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Life Makeover for the Year 2009

Week 6 – Financial Advice: How one reader reduced her stress

February 9, 2009
Greetings!

This week I’ll be appearing on Good Morning America to talk with a group of women about putting an end to the legacy of deprivation that prevents us from getting our needs met. Once we confirm the date, I’ll be sure to send a special announcement.

Welcome to all the new readers of this newsletter. Each week I share a short story designed to support you in living a good life. Then, I offer a Take Action Challenge so you can follow through with one small change. I’m so glad to have you with us!

This week on my radio show, Coach on Call, I’ll be joined by one of my favorite people – Dan King – a terrific career coach. If you’re looking for a job, fearful about losing yours, or need help with career advice, you don’t want to miss this show. See our “In the News” section to the left for info on how to join us.

Finally, it’s never too late to join our monthly webclass on The Art of Extreme Self Care. More than 800 of us are having an amazing experience together. For more info, visit here.

Have a great week!

Love,

Cheryl

p.s. – Need a little Divine Direction? Use the “Touch of Grace” button on our homepage here.

cherylrichardson.com

Topic of the Week

Financial Advice

“The only thing standing between you and
positive change is you.”

This past week I had a conversation with a friend who’s dealing with the financial pressure so many are faced with during these tough economic times. She was frustrated by her inability to make progress with paying off her debt – a credit card with a 27% interest rate and mounting late fees. “Each time I make a payment, I’m hit with so much interest that I get set back again. I want to pay it off, but I can’t get ahead and I’m afraid of what it’s doing to my family’s financial future.”

After listening to her concerns, I made a suggestion based on what I’d learned in the past from working with tax clients (a former life :). I suggested that she call the credit card company, tell the truth about her financial struggle, and ask them to lower the interest rate. If, when she received a new rate, she didn’t feel the discount was enough, I then wanted her to ask for a supervisor. I knew that division managers or supervisors are usually authorized to negotiate even better rates. The goal was to get the interest rate as low as possible.

One week later I received a call from her in tears. “I called the credit card company and told the truth. I explained that our family was struggling and that I needed help. I told them that, while I wanted to take responsibility for my debt, I couldn’t afford the increased interest rate and was afraid of eventually having to file bankruptcy. I asked if they could help me out.” And help her out they did. By the time my friend was through with the call, her interest rate had been reduced to 13% and some of her late fees and past interest amounts were eliminated as well. She was even waiting to hear if the rate reduction could be applied retroactively!

As a reader of this newsletter, my friend was so relieved (and surprised) by her experience, she asked me to share it with you. Whether you’re dealing with financial stress, the need to find a new job, or the fear of having to move, her experience offers some valuable insight:

Face the truth. Don’t hide from your fear. If you’re struggling, admit the truth to yourself and decide right now that you’ll do something about it.

Speak up. While there’s a lot of shame attached to hardship, keeping it a secret only gives the shame more power. Tell someone you trust what’s going on and ask him or her to help you get the guidance and support you need.

Swallow your pride. My friend noticed that the moment she admitted to the woman from the credit card company that she was afraid and needed help, the customer care provider softened and went to bat for her. “Normally my shame would cause me to be harsh or a bit edgy,” she admitted. “But I decided to let my guard down. Instead I was vulnerable and it made a huge difference. My willingness to expose my fear caused the woman to empathize with my situation.”

Finally, don’t stop at good – go for great. When we’re in need it’s easy to settle for a little help when a lot more is what’s called for. Do what you can to muster the courage to be bold in asking for help. As my friend said, “This experience taught me that when you ask for something the worst that can happen is that you hear ‘no.’ My willingness to push for more, got me more and that’s what my family needed.”

If you need help, I hope you’ll use my friend’s experience as a sign to reach out. Also, please use my radio show as a vehicle for free advice. Call me. I’m ready to do what I can to support you, too!

Take Action Challenge

This week, be brave and let someone know you need help. And, if you’re doing well, be mindful of those around you who might need a little support yet may be too shy to ask. Once my friend shared her dilemma, I saw it as an invitation to offer my experience. Keep your eyes open for your own invitation.

Life Makeover For The Year 2009 (sm) is written and produced by Cheryl Richardson. If you have any questions or comments, or for reprint permission of this newsletter, please email: cheryl@cherylrichardson.com. © Copyright 1999-2009. Cheryl Richardson, P.O. Box 13, Newburyport, MA 01950. All rights reserved.