Not every piece of “financial truth” is necessarily useful or effective all the time.
Let’s take the following, very “true” statement…
“Spend less than you earn and stay clear of consumer debt!”
Whilst this is indeed the #1 financial wellbeing lesson we all need to learn and apply as we become great Wealth Chef’s, when you find yourself in a big hole of consumer debt it is about as useful as being told to keep your knees together when you discover you are pregnant!
There are other similarities between being pregnant and in debt:
- Both are going to cost you loads of time
- Both are going to cost you loads of money
- Both will cost you many sleepless nights wondering about the impact it will have on your life.
But that’s where the two diverge…
There also isn’t a natural end to vicious cycles of debt.
Once you start down the slippery debt slope – using credit cards and overdrafts and store loans and IOU’s to buy things with future earning – the only way out of it is to consciously get yourself out.
STEP 1. Recognise You Have Consumer Debt and Commit to getting out of it.
This may seem like a throwaway comment and very obvious tip, but it is one of the most important.
Denial that consumer debt is bad for you and your wealth and that you have a consumer debt problem is one of the biggest reason hundreds of millions of people around the world, never break free from it and never get to experience freedom.
Getting out of debt is hard. It takes commitment and discipline. It requires choices to be made and possibly lifestyle changes. It may also require you doing things differently from what your friends and peers and even family are doing, which can feel really tough in the moment.
It also takes imagination to really feel the gift you are giving yourself by committing to your freedom. Right now it may be hard to even contemplate the abstract state of being debt-free and what that actually means for you.
Use pain and pleasure to fuel your commitment.
Perhaps you are already very familiar with the pain side of your consumer debt. You feel the pain of those debt payments that have to be made each month, the pain of seeing your hard earned money disappear each month with nothing to show for it. You feel the pain of not being able to do things for yourself or your kids because the money is already long gone and the pain of not being able to save for your future. That pain is good. Use it as fuel to keep your debt free commitment engines burning.
Another powerful “pain” motivator is to see exactly how much each debt is costing you in time and money. The money pain is the interest you are paying, and the time being, how long you will be paying this debt off.
Go here to get the “Wealth Chef’s Time and Interest Debt Payoff Calculator” and use it to see how long it will take to pay off various debts if you make only the minimum payment month-after-month and how much interest it is going to cost you.
Then play around with increasing your payments and reducing the interest rate and see how much money and time you will give yourself by committing to Blitz Your Debt.
Before you embark on this debt free adventure with me, think about how juicy it will be to be debt-free!
Think about the things you will do and have when you have no more debts to pay off. What are those dreams you really want? Is it buying a home, having exhilarating adventures every year, sending your kids or grandkids to college, or being able to stop working so hard?
Stop and think about that right now.
Good! I hope you’ve got a juicy list of things that you can draw on when your debt free commitment is under pressure. To add even more fuel to this, create a visual reminder of what you’re working towards. Create a debt free life vision board. Find pictures of the type of home you want, the places you’ll be visiting, the people you love who you’ll be able to support even more. Put this up on a wall where you can see it every day, make a digital version and use it as your computer screen saver and take one image that encapsulates the whole and put that in your wallet so whenever you are about to spend money, you see what you have committed to, and remind yourself of what you’d really like to be doing with your money and life.
STEP 2. Get Clarity On All The Debt You Have
Having helped thousands of people get out of and stay out of debt forever I know with absolute certainty that you cannot break free from something unless you know it’s size and shape! When people don’t know the full extent of their debt they invariably fall off the wagon and end up back or deeper in debt.
You must determine the true scale and nature of the hole you are getting yourself out of.
Find out the total amount you owe by creating a Debt Clarity Spreadsheet.
In a spreadsheet list all your debts (credit cards, store cards, over drafts, student loads, car loans, IOU’s – get it all on the sheet. Then against each listed debt in columns to the right list the outstanding debt balances, the interest rate you are being charged and the minimum payments you must make on each debt. All this information should be on your debt statements. If you can’t find the information, then contact the company you are indebted to and ask them for this information.
Then add up the outstanding debt balance and the minimum payment columns and this will tell you the total amount you owe and the total minimum payment you have to make each month just to keep up with your current debt repayments.
If you’re shocked by the numbers you see, just remind yourself that this is the highest the number your debts will ever be. You are committed to claiming back your freedom and within just one month those numbers will get smaller.
If you want more support and information on How To Break Free and Stay Free From Debt Forever then join me on a FREE Wealth Chef Debt Blitzing Masterclass.
In the comments below I’d love to hear some of the reasons why you are totally committed to being debt free.
Here’s to you being free of debt forever
FREE “Time and Interest Debt Payoff Calculator” >>>