It’s that time of year again! The nights get longer. Haunting winds rattle shutters, and swaying trees cast spooky shadows in the moonlight. It’s time to tell ghost stories!
These stories scare us, but they can also show us something. Let’s see what three of the most popular ghost stories can show us about financial responsibility for a spook-tacular Halloween!
1) The Ghost in the Attic
It starts a little differently each time. Maybe there’s a bump in the night. A squeaky floorboard creaks and groans even when no one is walking near it. More and more squeaks and bumps that no one can explain keep happening. The cabinets open and close by themselves. Loud noises come from nowhere in the middle of the night. Everyone is terrified, and no one can sleep. Blood starts dripping from walls as screams come from the vents and doors slam. This house is haunted.
It turns out there’s some history to the house. A gruesome murder took place there. It was built on an ancient Native American burial ground. The attic was home to an abandoned child who was forced to live there because of his hideous deformity. The only way to get back to normal is to give these angry spirits what they need.
If your house has creaking floorboards, or your heating and cooling system goes bump in the night, you might be headed for a far more serious problem than ghosts. Unexplained noises in the house could be signs of serious structural problems. Knocks in the walls can be a plumbing issue about to break loose. Uneven construction can really make cabinets open by themselves and doors slam uncontrollably. Like in the story, many of these problems come out of your house’s history. It might have been built on an old mine site or just built in a hurry.
Left untreated, these little problems can create big trouble. Squeaky floorboards can break, pipes can rupture and foundation problems can ruin your home. If you’re counting on homeowners insurance to pay for these accidents, think again. Homeowners insurance policies broadly don’t cover “construction defects,” which means you’ll be stuck holding the bill.
Consider getting out in front of these problems. You can use your home equity line of credit to repair your foundation, fix structural problems in your home and perform other necessary upgrades. Don’t let the specter of uncertainty ruin your ghoulish good time!
2) Vampire Infestation
Up a winding mountain pass deep in the Transylvanian high country sits an ancient mansion. The simple folk who live in the valley will not go near it, nor will they even speak a word about it, for fear of attracting the dark attention of the master of the house. The man is never seen and the house might be assumed empty if it were not for the ominous cackling that echoes through the farms and pastures that surround the mountain.
Legend tells that the man in the mansion is an unholy abomination who subsists on the blood of the innocent. Young children have been found by the road leading up to the mansion, their flesh cold and clammy as though the life itself has been drained out of them. Travelers who arrive at the village scoff at the tale of Dracula’s Mansion, but those who journey up to it are never seen again.
While you don’t have any vampires in your life (probably), you do have something you never see that’s sucking the life out of your financial success. Outstanding debt is a seldom-seen figure that casts an ominous shadow over your household finances. Make no mistake: The beast is feeding on your innocent salary and putting your whole household in its sight. The average household has $17,000 or more in debt and faces an average minimum payment of $423 per month.
If you want to drive a stake through the heart of this monster, consider a debt consolidation loan. These loans can repair your credit, lower your monthly payment and free you from the control of the heartless creature. Best of all, you won’t need to deal with the smell of garlic!
3) Zombie Apocalypse
The streets are quiet. There are no cars or pedestrians. An overcast sky casts flickering shadows on the desolate streets. The ordinary noises of a city are starkly absent. The only clearly audible sound is the slow chomping of the walking dead who are feasting on the bodies of recent victims.
Cowering in basements and perched on rooftops, human survivors band together. Their goal is simple: Stay alive for one more day. Long past the point where rescue helicopters stop flying, these brave souls will go their own way and resist being part of the zombie horde.
Zombies are a cautionary example of what happens to us when we consume just for the sake of consumption. A zombie is a sad creature who lacks the capacity to plan or see further than the next meal. We’ve all been there – splurging on a candy bar in the checkout lane, not because we were hungry, but because we wanted it and it was there.
The best way to zombie-proof yourself is to make a realistic budget and stick to it. Make a plan for your income that includes saving and investing. Be sure to include space for planned indulgences – like discount Halloween candy on Nov. 1.