Danger of Delaying

No one likes to think about the scary things in life. "People are not psychologically wired for what are considered to be low-probability, high-consequence events," Ben says.

That means when it comes to something like premature death or getting laid off, we want to push preparation aside. We procrastinate on a will; we delay building an emergency fund. But seemingly healthy people do die abruptly—just look at Natasha Richardson—and they do, as we've seen so dramatically, lose their jobs. If you've prepared, you'll find yourself feeling a bit calmer. 

Hug the Monster

Turning a blind eye to your finances always brings trouble. When you let the bills or late notices stay in their envelopes, you're making matters worse. When you finally have to deal with the problem—believe me, you will eventually—it will be exaggerated because you didn't take action.

Face your financial issues head on. Open your bills, pick up the phone, call your lender. If applicable, tell them you're struggling and explain why. If you lost your job or took a pay cut, be ready to prove it. Lenders are now used to these kinds of conversations and are more willing to help.


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