Did you squander your children's college fund on risky stocks or open a fourth credit card when you were already late on the first three? Don't know where to turn?
Here's a suggestion: How about talking to your equally naughty brethren online.
Social online finance company
Geezeo recently launched a feature called Money Confessions. Users can confess their spending sins, either publicly or anonymously, in the attempt to get them off their chest.
Here are some more Geezeo declarations of financial guilt to get you thinking about your own transgressions:
: "(sheepishly admit) just bought the "Hip Hop Abs" DVD set on eBay, $40. Now, about actually using it ... white woman/no rhythm ..."
explains that he or she uses "ATM Money like it's candy."
can't stop buying anything with the
logo on it. "The packaging is just too pretty," he explains.
asks, "Is there any way to pay a $5200 bill with only $1500 bucks....please?"
Geezeo founders Peter Glyman and Shawn Ward suggest that seeing other people that are struggling with similar financial difficulties can help with coming to terms with your own financial situation, or even getting out of denial about your finances. Re-examining your own money can be the first step to getting back on the road to financial health.
Glyman and Ward say that they began noticing in Geezeo's extant social networking groups that users were often posting their financial concerns for discussion with other group members. Money Confessions was created as an extension, placed to the forefront of the site, with the new feature allowing web users anywhere to voice their confessions anonymously.
And for those ready to make the step that follows acknowledgement, Geezeo offers free tools that allow you to keep track of your own finances or budgets as you make purchases. See your dashboard change from green to yellow to red as you approach and then exceed your allotted funds.
Myvesta, a nonprofit organization that helps people deal with financial problems, provides Web surfers with its own form of "debt confessional."
Here's one anonymous admission from Myvesta:
"My husband gambled away $100,000 before I stopped enabling him. Now we are paying the money back but it will take at least 2 years. Meanwhile all my friends have more toys than me. I am angry at my husband some days. How can I just live my life again. I only wish I knew then what I know now."
Myvesta offers would-be clients the opportunity to follow a link to one of their debt experts. The foundation also publishes examples of questions and answers on debt from other users.
"The Millionaire Inside: Debt Makeover" series, which debuted on Monday, presents stories of consumers trying to extricate themselves from their debt. You can confess your debt as well,
If you have more than just financial transgressions to unburden, other online confessionals exist for all type of would-be sin avowers.
Group Hug is an ongoing log that lets users to hug or shrug at listed confessions.
DailyConfession.com allows you to choose a category for your sin: think the Ten Commandments, plus some others. Another feature lets you click to the wildest admissions of the day, which might make you feel better about your own perceived wrongdoings.
Some sites offer up virtual rosaries.
Those Catholics wishing to absolve themselves via their computers should however be forewarned. In 2001, the Vatican said "no" to online confessions, as they lack the personal touch needed to provide the full benefit of the sacrament.
Nate Herpich is a freelance writer and editor living in Brooklyn, N.Y. He has also written for the Wall Street Journal, the Christian Science Monitor and Sports Illustrated.com.