Is it just a coincidence that the month of April is both Financial Awareness Month AND Alcohol Awareness Month? What is divine providence trying to tell us? The answer lies in the similarities between people who struggle with addiction and people who struggle with finances.
As a Financial Advisor and a parent of a child in recovery, I chose to specialize in helping families who are battling addiction. I can state from experience that the road to recovery is long, winding and requires an EZ Pass! These families are going through a crisis in every sense of the word. Just look at the definition:
- A time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger
- A time when a difficult or important decision must be made
- The turning point of a disease when an important change takes place, indicating either recovery or death
During our crisis, we were in a highly emotional and agitated state, having to make life-or-death decisions involving large sums of money in a very short time frame. To compound matters, we were making decisions about issues we knew little about. I can still recall the fear, panic and stress my wife and I felt and, in some ways, continue to feel for the last 20 years.
The essence of financial literacy is to develop habits and attitudes that will allow you to get organized, rapidly acquire the required knowledge, develop a plan and monitor your progress. The good news is that with an investment of time anyone can acquire the necessary skills. All that is required is your commitment, acknowledgement that what you have been doing does not work, and a willingness to change.
And then it hit me. I’ve heard that before, at an ALANON meeting! The same techniques used to modify behaviors of people in recovery are also effective in modifying peoples’ behavior toward finance.
So, in honor of Financial Awareness and Alcohol Awareness month, start by taking one action to improve your financial literacy.
- Create a budget
- Review your credit report
- Read your health insurance policy
- Talk with your partner about personal finances