financially irresponsibleIn some cases making merely one thoughtless or impulsive decision can lead to financial insolvency. Most often incidents like the engine of a second-hand vehicle which ceased after three months, or a real estate transaction which fell through can have adverse effects. But these mentioned situations are usually understandable and a lot can be learnt through them if they are treated as situations of loss and if grieving can follow. However, what usually occurs and leads to extreme problems, is that one’s debt increases drastically over a long period of time.  Whether it is the purchasing of electronic or electrical equipment, furniture, increasing overdrafts, personal loans from money lenders or purely the impulsive and continuous purchasing of cake, sweets and soft drinks, the consequences can be catastrophic. This is because many people make debt to pay debt! If this irresponsible behaviour has been hidden; it is naturally a great shock when the sheriff of the court arrives or the credit bureaus call repeatedly. Then the cat is out of the bag and denial, despondency, powerlessness and helplessness are merely a few of the feelings and emotions which build up.

When the extent of the damage is minimal, an open conversation focusing on the role of emotions, crisis management and implementation of measures to avoid similar situations in future is addressed. Better supervision of the cheque book or credit card can serve as examples. However, should severe damage have been done, a similar conversation may still help, but more drastic measures should be considered: Professionals, such as a lawyer (to make recommendations regarding administration or insolvency); psychologist (to address underlying issues such as the substitution of love with money) or broker (to make recommendations regarding the purchase of policies, secondary bonds, etc.) can be roped in. In this way better financial discipline, monthly budgets and joint decision-making can be made a statute. One can also start building up a new sense of trust in the relationship (after emotional release and forgiveness).

Reference: van der Walt, T. (2003). Finansieel onverantwoordelik. In Maartens, M. (Ed.). Die Groot Huweliksboek. (pp. 449-450). Pretoria: Lapa Uitgewers.

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About thatpsychologist

Clinical Psychologist in private practice in George and Mossel-Bay Kliniese Sielkundige in privaat praktyk op George en Mosselbaai.

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