When Do You Ask For Help With Finances?

DollarVersity-When Do You Ask For Help With Finances?
Photo Credit: © MeHere

Times are tough.  The stock market appears to be regressing on an almost daily basis.  Oil prices continue to hover near all-time highs.  Foreclosures and job cuts are still haven’t fallen much.  Talks of recession are an almost daily occurrence.  You start to notice that while your expenses are increasing, your paychecks (if you are lucky) are staying the same and bills are starting to mount.  Do you seek help now in the hopes of avoiding financial disaster, or do you wait until the phone starts ringing off the hook with people looking to collect their money, or do you do nothing at all?


It is sometimes very difficult to seek out help.  It means swallowing your pride, admitting that you were wrong, or perhaps even admitting to failure.  If action is taken early enough, though, doing so generally prevents even more disastrous results such as losing a home or filing for bankruptcy.  Help does not always come in the form of asking for financial assistance.  It can be as easy as talking to someone who has been in a similar situation or working with a professional to gain a better understanding of how you got to this point, what steps to take in order to remedy it, and how to prevent another occurrence going forward.


Obviously, the worst time to accept the fact that you need assistance is when it is too late: when the bank has started foreclosure proceedings, your creditors are calling on a daily basis seeking payment, your bank accounts are negative.


If caught early enough, simple changes may be all that are necessary to begin the recovery process.  Applying for a credit card that provides for interest-free balance transfers and moving outstanding balances, starting an emergency fund in a high-yield savings account, developing a budget and an action plan to pay down the debt that has already built up are just some ways in which you can start the process.  No one method will work for everyone, and it may take a combination of steps for some people.


Should you decide that you need the help of a professional, choosing one that has a fee-only structure,and either hourly-based or project-based fees would be the recommended route.  Using credit counseling or debt-consolidation companies not only cost significantly more in the long run, but can also adversely affect your credit score.  Bankruptcy should always be the choice of last result since it is irreversible, and will take up to 7 years to completely come off of your credit reports.


It is always best to have a continually-updated financial plan, keeping a careful eye on spending habits with the goal of being able to foresee possible rough patches ahead.  If something should occur, you are then afforded the time to make adjustments to the plan in order to prevent problems from occurring or at the worst minimizing the effects of such unforeseen events.  No matter how you choose to deal with your finances, one thing remains clear: it is easier to admit that you need help than it is to deal with the consequences of being too prideful and allowing a situation to get too far out of hand.


So when is the right time to seek out help?  Have you waited until a situation got to the point where it was unmanageable?  Did you try to get out in front and attempt to cut off a potential problem before it fully developed?

  • http://liverealnow.net Jason@LiveRealNow

    I hate the idea of asking for help.  In my adult life, I’ve gotten financial help from my parents once.  I was 18, it was winter, and my car died.  I didn’t ask.  They offered.

    • http://www.dollarversity.com Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity

      I feel the same way Jason, but I am never to proud to ask for advice or seek out someone who is smarter than me in a particular area.  It’s not just about seeking help with paying bills but asking for help with organizing, planning, and educating too.

      • Anonymous

        Bingo.. for example.  When I wasn’t versed with taxes I found an account who was good teacher.  etc etc…

  • Anonymous

    I seek help when I can’t understand something.  I never wait until things get unrepairable.  I rather call help early than call for help later.  There is also different degrees and types of help. 

    • http://www.dollarversity.com Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity

      Yeah, me too.  Like when I was doing the redesign for the site, I read a bunch of articles written by pros rather than just winging it.  The end result was what I think was a much better product than if I would have done it on my own.  But, just like anything, the first step is to admit that you don’t know something and need assistance.

  • http://www.newlywedsonabudget.com/ Newlywweds on a Budget

    I’ve been pretty stubborn and only seek help when absolutely necessary. Most of the time I do pretty well on my own, but it is definitely an asset to know when to ask for help : )

    • http://www.dollarversity.com Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity

      Sometimes it’s difficult to get out of your own way or swallow your pride and admit that you need help.  I’ve been guilty of waiting too long, but it was more out of procrastination than anything else.  I certainly don’t think THAT highly of myself that I’m beyond asking others for help or advice

  • http://www.springcoin.com/blog/ Kevin @ DebtEye

    Talking about your financial problems is extremely helpful.  It helps you see clearly and allows you to pinpoint exactly what you need to work on.  Maybe it’s a simple budgeting/spending problem?  Or perhaps it goes even deeper than that, and you simply can’t afford to pay your bills anymore…this is probably the time you need to reach out to your creditors to work out some kind of arrangement.  Believe it or not, most creditors have internal hardship programs, you just gotta ask :)

    • http://www.dollarversity.com Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity

      You never know what can happen until you ask.  just go look at Jason’s latest post on Live Real, Now called Say Please.  It’s the perfect example of being proactive and asking for adjustments to save money without waiting for someone to reach out to you (like that ever happens without a catch)

  • http://twitter.com/prairieecothrif Miss T

    I have always tried to be proactive and get help at the first awareness of an issue. That way I can nip it in the bud. I don’t usually have to worry about this now though since my money habits have drastically improved.

    • http://www.dollarversity.com Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity

      It’s much easier to avoid many issues when you’re in control of your finances, that’s for sure.  Unfortunately, whether it’s out of laziness, or lack of understanding people just seem to lets things out of control before taking action.

  • http://twitter.com/DebtChronicles Travis Pizel

    Unfortunately my wife and I waited until we simply couldn’t meet our financial obligations every month.  We’re now on a debt management program (halfway through this month!) and will have our debt paid off as of June 2014.

    • http://www.dollarversity.com Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity

      That’s great Travis!  At least you now have a plan, and who knows, if things progress better than you planned on you could be out from under the debt even sooner.  Best of luck on that task!

  • http://blog.familymoneyvalues.com Marie at FamilyMoneyValues

    Thanks for putting the thought out there that folks can make a pre-emptive strike at their financial troubles by seeking help before they get in too deep!

    • http://www.dollarversity.com Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity

      If even 1 person rethinks their finances with the idea in mind that they don’t have to wait until it’s too late, then I’ll be ecstatic!

  • Jerry

    Sometimes you need to ask for help.  It can lead to a humbling that might be difficult but is probably very necessary.  Getting advice to get you out of a financial mess might just be the insurance you need.  It may be difficult medicine but the patient needs it.

    • http://www.dollarversity.com Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity

      I don’t think that anyone above eating a little humble pie every now and then Jerry.  Show me anyone that claims not to have ever been humbled before and I’ll show you someone in denial and who most likely is in major need of a dose of that medicine!

  • http://dailymoneyshot.net Jana @ Daily Money Shot

    I’ve been leery of asking for help. About 10 years ago, my husband sought help from what we learned was a less than reputable debt management company. They did more harm than good, and it was quite a lesson to learn. When we finally decided to get out of debt as a married couple (the debacle was before we were married), we did it on our own, no help. It was the right decision for us because we couldn’t risk another bad experience. 

    • http://www.dollarversity.com Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity

      It sucks to be betrayed by a company that is supposed to “help” people, but sometimes it just leads you down the path you should have taken all along.  At least now you have a much better understanding of personal finance, so you have that to be proud of :-)