Let’s face it: Life can be stressful enough, even for couples who are otherwise compatible. Why add money worries on top of all those other stressors like figuring out whether you want to change careers or deciding which set of in-laws’ home to visit during the end-of-year holidays. Ideally, you want to avoid financial problems whenever you can because you’ll be better off in the long run.
Why Should You Avoid Financial Problems?
Statistically, around nine out of 10 people living in the United States say that their stress levels are heavily impacted by their financials. Even people who have plenty of money and aren’t worried about financial insecurity day-to-day may end up losing sleep at night over finances. And that’s not good.
When you’re in a constant state of stress, you can’t focus your attention on all the good things in life. Indeed, life might feel like you’re just “going through the motions.” But when you can avoid financial problems by staying on top of foreseeable issues that could cause future issues, you will reap the benefits that come from not fretting about money.
What Are the Benefits When You Avoid Financial Problems?
When you can stop worrying about finances in your marriage or partnership, you increase your ability to strengthen your relationship with the person you love. Imagine not fighting over every dollar! That’s something that some couples only dream of experiencing.
Another benefit when you avoid financial problems by heading them off is that you increase the honesty and trust between you and your special someone. By concentrating on making smart money decisions, you can feel more relaxed around each other.
Finally, avoiding financial woes as a homeowner can be especially prudent. You may be able to increase the value of your property, allowing you to ask for more cash for your home if the time comes to sell.
How Can You Head Off Problems?
In a nutshell, the best ways to avoid financial problems is to be diligent, respectful, and pragmatic. Start today by concentrating on the following strategies to avoid financial problems now and down the road.
Buy Decent Vehicles Instead of Lemons
It can be so tempting to purchase a vehicle that seems to be a great deal. However, be very wary. Unless you set out to buy salvage cars for sale — and you might want to if you can rebuild a vehicle, resell it, and make a bunde — you should always buy cars with a known history.
A great way to ensure that the car you’re considering won’t cause you financial stress later is to have an independent mechanic check it over. Any scrupulous dealer or car seller will allow you to take a used vehicle to an auto technician of your choice for a second opinion.
Thinking of taking the leap and leasing a car or buying one new? If you need financing, be sure to read all the fine print. Also, make sure that you can afford all the payments. If you miss even one auto payment, your lender might repossess the car, leaving you high and dry — and still responsible for the balance.
Drive Safely and Responsibly
Speaking of driving, unless you want to get very close to an accident attorney in your area, always drive safely and responsibly. Not only will you prevent injury to yourself and others, but you could actually save a bundle on your car insurance.
Some insurance carriers have instituted promotions whereby insured people are able to get reductions on their premiums if they pay on time and stay out of trouble. In other words, the fewer tickets or accidents you have, the better.
Of course, sometimes a car crash isn’t your fault. If you’re being pressed by the other driver’s insurance company, or you’ve been seriously hurt and can’t seem to recover any damages, don’t hesitate to speak with some personal injury attorneys. Personal injury lawyers tend to work on retainers, which means you won’t spend anything upfront. If they believe you have a good case, they’ll fight for you. That way, you’ll avoid financial problems by recovering compensation to help you cover the cost of medical treatment and possibly emotional trauma due to the crash that wasn’t your fault.
Pay Down Debts Rapidly
Conversations about mounting debts will cause marital strife pretty quickly. For that reason, whenever you and your loved one take on a debt, map out a plan to pay it down as fast as you can. This will help you avoid financial problems based on ever-increasing interest charges.
A good example of this is to always pay more than the minimum on your credit card balance. You could literally save tens of thousands of dollars over your lifetime, just by making bigger monthly payments and reducing your debt faster. Some people don’t realize how much of a monetary penalty that interest can be. Check out your statements for the past 12 months to see how much interest you’ve paid. Then, ask yourself if it was worth it.
Another way to pay off debt is to pay one extra mortgage payment every year. How does this process assist you? If you are given a 30-year mortgage, making one extra yearly payment will remove more than two years of payments — and interest. Whenever you can, put something against your mortgage premium. Over time, you could pay it off much faster and own your home outright.
Keep an Eye on Water and Moisture Issues
Nothing tends to damage property like water. From mold to rotting beams, you should always pay attention to what’s happening in the pipes within and going to your house. For instance, don’t hesitate to contact a plumber if you suspect you need some drain cleaning. That’s what they’re there for, after all. And you’ll avoid financial problems because the issue won’t continue to get worse and worse until a pipe bursts through a ceiling or floods an entire room.
