8 Signs You Need Outside Help for Your Finances


I’m a home improvement enthusiast. If a remodel project or a home maintenance task needs to be completed, I’m all in. Carpentry, plumbing, electrical, drywall, painting, landscaping – I’ve done it all.  But when the stakes are high, I call a professional. This means calling for help when an expensive appliance needs replacing or requires using tall ladders. And occasionally, it means calling for help when I’ve made a mess and need help cleaning it up.

This was the case when I drove the final screw in my newly installed bathroom vanity. I was confident I landed the screw on the stud.  It felt (somewhat) solid, and the stud finder gave me positive indications that solid timber was behind the wall. The following weekend, I went to the basement to discover a very large water bubble forming under the paint near the ceiling. Having just moved in weeks prior, I was confident this new problem was unrelated to any work I had been doing in the bathroom. I conceded and called a plumber for help.

Similar to the needs and attention of our homes, our personal finances also need constant attention to manage. To use the analogy, we can have paint bubbles form in our financial lives that require more than a DIY approach. We need the help and support from a financial professional to get our finances back on solid footing. Here are some signs that you need outside help to manage your finances:

Sign #1: You have struggled to create and stick to a budget.

Managing your budget needs to be a part of your daily life. Not that you spend inordinate amounts of time studying it, but you should have an idea of where you are at in relations to your plans. A financial counselor can help you create a plan and hold you accountable for sticking with it.

Sign #2: You cannot make ends meet at the end of the month.

No larger paint bubble can form in your financial life than not having enough money to provide for your needs. If you find yourself struggling, get help from someone who can help. In this situation, many financial counselors will work with you at little or no cost to help you get financial control.

Sign #3: Every month you dip into savings to pay for your expenses.

You may feel like you are the only one who does this, but this sign is very common. After all, our savings are in place to catch us when we overspend. But doing this month after month could be a sign that you aren’t financially healthy and need help managing your money.

Sign #4: You desire to reach specific financial goals but aren’t sure what steps are necessary to achieve them.

You know what you want to accomplish but feel like you need more support to achieve those goals. Maybe you don’t feel like you make enough money. If you aren’t sure how to reach your goals, seek the help of someone who can review your financial situation and advise how to achieve those goals best. You might find they aren’t as far out of reach as you think.

Sign #5: You change financial strategies more than a few times yearly.

This can apply to budgeting strategy, investing, or even your saving goals. If you constantly change direction, you need a professional to help you clarify your goals and objectives.

Sign #6: Finances are a source of tension in your marriage.

Managing financial decisions in your marriage is so important to a lasting marriage. It is one area that requires open communication and unity on the outcomes. If you are struggling to communicate about money, or financial issues are consuming your marriage, get help.

Sign #7: You are in debt and unsure how to dig back out.

Debt can pose a serious risk to your financial situation and finding a way out can feel daunting and hopeless. Get a trusted professional to walk alongside you during this time to help you plan for getting out of debt.

Sign #8: You want to increase your generosity.

Increasing your generosity should be on everyone’s list, but navigating the tax rules to make giving efficient can be complicated. If you want to maximize your giving, get help to develop an efficient strategy.

When the plumber arrived at 2 am, he began scoping out the drain lines to determine the source of the water. Through this process, he found the 2” wood screw I used to secure the vanity in the downstairs bathroom. Even if we are seasoned DIYers, we all make mistakes and need the help of a professional to fix the problem.  If you have signs that your finances are struggling, don’t DIY through the problem. Your DIY approach is likely what brought you to this place to begin with. Seek outside help from a financial counselor or advisor who can help you get your finances back in order.

About the author: Nate Sargent serves as a financial counselor in the Greenwood, Indiana area. Nate holds an MBA from Colorado State University and a Certificate in Financial Planning from the Ron Blue Institute at Indiana Wesleyan University. Nate also holds an Electrical Engineering degree from Purdue University and has been in the aerospace industry for over 25 years.