When you ghost on a person, you suddenly and with no explanation stop communicating, poof – into the ether, never to be heard from or seen again, you just cut it off.
When you ghost on your finances you decide you’re not going to deal with them, you refuse to be in dialogue with the numbers and you won’t admit to yourself why.
The roots of ghosting call for some compassion – it’s dismissive behavior often rooted in a fear of dealing with conflict or awkwardness. Avoidant fear is an understandable emotional reaction to debt, especially if you feel powerless to change your relationship to it, but this behavior could have potentially harmful impacts on your financial wellness, long term.
So, how do you know if you’re ghosting on your finances?
You’re in debt, but debt as a concept hasn’t taken hold.
Is debt an abstract concept whose edges you don’t quite want to feel? You know it’s poking you, but for some reason you’re able to pretend that debt’s restriction and discomfort doesn’t exist and, as a result, you don’t change any of your spending or saving behavior?
From now on whenever you are on the cusp of a purchase, you need to say to yourself, “I’m in debt.” Practice saying and accepting this fact that’s so hard to admit, “I am in debt.”
If you can say that to yourself every time you’re tempted to go out for that meal you can’t afford, buy those shoes you don’t need or get the latest tech gadget – maybe you can train yourself to make different choices that will lead to getting out of debt instead of sinking further into it. Take that $40 you were going to spend on dinner and pay off $40 on your highest APR credit card instead.
You think budget is a bad word.
Yes, budget begins with the letter B, but that doesn’t make it a bad word, let’s make it a boon! In order to understand your spending habits, you need to chart how much money you typically spend in various categories. Getting the full wide angle will show you where you are spending wisely and teach you where to restrict spending. Only then can you learn how to make a budget, and more importantly, how to live on a budget.
Lack of financial literacy
If you don’t understand the numbers on your bills or the fundamentals of budgeting, borrowing, owing and saving, start learning now. Do you know what APR means? Do you know what APR you are paying on your various credit cards or loans? Do you know how much you owe and how long it will take you to pay it off? Luckily we have a put together a financial glossary of key terms that can help you understand money and credit. If you know what these terms mean and you refuse to read the writing on the wall, you are most definitely ghosting your finances.
Belief in greater future income
I call this belief “Jackpot Syndrome” – you justify poor financial choices today because one day you’re going to hit it big with that million-dollar idea, a presumed inheritance or a winning lottery ticket. This belief can also be described as foolish in that it’s a way we rationalize spending money we don’t have.
You may be able to ghost a person with little personal consequence, but you can’t ever really ghost your finances. Ignoring debt and making poor financial decisions could have serious long term consequences and the burden of a low credit score will affect your ability to rent or buy a house, take out any loans, save for retirement or even afford tomorrow’s groceries
Being on top of your finances is important. So, if you feel like you may be avoiding your financial obligations – examine your behavior to change your behavior.
Don’t ghost or your money is toast!