It is practically impossible to go through life without debts of some sort – you might be immune from debts if you have wealthy parents footing your bills – in which case, you wouldn’t be reading this piece. You’ll most likely have a credit card debt to help you make your regular purchases, you’ll have student loan debt from college expenses, many people also have auto loans, and mortgage loans to keep a roof over their heads.
When you take an objective look at your finances, it is easy to become despondent at the thought of the many unpaid loans. A recent Pew Research survey showed that 8 out of 10 Americans are in debts. 12% Americans believe they won’t get out of debt until they die. Escaping from the dark grip of debt could be difficult; yet, you can get out of debt. There’s no one-size-fits all solution to getting out of debt but this piece looks at three harmless actions that could make it harder for you to get out of debt.
1. Not mastering your emotions
Your emotions could becloud your judgment and make it harder for you to be objective about your debt situation. Starting with fear – fear might cause you to live in denial instead of confronting the reality of your debt problems. The dangerous effect of fear is that you can’t begin to take actions to eradicate your debt until you take the time to honestly appraise how much debt you owe.
Pride is another emotion that could cause you to cheat yourself out of useful resources that could solve your debt problems. For instance, your pride could give you the false confidence that you are still in control of your debt even when a debt consolidation program could relieve your debt burden. In the worst-case scenario, greed could stop you from declaring bankruptcy even though it is a legal option that could help you start afresh.
2. Taking debt with levity
Dealing with debt is a serious task that requires lots of commitment and dedication on your part. Many people find it hard to get out of debt because they don’t place a premium on becoming debt-free. However, the problem with debt is that it tends to increase when you don’t take drastic actions to stop it from growing. Debt will increase because of an increase in your expenses as you grow through life and the interest payments on unpaid debt will add to the debt burden. Unfortunately, your debt problem won’t disappear overnight even with the best of efforts and it is easy to give up along the way if you don’t understand that paying off debt is a long term game.
3. Making minimum monthly payments
Some people are stuck with a debt burden because they make only the minimum monthly payments. Paying the minimum monthly payments will save you from late payment fees but it will take you much longer to pay off your debt, you’ll pay more in interests, and you’ll have the emotional baggage of unpaid debt.
Many credit card companies often include a “Minimum Payment Warning” on credit card statements but most people tend to ignore such warnings. To get out of debt faster, you should stop adding new unnecessary debt by adopting a frugal lifestyle. You should also note that doubling your minimum payment requirement would halve the time it will take to pay off your debt.
There are no rules of the thumb for getting out of debt because debt burdens vary in terms of monetary value, repayment terms, and interest rates among other factors. Nonetheless, if you master your emotions, you won’t be adding to your debt burden unnecessarily. Being honest with yourself to confront your debt problem will stop you from living in denial. Lastly, paying more than the minimum monthly payments will help you pay down debt faster and pay less money in interests. You won’t get rid of your debt problem overnight but taking consistent smart personal finance decisions could help you get out of debt much faster than others with the same amount of debt.
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