then set a dollar amount as a goal
- Create a budget — Track monthly income and allocate your income to pay off expenses; think of it not as a budget but as a spending plan
- Track expenses — Use whatever tool really will work for you: envelopes, online or smartphone apps, or boxes of receipts; just be sure you faithfully track every penny leaving your accounts and home
- Establish a bill-paying system — Your local bank or credit union will be very happy to set up separate accounts for every major expense, helping you to avoid reallocating funds for impulse purchases; have a mortgage payment account alongside a vacation funds account, holiday savings account, and clothing account
- Review every account statement — You are looking for signs of fraud, mistakes or term changes; prevent “free trials” from turning into pricey monthly subscriptions, catch tiny fraudulent charges testing your diligence, and watch interest rates on unsecured loans (credit cards)
- Communicate with your significant other — Using debit cards avoids credit charges, but if both of you are tapping them, your bank account can empty quickly; consider three accounts: yours, your significant other's, and a commingled account
We are not saying happiness issues forth from this six-point plan automatically, but getting a grip on your finances does lift spirits. That's not just our view; U.S. News & World Report says so, too.
But what if your current financial situation is, well, grim? What if medical expenses, job upheavals, high interest rates, or writs of attachments freezing your bank accounts are already eating at your family serenity? Bankruptcy is a great alternative to sleepless nights and family feuds.
When you declare Chapter 7 bankruptcy or its legal cousin, Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you do not follow in the footsteps of major corporations with their infamous Chapter 11 filings. You are filing for personal bankruptcy, which is legal, beneficial, and stabilizing for individuals and families.
Working with an experienced bankruptcy attorney, you can get your family finances under control once and for all. The New Year really does bring a new outlook on your life, as you can protect everything you love:
- Keep your home
- Keep the car you need for work
- Keep the family TV, furniture, and appliances
- Hold onto your wedding ring and family treasures
- Preserve your retirement accounts, spousal support payments, child support payments, and Social Security benefits
Think of the joy you will feel when you replace sad, tired patterns with new routines:
- Instead of dreading the arrival of each new bill, you will already know how everything will be paid
- Instead of arguing, crying, or despairing over financial straits, you can all feel confident in your firmer financial future
- Instead of feeling like a victim of creditors, you will have a strong ally defending your rights as you continue to stay in touch with your bankruptcy attorney
Both methods of bankruptcy — Chapter 7 and 13 — require you to follow guidelines and be careful with your money. Contrary to myth, you are not “getting away with” something; you are availing yourself of the laws available to protect you. You rebuild your creditworthiness while making some small sacrifices.
You feel a fresh sense of freedom. Your new routines include changes in behavior that promise a brighter financial year ahead.
The time to work on your financial wellness is now. The place to start is a click or call away. The experienced, dependable, compassionate Collin County and Denton County bankruptcy attorney, Théda Page, can help. When you become her client, Théda will use her 20+ years of experience fighting for your rights, your future, and your financial security. Call (214) 618-2101 for a confidential consultation at The Page Law Firm today.
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