Yet another article confirms what I’ve always suspected about the relationship between how you “feel” about debt and motivation to be debt-free: Until you get mad about your debt, it’s tough to make the necessary changes and sacrifices.
Debt becomes like another member of the family
Debt becomes just another part of your life. Some debt sticks around longer than a pet! The credit card statements show up each month like a greeting card from the Ghost of Past Spending. Student loans are stretched out to 10 years or longer if put into deferment or forbearance. Car loans have terms of 4 or 5 years – with the car “underwater” most of that time. Mortgages have 30-year terms but are turned into an ATM with a home equity loan that extends your loan life & increases the monthly burden.
You get a comfort level
You have internal conversations that make you comfortable with your debt. As long as the credit card balance stays around $2000, it’s manageable. I will pay the students loans off when I get a better job. We’ll start saving once we get rid of all our debt. We had to use the credit card to put gas in the tank & food on the table. The monthly new car payment fits into our monthly budget so we can afford it.
Temptation for debt is everywhere
The smaller loan payment for a longer term, financing options for new furniture, lease instead of driving a paid-for car, a student loan package, and the no or low-down payment mortgage are very tempting. My mom calls it “a dollar down, a dollar-a-day” stuff when folks can afford something because the monthly payment is manageable, not because they can purchase it outright with cash.
Life is going to happen
You don’t know how or when it will hit you, but there’s something waiting around the corner. If you have a bunch of debt, your choices on how to handle that situation are going to be more limited. Might be a good thing like going to a family wedding or traveling to the team’s championship game…or a bad thing like a major car repair or unexpected job loss.
Time to get mad and change your direction!
When you aren’t burdened by those “manageable” monthly debt payments, you can build up savings for emergencies, vacations, homes, education, furniture, cars, and retirement. You put yourself in control of situations rather than struggling with the question of “How in the world is this going to work out this time?”
Get mad about how much of your family’s hard-earned money is going out of your bank account for past purchases. It’s time to figure out what YOU are willing to sacrifice this month, this year to get to Zero. ‘Cause as long as you have all that debt, you are below ground. You are in the hole. You can’t build until you dig out of that debt.
Once you stand at ground zero, the debt is gone, the payments have stopped coming out of the bank account, and you’ll never want to go back there again. You’ll figure out how to do things without a credit card, without a loan. The very idea of using debt will make you burn. You’ll give up This to get That, rather than go back into that dirty hole again that brings stress and worry.
Figure it how you are going to stop using debt to live beyond your means, pay off those credit cards & loans, and start building a solid financial foundation for your future. Learn how to make a real budget. Now is the time to address that “feeling” and do something about it!