“These Bruises Make for Better Conversation”
I don’t know about you, but I bruise easily (as evidenced by my photo above). Sometimes I don’t even realize I hurt myself until a bruise pops up on my arm or leg, and when it does, I wrack my brain trying to figure out what I did to injure myself. Other times I hurt myself, and I know without a doubt that a bruise will appear. I love the song Bruises by Train, where two high school friends reconnect and share their recent history revealing that both of them have emotional bruises while surmising that everyone has bruises.
It’s true, everyone has emotional bruises that help define our lives, and everyone has financial bruises as well. And just as some injuries can cause larger bruises than others, some financial mishaps leave bigger bruises as well. Financial bruises can be as small as an unpaid bill or as large as student loan debt. And when we look at those bruises, they don’t feel good, but when you feel bad about them, you need to remember a few things:
1) Everyone Has Financial Bruises
I don’t care what anyone tells you, no one is perfect and no one has a perfect financial record. I am a smart woman, and I have made a number of financial mistakes and some of those bruises are worse than others, but I have them. And as a financial planner, I have seen numerous personal financial statements of client’s that reveal various degrees of bruising in my client’s financial histories. So, never feel ashamed of your financial bruises, you are not alone.
2) Some Bruises Are Worse than Others…For a Reason
Just like I can develop small bruises and not know where they come from and sometimes massive ones where I know exactly what caused them, the same happens with financial bruising. Some financial mishaps are worse than others and the lesser bruising is something that we are quick to forget. The less destructive ones like a missed bill may be painful; however, we may not actually learn much from it because as time wears on, we forget that it even happened.
More painful financial bruises like consumer debt or student loan debt stay with us for a while and teach us constant lessons. They may not feel and look good like bad bruising does; however, they are there for a reason teaching us responsibility in other areas of our lives. The discipline that you develop while paying off student loans creates a habit of fiscal responsibility that will prepare you for other life challenges.
Once your loans are paid off, you can apply those large dollar balances to savings or other fun life events. And the lessons in fiscal control you learned while you were paying off your loans are exactly what you need for accomplishing other life goals. You may not have developed these financial good habits if it wasn’t for those loans. The financial bruising may have been painful, but I find that the more painful the financial bruising, the more we learn and the better we are prepared for other financial challenges down the road.
3) No Bruise Lasts Forever
There are bruises that I get and wonder when they will go away, especially when I can’t hide them, but the great news is that they are not permanent and neither are financial ones. I have so many clients who feel as though they will be paying student loans forever, and I can assure you that even though you hate the look of them and feel they will never go away, they will. Even bad consumer debt is not permanent.
Like any other financial lesson, if you learn from it and make a plan to fix it, you will not see that financial bruise for long. I watch clients heal their financial bruises all the time. Their hard work and dedication to fixing them is a constant inspiration to me. I know your financial setback may feel like a break or fracture, but just remember it’s just a bruise and bruises aren’t permanent.