Q: “I’m having financial problems. The credit card companies are hounding me, the bank is threatening to take my pickup, and my spouse is complaining that we never have enough money. What makes it worse is that my boss doesn’t seem to care. I’ve asked him for a raise, for more hours or a bonus, but nothing has worked. How can I convince him to help me?”

A: Financial difficulties can be caused by many factors. Sometimes things happen that we cannot control. But for the most part, our financial situation is a result of our own actions.

Sometimes we have to make some tough decisions. A client recently called me about a manager who had the exact same complaint and kept hounding him for a raise -- the employee was already making more than $60,000 a year. It wasn’t his income that was the problem; it was his spending.

If your financial problems are due to ongoing illness, off-work injury, property damage or other problems beyond your control, you can usually get financial help through loans, assistance programs or payment negotiation to help you meet your obligations within your current income.

Employers cannot give raises just because people “need” more money. If they did, eventually the employees who were the least responsible would get the highest pay. Too many times employers have tried to be nice guys and loan employees money to help them out, only to be stiffed a couple of months later when those employees leave without notice.

I’m not an expert in finances, but it sounds like you need to take a hard look at why you’re having financial problems. Be honest with yourself and your spouse. Track all of your expenses for a month and see where the money is going. Get some professional advice from a no-fee credit counselor. Reconsider your financial priorities. You may have to make some tough decisions, but the process will eventually end the cycle of over-limit fees, service charges and collection calls.

It’s a little-known fact that if a new home owner with a 25- to 30-year mortgage makes double payments every month, he will have his house paid off in about six years. Think about that. What would your life be like if you didn’t have to make a house or rent payment every month for the rest of your life? Ask yourself, what would you most like to do but you can’t because you don’t have the money?

If you have questions for Dear Boss, send them to:

Don Tyler, P.O. Box 67, Stockwell, IN 47983 or e-mail to  don@dontyler.com.

Your letter will remain confidential, and may or may not get an individual reply.