When It’s OK To Do Nothing

by Mark Brinker

In our fast-paced Western culture of go-go-go and do-do-do it’s tempting to think that all problems can be solved by being proactive and *taking action*. However, that’s not always the case, especially when dealing with financial problems.

As the saying goes, “You can’t squeeze blood from a turnip.” And with regard to creditors, they can’t take what you don’t have. Therefore, there are some unique situations where sitting idle and *doing nothing* (at least in the short term) might be the way to go.

Here are two examples …

Example #1:

Let’s say you’re presently unemployed and you have few or no assets to your name. Thus, there’s no wage for a creditor to garnish and there’s no car or property for them to seize. A creditor could huff and puff and do their best to intimidate you, but if you find yourself in a situation like this there’s not a whole lot that a creditor could do to you to really hurt you financially.

Example # 2:

Let’s say you’re retired and your only source of income is a pension or social security check. In most cases, this type of income is off limits to creditors. But what if you’re a homeowner? Ok, fine. A creditor could sue you and get a judgment against you, then they could attach a lien to your house. But they won’t get any money from you unless you sell your home. So if you don’t plan on moving any time soon, that lien could sit there for *years* before the creditor collects a dime.

The concept we’re talking about here is being “judgment-proof”. Yes, it takes some intestinal fortitude, but ultimately your creditors can only do so much if there’s nothing there (financially) for them to go after.

Now please don’t take this the wrong way. I’m not suggesting that you deliberately do things to try and screw your creditors out of the money that you rightfully owe them. Not at all.

But what I am saying is that if you’re going through a rough patch financially, there are some unique situations where you’ll temporarily be just fine by *doing nothing*, and it won’t cost you a dime. Certainly you are going to want to straighten things out eventually. But sometimes the best course of action in the immediate moment is simply to sit tight, remain calm and do nothing.

Naturally if you are *working* and/or you have some *assets* that creditors could go after, that’s a different story. In other words, if you are gainfully employed or you have assets that could be at risk you might need to actively pursue a solution to your present financial dilemma while you still have the opportunity to do so. (Translation: Don’t become a sitting target for your creditors.)

In most cases you will need to be proactive and take action to solve any financial challenges you are faced with. However, as described above, there are some unique situations where you’ll be just fine by doing nothing.

Previous post:

Next post: