By Charlotte Latvala
If you’re 50 and haven’t learned to handle money by now, I have good news and bad news.
The good news is that it’s never too late to start down the road to financial responsibility.
The bad news is that with smart phones and social media, it’s easier than ever for creditors to track you down.
Seriously, at 50 you need to plan for your future. Crone-hood is fast approaching, so stop rewarding yourself so often and start picking up dimes off the sidewalk.
- If you have a friend who loves to shop, be mysteriously unavailable when she tries to drag you to the outlet mall. (What kind of weirdo enjoys going to outlet malls anyway?)
- Shut off heat to the rooms you don’t use in the winter. If your kids are still in there, don’t worry – it will be a good lesson in self-reliance.
- Use the library. Not only is there an endless supply of free books, magazines, and DVDs, but they keep the heat cranked all winter.
- Commit to shopping only in the IKEA scratch and dent department. Even for clothes. It’s amazing how much money you’ll save.
- While you’re at IKEA, have a hot dog. They’re barely food, yes, but they barely cost anything either.
- Start watching Suze Orman reruns. You’ll be so depressed you’ll never turn your TV on again, leaving you time to get a second job or remodel your house, which will pay off handsomely.
- Freeze your credit cards. You’ll learn to associate unwise use of credit with physical pain as you scrape your bleeding fingers across jagged ice.
- Consider selling all your old junk. As we speak, someone is probably scouring eBay looking for that ABBA Halloween costume you thought was so adorable in 1996.
- Let your well-off friends pick up the tab. Oh sure, they might get disgusted with you after a while, but that will give you great practice making new midlife friends. (See “How to Make Friends.”)