Picture the scene. You’re walking through your home, panicking. You’ve lost your keys. You can’t find them anywhere. You’ve checked your bag, the pockets of your coat and even under the cushions of the sofa in case, they fell in between. But you found nothing. You know you’re going to be late at work if you can’t find them soon, but you can’t remember where was the last time you saw them. One thing is certain, though: you had your keys when you came back last night. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be at home now. The search continues for another 20 minutes until you finally find your keys on the front door, still in the lock from when you opened the door the previous evening. You forgot to take them inside.
If this sounds like the kind of misadventures that would happen to you, the chances are that you’re a scatterbrain. Even if you don’t mean it, you accidentally misplace items, forget things, or find yourself waiting for a date in the wrong restaurant. While it’s not really your fault, it doesn’t stop you from getting in troubles for things you were not aware you did – or didn’t do. When it comes to friends and relatives, they can get to understand you and find ways around your natural forgetfulness and absent-mindedness. But financial institutions are less likely to display understanding or even patience with your errors. Forgetting to pay your bills can become a crime, for instance. So, it’s essential to develop a solid plan to protect yourself from the dramatic consequences of the accidental scatterbrain.
Read the small prints
Being forgetful – or not very clear on your financial responsibilities, if you prefer to put it that way – can lead to accumulating more debts than you can care to recall. Keeping a strict budget, indeed, requires attention, dedication, and understanding of your financial transactions and agreements. When you don’t know what’s going on, debts and money troubles are an inevitable consequence. The problem with being scatterbrained is that you may not notice your errors until your finances are in the red! One of the most common culprits for your problems tends to be the small prints on financial contracts – from opening a bank account to signing up a new mortgage loan. Take the time to read through the whole deal before you sign it, and more importantly make a note of everything that can incur fees and costs over time. You can’t afford not to know what is happening with your finances. Additionally, as a remember, PPI compensations are to be stopped in 2019 – so if you don’t know if you’re due money, it’s best to check early!
Did you forget your taxes?
When is the deadline to file your taxes? If you’re employed in a company — as part of the PAYE system –, you probably don’t need to worry about taxes. Indeed, the HMRC take it directly at the source, even before you receive your wages from your employer. So, if you’ve been coming through a lump of money and forgot to inform the HMRC about it, it’s almost understandable in a situation where you’ve never had to fill up your return taxes. Admittedly, this doesn’t make it acceptable, and you might need to ask for advice from professional fraud solicitors to resolve the situation. Forgetfulness in this instance is not just inconvenient. It is a crime, and it can get you punished and fined. However, a good solicitor can help you to come to an agreement and minimise your punishment.
Set automatic reminders
Oops did you forget to pay your credit card bills this month? Again? For a lot of people who are always juggling with a million different thoughts at the same time, accidentally forgetting a bill can happen from time to time. But when it becomes a recurring event – shall we even call it a habit ?– it’s time to act to make sure that next month won’t bring the same problem. After all, being forgetful has a cost: you’ll find that your credit card invoice increases with a fine. Additionally, the absence of payment also affects your credit score. When all it takes is a recurring email reminder in your calendar to keep track of payment day, it would be foolish not to make the most of the technology available. If it doesn’t help — or if you find it too complicated – you can also set up autopayment for your credit card bills. To do so, you need to ensure that, firstly you’re using the credit card often enough to justify automatic payments, and secondly you should decide on the appropriate amount and date.
Don’t be afraid to ask if you’re unsure
Sometimes it seems easier to ignore things you don’t fully understand. It might be the right decision when it comes to neighbours feuds. But you can’t afford to ignore financial data you don’t get. You need to be able to ask for explanations. Too many individuals feel embarrassed about asking about interest rates. Instead, they agree to a contract they don’t understand. Interest rates, for instance, are calculated annually, which is what APR – Annual Percentage Rates – stands for. When you choose to ignore all the little questions that pop to your mind, you ultimately convince your brain that the whole agreement is not worthy of your interest; hence it forgets.
Do you need a financial therapist?
Did you know that there is such a thing as a finance phobia? Called Chrometophobia, the fear of money or of money matters is real and can affect a lot of people. As a result, they actively choose to delay dealing with such matters – or they get forgetful about them. Thus, you might be suffering from chrometophobia if you find yourself being only scatterbrained about finances. That’s precisely why you can benefit from the support of a financial therapist, aka someone who helps you unearth the emotional triggers of your relationship with money. The role of the therapist focuses both on the psychological counselling as the financial insights to guide you toward a safer future.
Scatterbrain or chrometophobic? Whatever your reason for falling into financial traps, you need to establish an organised financial life to maintain your accounts in the green and avoid legal and criminal consequences.