The Fastest Road to Bankruptcy and How to Avoid it.

Let’s face it times are tough for most folks in Surry, Wilkes, Yadkin and Alleghany Counties. Most folks who can find a job are making $12, an hour have terrible benefits and no room to save for retirement. These facts make it all the more important to know where your money is going.  As I talk to my bankruptcy clients, I see that they struggle to support their families and it is overwhelming for them to face the cold hard facts they must face. There was a recent poll finding only 21% of Americans balance their checkbook. I have been guilty of this myself. I have however seen the err of my ways. If you do not balance your checkbook, you cannot operate on a budget. Ask yourself, do I really know where I spend my money? If you do not balance your checkbook, then the answer to this question is no. When you don’t know the balance of your checking account, you invariably either go into overdraft incurring a $35 fee and racking up 20% interest, or you charge your purchases on a credit card. You think things will be better next month and you will take care of the credit card or overdraft at that time. After 4 or 5 months of letting items roll over on our credit card and you have a real problem. The good news is it has never been easier to balance your check book. There are several good smartphone apps that will allow you to enter in your purchases and get immediate account balances without even having to do any math. The apps will also allow you and your spouse to instantly see the joint checking account balance. If you are determined not to own a smartphone (sometimes I wish I were one of you), then you have to dig out the old blue and white check register and diligently log your information. Both of these options take a little work. Besides the obvious benefit of knowing how much money you have or do not have there are other less obvious benefits. Psychologists and economists have proven that the time and effort of entering the information each and every time will assist you in curbing your spending. Retailers have known this for a long time. Why do you think every store you visit this Christmas season will offer you 10 to 20% off if you apply for their store credit card? If instead of hoping you have money to buy you latest desire, you know you do not have the money, this is a big deterrence in making rash spending decision. If you are serious about getting your finances balancing your checkbook every time you make a purchase is your fist and most important step. If you need help with your finances, give me a call at 336-526-2280. I am always happy to help.

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