Every year when July 4th rolls around, Americans from coast to coast celebrate July 4th with cookouts, outdoor concerts and fireworks. The rest of the world looks on and many join in.
We love celebrating Independence Day. The whole concept of Independence – being able to make our own choices, being able to do what ever we want to do, when we want to do it and with whom we want to do it – is one of the strongest and most coveted concepts we hold very dear.
And yet so many people, whilst celebrating independence, are deeply enslaved to debt. The western world likes to think of itself as “free” and yet en masse we have rolled up the biggest pile of personal debt the world has ever known.
Sadly, instead of addressing the problem, most people have just resigned themselves to “that’s just the way it is” type of thinking.
The majority of today’s youth know no other way than to get into debt. It’s not just socially acceptable, it’s expected! “Buy now, Pay later.” Money management based on “ can I cover the minimum monthly repayment?” with no understanding what so ever of the true “whole” cost.
This acceptance of financial slavery is sucking the life out of our society and destroying countless dreams and lives. The worst part is, IT DOESN”T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY!
Getting out of and staying out of debt is simple. But like so many powerful simple things, just because it is simple, does not make it easy.
The first step to eliminating debt it is to acknowledge it.
The first step to tackling any problem is acknowledging it.
We have to admit that we’re eating badly before we can improve our diet. We have to confess that we’re unfit before we can start some exercise. We have to confess that our finances aren’t as rosy as they could be or should be before we can start destroying our debt.
So many people ignore their debt. Living from month to month, often with barely enough money to cover all of their bills, let alone do anything more than cover minimum repayments.
People procrastinate about paying things. Often “forgetting” to pay them and doing almost anything to avid seeing the bank balance.
They wait until the wolves literally came to salivating at the door, in the form of payment demands and perhaps even court orders, before finally acknowledging they have a problem and they need to sort it out.
Remove the Taboo
No one likes to talk about debt, but almost everyone is in it.
Call it by whatever name you like, but car loans, cash loans, payday loans, revolving credit, mortgages, credit cards, overdrafts, IOU’s: They are all debt.
So why do we openly talk about some debts – “Yay! I got my first mortgage!”, while others are unmentionable “Yippee, the furniture store was stupid enough to give me a huge flat screen TV and even lent me the money for it!!!? Or “Oh, I’ve just bought a whole bunch of crap on a sale but luckily I put it on my credit card so I’ll actually pay more than 200% for it”. Why is some debt ‘worse’ than others?
Truth is, it’s not. All debt is equal. What makes it better or worse is our ability to deal with it.
Understand the WHY
Everyone has reasons for their debt. Understanding what helped you get into debt in the first place is a key step in destroying your current debt and even more importantly ensuring you don’t end up back in the same place.
No matter what your WHY is, ever reason is valid because they all happened.
Don’t get hung up on whether yours is a good or bad reason to be in debt. Who cares? The only thing that matters is how to get out of it!.
Get aware of why you buy and when you spend. Start noticing what emotions are at play when you spend.
- Do you spend more when you feel insecure, guilty, lonely, bored, hungry, angry, frustrated? What is your spending trigger?
- Do you spend money to reward yourself? “I’ve worked hard so I deserve this massage”. How about changing the reward by rewarding yourself with a wealth feast that lasts forever?
- How much of your spending is impulsive buying? Spur of the moment, “Oh I’ve just got to have that” kind of buying rather than planned spending?
Become aware of your spending emotions and the things that trigger impulsive spending for you. These are key to changing your money story.
Admitting debt is in your life and moving swiftly on to the next stage – destroying it – is crucial.
So yes, enjoy the hotdogs and the fireworks, but also remember that you will never be free as long as this debt is hanging over your heads.
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