Why Looking Forward Is The Best Approach To Your Finances

2019-02-21   minute read

Tara Silliker

Lifestyle Debt

Debt Solutions

Regret is one of the most common refrains Licensed Insolvency Trustees hear when we talk to clients about their debt.

Person at a coffee shop holding their cellphone and a credit card

They ask questions like, “how did I get into this mess?” Or, “why did I make that decision?”

But while peering into the past can be helpful to identify and change unhealthy financial behaviours – not budgeting, overspending, etc. – too much dwelling only prevents people from improving their financial situation.

Dwelling is Destructive

In moments of financial turmoil, people tend to look at the past through charcoal coloured glasses. They focus disproportionately on the things that went wrong – the bad investment decisions, irresponsible purchases, missed opportunities, wrong choices and even relationships that led to increased debt loads – rather than the lessons they’ve learned along the way.

There is much research to support why this is counter productive and much of it focuses on how people craft their identity from historical actions and behaviours.  It’s rare to see someone look back and say, ‘I did this, I accept it, and this is what I will do differently to avoid the same result.’ Instead they think, ‘I always do this, I keep failing, and that’s why I can’t get out of debt.’ So, when a similar situation arises in the future, they fixate on what they always do and consequently wind up repeating the cycle.

Planning is Constructive

Alternatively, people are more likely to feel optimistic when they take an active role in designing their future. Many clients take comfort in the realization they have an unwritten script ahead of them which they have agency to control.

Taking action, creating a plan and moving forward builds positive momentum and something to shoot toward. That translates into better habits, more thoughtful decisions and more productive behaviors. It shifts the internal dialog from what they’ve historically done to what they’re going to do differently. From, ‘I always over spend,’ to ‘I am going to stick to my budget,’ for example.

When times get tough and plans get derailed, this subtle change can make all the difference.

Life-Changing Debt Solutions

Of course, none of this is to say making that 180-degree turn is easy. Nor is it a silver bullet to solve every financial problem. But it certainly helps. And with support, anyone can reframe their point of view and their actions over time.

During a free confidential consultation, Licensed Insolvency Trustees work with our clients to understand their debt and financial situation and uncover opportunities for a financial fresh start – including Life-Changing Debt Solutions such as Consumer Proposal or bankruptcy. But we also help to paint a new picture of how their life can look once the process is complete – the money management skills they’ll learn, the reduced stress they’ll have in their lives without all that debt, the opportunity to work to larger and more productive goals. 

If you’re living with unmanageable debt and are struggling to change your point of view, reach out today and take that first step to a better, brighter, more optimistic future.

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