Written by Kudakwashe Nyakudya Harnessing your financial restoration after surviving Domestic Violence & Abuse (DVA) is a crucial part of your overall restoration. Each area of your life connects to all the other areas. Financial recovery, especially, is a very demanding need. It sits at the core of most of the decisions you make. But if your financial life has been devastated as a result of financial and economic abuse, and had to flee from your perpetrator with no money and resources, how do you achieve financial restoration?
I resorted to having a financial plan, and a life plan, in as much as I would have a business plan. It helps to direct on understanding how much income is required for daily living and other expenses; and how this income should managed. At a greater level, it directs on what I term “wealth creation” – how to create wealth, be it through employment or a business. It further directs on what I term “wealth management” – how to be a steward of your wealth. We need to work on creating wealth to a level that satisfies our goals, dreams, and our children’s future.
When working on your financial plan, the first aspect I would recommend is for you to desire financial restoration. It is impossible to harness your financial restoration if you do not have the intention and passion to do so. This desire becomes the building block for developing the character and mindset required in your journey to financial restoration and success.
In full honesty to yourself, you will then need to assess and understand your current financial position. You will also need to understand how you got to where you are currently, whether its a positive or negative situation. For many survivors, getting on to the government benefit system as a consequence of DVA, will come with a multitude of restrictions, for the period they are on benefits. But though having a very limited income imposes another personal financial crisis, it is also an opportunity for you to be creative with what you have. Great lessons on budget management are learnt through that temporary experience.
If your assessment shows you that your spending is greater than your income, you would have to identify where and how you will need to reduce spending. If you identify any financial mistakes you have made, learn from the consequences and find ways of avoiding these in the future. The best thing you can do is recognising the crisis you are in, and then protect yourself from sinking further into it.
One of the practical ways you can apply, for example, is a change in your food habits. Fast foods and pre-cooked meals cost much more than preparing your own food from fresh ingredients that you would have purchased. If you have got children, taking them out for pizza on one occasions may cost you your full weekly budget on food. However learning to make your own pizza for your children, will cost you a fraction of what you would spend at Pizza Hut.
An area many of us struggle with is that of debt management. Financially abused survivors usually end up with a poor “credit rating”, meaning that, where a loan is taken, it is highly unlikely to be from cheaper lenders. Because of that, “loan sharks” become the only borrowing solution; but that does not necessarily mean that that is the solution.
I have found that one solution is in actually reducing perceived needs, and learning to manage life on what is available. When needs are reduced the pressure to borrow is removed. However where there are debts to be cleared, it is wise to sit down with a commendable financial educator for you carefully plan how to get all your debts paid off.
I know that we live in a world where multitudes have become debt dependent, and hence financial success is determined by how much one can borrow. But I believe that financial success is determined by debt freedom; and the amount of surplus or savings, and assets one possesses. These two key elements are therefore crucial to harnessing your financial restoration.
Harnessing your financial restoration, has to do with the control and order you have over the financial aspect of your life. It focusses on overcoming the negative consequences of financial and economic abuse – or simply a lack of money that is brought about as a result of DVA. It also directs you on how to create and manage wealth.
The question of “cost” underlies every aspect of your life. It is your response to that question that determines the extent of your financial restoration, in the short term and in the long run. It takes careful planning and successful living according to that plan. Esteemed financial success does not only benefit your own life, but the lives of your children and your children’s children.
© Kudakwashe Nyakudya 2013. All Rights Reserved.