Last month, I asked you to face your financial fears. Now, I want you to set your intention and make a commitment to yourself not to go backward. Here are three simple strategies to give you courage as you go forward.
1. Talk to someone you trust about your finances.
Speaking openly about your fears is one of the best ways to make your intentions real. Tell your best friend how much credit card debt you have; she may surprise you by admitting she has more. Open a conversation about money with your spouse—but only if you can do so without any blame or guilt. The idea is to create a safe environment in which to face your fears and get beyond them.
2. Write an affirmation.
Take out a piece of paper and write down a statement of the reality that you want to create for yourself. My favorite affirmation is "I have more money than I will ever need." Others I've heard: "I will be out of debt within a year." "I am capable of earning more than I need." "I will always be taken care of."
3. Take one small step to correct a situation that's causing you fear.
If you are in card debt, call one of your creditors and ask for a lower interest rate; if the answer is no, go to bankrate.com and research a lower-rate card that accepts balance transfers. (We'll talk more about this last suggestion next month.)
If you worry about not having enough to pay for your kids' college education or to retire, see how it feels to put away an extra $25 or $50 or $100 in a money market fund this month—whatever you think you can afford.
If you dread a job layoff and own a home with some equity in it, I want you to call a mortgage broker or a bank and open up an equity line of credit that could help you if this fear becomes a reality.
In March, we'll tackle getting out of debt.