Okay. So you have your budget. You have identified which pay-off method you are going to use to pay your debt off. But one crucial thing you really need to do is you need to have a heart to heart with yourself.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO DEBT IN THE FIRST PLACE?
For many people, they ask the question: How can I get out of debt?
Before you answer that question, however, you need to answer a different question. How did you get into debt?
You really need to honestly answer this question. It’s not to be hard on yourself or discourage you. But you need to identify the root cause of the problem so that you can avoid heading back into the same pitfalls. When you are truly honest with yourself you can discover some very critical information that will help you not only overcome the debt trap but to stay out of that trap for the rest of your life!
UNEXPECTED SITUATIONS BEYOND OUR CONTROL
For some people, it’s unexpected medical issues that arise, followed by problems with the insurance company. This can bury you in a hurry. My wife and I went through this. Part of our debt struggles came from high medical bills, many of which lacked affordable payment options…then the collections followed.
Then there are the student loans. Back in October of 2014, Allie Bidwell wrote in a blog for USNews.com, “The average bachelor’s degree holder takes 21 years to pay off his or her loans.” 21 YEARS! Let that sink in for a minute. But that’s the reality that we live in and most students are struggling to keep up with the minimum payments. A lot of college graduates even take jobs in non-related fields just to get some income going faster. Then they tend to fall into a whole new trap and never end up pursuing their original dreams.
Maybe you had a rough go with your taxes and now you are facing tax liens. This can be a huge headache and nightmare.
Let’s talk about the big one here. Being irresponsible with credit cards is one of the biggest financial problems in America today. 72% of people have at least one credit card. Don’t get me wrong, credit cards can have their place, but only if you can handle the responsibility.
If you want to rent a car or book a hotel room having a credit card is definitely ideal. Yes, you can use a debit card. But, I can tell you from personal experience that they will ask for a whole lot more information (utility bills, references, etc.) if you try using one. Just remember, with privilege comes responsibility. We need to not only understand this but respect this fact as well.
Most people with multiple credit cards get to a place where they are “robbing Peter to pay Paul”. Or, in my wife and I’s case, we also had John, James, Samuel, Rebecca, and Amanda in the mix as well.
LIVING BEYOND OUR MEANS
My wife and I decided that we didn’t want to wait to have the lifestyle and comfort we wanted. We wanted it NOW. Our parents and especially our grandparents knew to save up and work hard for what they wanted.
One of the key things that rich people do is live below their means. In most cases, WELL below. They certainly don’t live paycheck to paycheck, they don’t even understand that phrase. We all want more money. We desire to be rich or at the very least be comfortable. We look to the day where we aren’t strapped all the time.
So, when we can’t afford what we want, or even sometimes need, we assume that there is only one to way to get it. We borrow!
But…what if, waiting, savings, borrowing, and for some people, stealing, isn’t the best answer at all.
What if everything else is just a symptom that is masking the real issue?
NOT ENOUGH INCOME
I was having lunch with a good friend of mine not long ago. We were talking about our lives, our businesses, and how we wanted to make a greater impact to help others.
I was telling him about this page and how I wanted to share my wisdom and experiences with others to help them break free from their own debt traps, and he asked me a very interesting question.
“So, let me ask you this, why do you think people end up in so much debt?”
I thought about that for a moment. Before I could give him my answer he asked, “Do you think it’s because of a lack of income?” Of course, that’s part of it. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it’s actually the core problem.
The fact is, we live in some very tough economic times. Things aren’t going to get any easier. In fact, they are only going to continue to get worse.
If you listen to any financial, economy, or investment expert they will talk about what the next recession will look like. It’s inevitable. It’s going to happen. The markets are overvalued to the point that they cannot sustain themselves. It’s not a question as to if, but when.
Food costs are going up, gas prices will continue their roller coaster, and employers will continue to look at ways to cut back and downsize.
Here’s the bottom line: we need to be taking care of ourselves! We don’t make enough income now, and we certainly won’t make enough income in the future. We can’t look to our employer to save us and we certainly can’t look for the government to save us.
Here is how well things are going with the government at the moment… U.S. Debt Clock. YEP! Spinning like a top! No signs of slowing down. It will take decades to repair the damage and that’s only if the government budget gets balanced today. We all know that’s not going to happen.
How did you end up so far in debt? Do you agree that lack of income was a big part of it? Leave your comments below.