Defeating the Debt Monster

Do you spend a great deal of your time thinking of ways to avoid debt collectors? Do you toss and turn every night trying worrying about how you will EVER pay off what you owe? Millions of consumers in this country have a huge personal debt problem and unfortunately, most have no clear vision as to how to get out it.

Debt is no laughing matter. Money problems can affect every aspect of your life. Loss of sleep, eating problems, stress on personal relationships, and reduced productivity at work are just some of the possible side-effects of wrestling with the debt monster. To free yourself from its clutches, absorb the following advice and use it to break away once and for all. Remember-you don't have to be a captive to debt!

Six Pearls of Wisdom

  • Understand the marketing of debt. The fundamental truth is debt can be a trap. No, not all lenders are evil puppet masters. But let's face facts. The overall aim of any creditor is to make money off your debt. This profit comes from the interest and fees which you are charged. Consumers are bombarded with advertisements which have one universal goal: to get you to take on more debt. Don't believe the hype. Live within your means. Save up for big purchases. Know what you can afford to spend.
  • Believe that you can get out of debt. It's one thing to know how to get out and stay out of debt. It's quite another to actually do it! In order to successfully defeat your debt, you have to believe you can and you will. Yes, it will take an enormous amount of determination and effort on your part but it can be done.
  • Know that others may try to sabotage your efforts. If you share your decision to actively work towards becoming debt-free, many of your friends (and even an occasional relative) may tell you that you're wasting your time. The comments might range from "There's nothing wrong with using credit to get what you want" or "You'll never be able to do it" to "Everybody has to have some debt" or "Debt is a way of life in America". Free yourself from this negative mindset! It IS possible and you CAN do it.
  • Stop living in a fantasy world. It may be hard for you to admit but many of your ideas about debt may be seriously flawed. For instance, you might think that carrying some level of debt is okay and nothing to worry about. But your debt load could be adversely affecting your ability to reach your long-term financial goals. Every dollar you spend on interest and monthly payments is money you aren't able to save. Whether it's an emergency fund, your 401(k), investments, or another type of retirement account that doesn't get funded, what you spend each month on payments, interest, and other charges ultimately takes away from your own personal financial security.
  • Seek out positive support. Healthy, positive support is always helpful when you are trying to get out of debt. While you should definitely avoid the naysayers, confiding in encouraging friends is highly recommended. The same holds true if you have a spouse or partner. It is nearly impossible to successfully get out of debt without both people in the relationship working together towards the same goal.
  • Avoid temptation. If impulse shopping is breaking your budget every month, stay away from the mall and online shopping websites. Let your friends know that you won't be joining them at the mall but are happy to get together with them in a less financially-threatening location. Know your spending "triggers" and learn ways to avoid them. Above all, don't set yourself up to fail.

Climbing out of debt isn't easy. It takes time and patience and many times involves "unlearning" some very bad financial habits. But it can be done. Choose to think differently about your money. Discover the freedom that being debt-free can bring to your life. Explore the choices that previously may have been closed to you because of your debt. It's definitely worth the effort.