Other moisture problems could be solved with some old-fashioned remodeling or repairs. Many basements and lower levels have high humidity levels which lead to bacterial growth and unpleasant odors. Having a company put in a sump pump could turn an unusable basement into a man cave, guest bedroom, or family area.
What if the sewer lines back up into your home? Again, this is a time for plumbing companies to come to the rescue. They’re well-equipped to deal with the most unwanted of problems related to sewage in your home. Be sure to check your homeowner’s policy because you might be able to get all or part of any sewage repairs paid for, saving you money.
Pay Attention to Your Exterior Home Maintenance
After spending all that time on the interior of your house, be sure to pay attention to the outside as well. Smart homeowners who want to avoid financial problems caused by disrepair stay on top of ongoing maintenance including gutter cleaning and tree pruning. They also set out plans to save money for inevitable repairs.
Let’s say that you have a pool, just as an example. You know that you’ll have to repair or replace part of the pool at some point. Therefore, why not set aside a special interest-bearing savings account, like a short-term certificate of deposit, for maintenance costs? Put a bit away every paycheck, and you’ll never feel overwhelmed when you have to call a pool contractor to make upgrades.
Want another example of a common household job that can stress homeowners and cause them to argue about money? Just look up at your roof. Most roofs need to be replaced about every 30 years. If yours is on its last legs, start investigating the best roofing companies today. You may even want to seek out bids so you can project how much you’ll need when it comes time to make the big move and have a new roof installed.
Not sure you can cover the cost of a new roof or even a pool facelift at once? If you’ve built a little equity in your home, you may be eligible for a home equity line of credit loan. Talk to your bank or mortgage lender about the possibility. Many lines of credit are available at very reasonable interest rates, particularly if you and your partner have decent to excellent credit.
Hire Licensed Professionals to Work for You
A huge mistake some homeowners make is hiring people who are cheap, but not licensed. It’s important that whenever you pay someone to do a job around your house, you ensure they have a license to work. This protects you because otherwise, they could do shoddy work and you’d have to sue them in order to try to get your money back.
Any professional is accustomed to being asked about a license and will give you the number. You should also look up the professional online to see if other customers have had good or bad experiences. Again, this decreases the chances that you’ll end up stuck in a worse position than when you began.
Take Care of Your Health
You cannot put a price on your health, but you can avoid financial problems related to diseases and conditions that are under your control. For this reason, make a point of trying to eat healthier and stay in shape. Even losing just a little weight can add years to your life and keep you from developing common ailments like diabetes and high blood pressure.
Another way to protect your finances if you do get hurt and it’s because of a job accident is to always file a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation will pay for some of your wages and expenses until you recover. If your claim is denied, you may want to seek advice from a personal injury lawyer with workers’ compensation background. That way, you can make sure that you avoid financial problems related to high-priced medical bills you’re forced to pay out of pocket.
Treat Landscaping as a Must-Do Expense
Landscaping may seem like it’s not important, but it can definitely build value and add curb appeal to what will be one of the biggest investments you and your partner are likely to make.
Has it been a long time since you’ve considered how to add pizzazz and personality through landscaping? You may want to put in a call to a home remodeling services provider that specializes in designing outdoor spaces.
For instance, would the addition of a screened-in patio and arborvitae add character and warmth to your side yard? Or do you feel like an ornamental garden complete with koi pond could immediately elevate the appearance and functionality of your space?
Yes, it will cost money upfront to pay for any landscaping. However, you’ll eventually avoid financial problems because you won’t just “kick the can” down the road. Instead, your home will be aesthetically appealing and functional. Plus, you’ll probably find that you want to hang out in your backyard more often, which will help release your stress levels by getting you back to nature.
Stop Spending Emotionally
A lot of people like to splurge so much that they hide their spending from loved ones. If you can’t seem to get a handle on your desire to “shop ‘til you drop”, consider getting help. Otherwise, you might run through savings very quickly, or rack up a significant credit card bill that will take many years to pay off.
Remember, too, that if you get into tons of financial debt due to shopaholism, you could wind up forced to consider bankruptcy. Think you might be near that point? Contact an attorney to see if bankruptcy is really the right move. You might be able to avoid filing for bankruptcy by consolidating your debt, moving to a smaller home, selling off some assets, or taking other steps toward monetary freedom and security.
Although you can’t avoid all the financial problems you’ll encounter throughout your lifetime, you can definitely remove the likeliness of experiencing some of them. Just try to be pragmatic and practical. You’ll be happier and be able to sleep better at night.