Monday, November 17, 2014

You Are 6 Decisions Away From Being Homeless

My mom came to visit for a long, much needed 3 day weekend! While she was here we kept busy shopping, cooking, and playing with my child. It was so good to see her, but the time went too fast.

While we were leisurely drinking coffee one afternoon my mom mentioned someone telling her that most adults are really 6 poor decisions away from being homeless. As I think about this, I can't help but wonder how true this statement may be. As a mental health counselor (therapist, if you prefer), I have seen many individuals reach this point or become close to being homeless. This statement even hits closer to home as I have watched family members struggle with a combination of health issues and unhealthy spending habits spiral out of control. 

Here is a hypothetical, to illustrate, how we could be 6 decisions away from becoming homeless. Sally is very unhappy with her full-time job and after an intense fight with a coworker, she gives 2 week notice of terminating her employment. She decides she will use some of her savings and go on vacation (which she's never done before) for a few weeks before job searching. After returning relaxed and rested from her vacation, Sally starts looking for work. She unfortunately does not find a job immediately, as she thought she would. Her car starts to have engine issues and she doesn't have enough money in savings to cover the month's bills plus repair her vehicle. She doesn't think she can get a job without transportation though.

As you can see, this is how easily one can start facing the real possibility of being homeless. Although, some decisions could be made for you that contribute to you losing everything, like being layed off.

I guess it's just something to think about, we could all easily become homeless. I have a tendency to worry a lot in life and this seems to be on my mind heavily today. Thankfully, we are working on strategies that will help us if our life situation changes drastically.

First, we are working to become debt-free. We only have our mortgage left to pay off. While paying off debt as quickly as possible, we always keep money in the savings account.  Since becoming a family with the birth of our daughter, we realized how important it was to us that we have money to cover unexpected costs that arise. Lastly, we have a back-up plan.  Since I work part-time (at home) now in order to spend more time with our child, I am always prepared to go back to work full-time (and outside of the home again) if I have to in order to support our family.

What are our thoughts about being 6 decisions away from becoming homeless?

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