[Ed. note: Stefanie of thebrokeandbeautifullife.com wrote this. You might want to get the kids out of the room; bad word coming in 3…2…]
Fuck My Life! Ever have those moments when it comes to your finances? Maybe it’s in the form of an angry scream or an exasperated sigh or a defeated cry. The hash tag expression so perfectly captures that feeling of financial frustration and uncertainty.
When “shit happens” there’s a tendency to react one of two ways. The first is to wallow, which leads to stewing in self-pity and crippling inaction (which doesn’t help anyone). The second, is to have a strong, emotional, knee-jerk response, which rarely leads to good decision-making.
To effectively deal with #FML moments, action needs to be taken as a result of calculated, rational thinking rather than motivated by emotional response. Here are some real-life #FML situations you may have had the unfortunate “privilege” of experiencing.
When you see the full amount of your student loans and consumer debts on paper it’s easy to wallow in a pool of #FML. Unfortunately, a lot of people do just that; choosing not to deal with it and resigning themselves to treading water, making minimum payments for the rest of their lives. Setting goals and mapping out a plan of action is the only way to escape the clutches of #FML forever.
An unexpected job loss is a total “Fuck My Life” moment. But after acknowledging the situation with copious amounts of alcohol (or however you self-placate), you have to move past the #FML hangover.
Emergencies are #FML moments where people tend to respond with action motivated by emotions like fear or anxiety; clouding judgment and potentially leading to poor decision making. To stay financially grounded in the face of an emergency, it’s important to have a solid support system and trusted counsel that can help with those decisions.
Scams/ Fraud/ Identity Theft
All of these suck, but wasting time with “fuck my life” is not helpful. In each of these situations, time is of the essence and action needs to be taken immediately to stop any further damage.
There’s nothing like the urge to yell curses and sell off stock when it takes a tumble, but that’s probably not the best strategy long term. Rather than frantically looking for a quick way to make up your loss, it’s better to sit down and take a rational look at what caused it before choosing a course action (which may be to do nothing).
Not Enough Money
This is the kind of #FML I see people carry around with them in the day to day. It’s not the split second heated reaction to an emergency or loss, it’s the ever-present negative dialogue that keeps people on the hamster wheel of “just getting by”. Focus revolves around “fuck my life” rather than on goals and actions that can change financial circumstances into something to celebrate.
Have you ever experienced any #FML finance moments? How did you respond? What could you have done better?
Stefanie O’Connell is a New York City based actress and freelance writer. She chronicles her struggle to “live the dream” on a starving artists’ budget at thebrokeandbeautifullife.com.
[Also, she curses a lot more than I do -Ed.]