Reading time: two minutes. The warning signs that you might be in financial trouble are pretty obvious, but as we wrap up this series on “You Might Be in Trouble If…” I’ll mention three that plagued me for a long time. You might be in financial trouble if worries about your financial condition interrupt your thoughts during the course of your regular, everyday activities. You also might be in financial trouble if you find yourself making an unusual number of mistakes with your finances, such as overdrafts or getting caught in a bind by not preparing for regular expenses. And you might be in trouble if you look down the road and realize you have not yet established a long-range financial plan. Fortunately, the solution for all three is the same.The solution is very simple and very practical, but something you might find very difficult. It’s a two part plan. Part one is to have an open, heartfelt, honest and grace-filled (that part is especially important!) conversation about your financial situation. Part two is to get some advice. Both of these tend to fill us with dread! If you’re single and burdened with financial challenges, it might be something you consider a deep, dark secret. Maybe you think no one else struggles with such things. Maybe you feel guilty because you think you are supposed to have it all together. If you’re married, you might not want to have the couples’ conversation because it’s such an emotional topic that it always results in argument and hurt feelings. You feel like it’s just not worth it. It’s easier to avoid the topic entirely. The problem is that, like interest, the problems just continue to compound.So talk about it. Get the secret out in the open. Call on a family member or trusted friend, or have the couples’ conversation that begins, “This money stuff is dragging me down and I want to do better. I already feel terrible and don’t need any more guilt. I need a plan and some advice. Can we talk about it?” Just remember that it might indeed get emotional, but that’s because it’s important. It’s also worth doing something about it, and that begins by bringing the dark, dirty secret out of the closet and into the open. And the solution continues by seeking out some advice. There’s no reason to feel guilty about getting some help. When preaching on Lamentations, we consult the commentaries. Nobody is expected to be good at everything. You’ve dedicated your education and your career towards something far different than financial planning. The Lord has surrounded you with financial wisdom. Tap into it! Start with your local Thrivent agent or other investment planner. Your bank can offer suggestions for a financial advisor. Concordia Plans Services has full time staff dedicated to financial education for church workers of the synod. Check with your district office or LCEF representative. There’s probably a qualified person in your congregation! Distressing thoughts, financial mistakes and an uncertain future are not inevitable. You can rid yourself of these burdens with a little counsel and dedication to a new future. I hope you’ll start today! Thanks for reading. Do you serve in a multiple staff setting in a church, Lutheran school, university or social service ministry? Discover how a Ministry Team Wellness Workshop can help enhance your team ministry by building the unity, spiritual life and communication essential to partnership in ministry. Contact Program Director Darrell Zimmerman for more information.