Keep your head on a swivel.

I love this expression. It’s so descriptive.

In the military, it means “be aware of what’s going on around you.” Obviously, for a soldier, that could mean the difference between life and death. But in everyday life it’s critical too. Stuff happens! Pay attention, and be ready to change directions. Don’t go straight when a tree is crashing down in your path.

confusion about money

It’s the perfect directive to avoid money problems.

Here’s an example of how it plays out with your finances. Jason and Ashley made good income but sought my help because they were stressing big time. They were juggling $25,000 in credit card debt when they were hit with a big unexpected tax bill. They just got word that their deck had dry rot, and needed replacing to the tune of $18,000. And to top it off, rumors were surfacing of layoffs at Ashley’s company.

But… they were still planning their yearly trip to an expensive vacation resort on the coast. Smart spending?

money problems

Their head definitely wasn’t on a swivel. Unexpected expenses and a potential job layoff should be an “aha” to change course (like no expensive vacation!). They were digging themselves a deeper hole by not putting the breaks on spending.

Just because you’ve done something in the past, doesn’t mean you keep doing it. Situations change. Finances change. Personal lives change. In short, money problems arise. Stay alert to the impact on your budget.

Kaitlyn is a client who had been receiving alimony for 10 years. She had one more year to go. Unfortunately, she hadn’t taken a 360 degree view of her financial future after the divorce. Instead of planning for the future to prepare for when the checks stopped coming, she was marching straight into money problems and tight timing for a solution.

It’s all about situational awareness. If you are aware of what’s happening, and what could potentially happen later, then you can plan for the best course to take to assure your financial health.

Heads up and you could very well dodge a financial storm!