Two different financial holes are the theme of the 1st of the 12 Things; one you dig yourself, and the other you dig for your family upon your death.

No better metaphor than a hole could be used when people find themselves with debt that impedes their progress towards financial success. Money spent on debt payments is not available to support the necessities of a household or to save for important goals.

And no better advice could be given than to stop digging as the first step to getting out of a hole. Why make the hole any deeper and the challenge greater to climb out of it by adding to your debt burden?

We do think debt to buy a house is acceptable, and almost always necessary. We can make the argument for and against taking on debt to buy a car. But high-interest debt with credit cards and online loans? Avoid it like the plague!

Once you stop digging, you’ll need to focus on building an emergency fund so that the inevitable crisis of a mechanical breakdown or a surprise doctor bill doesn’t leave you with a credit card as the only way to finance it.

Upon your untimely death, you can dig a second financial hole for your spouse and/or children. Buy term life insurance! It can be incredibly inexpensive.

Life happens—and in the blink of an eye. We’ve seen unexpected death and severe illness here among us who work at NWCM. We’ve certainly seen it happen to our clients. Without advance preparation, the ensuing crisis often leaves you and your family with few, if any, options to avoid falling into a financial hole. No, let’s call it for what it might be: a pit!

And complete an Advanced Health Care Directive. Talk about your wishes with your family. As equally important to making sure you receive the medical care you prefer are issues attending to our family’s pain, healing hurt or broken relationships, caring for your spiritual needs and ultimately saying goodbye.