Taking the next step in your financial journey isn’t always easy.
I have met with several people over the years who struggle to get started with paying off their debt. They are loaded with car loans, student loans, and credit card debt. Yet, they find it difficult to get off the starting block and begin crushing their heavy burden.
They don’t enjoy being in debt. It is stressful and places significant limitations on their lives. So why don’t they start their debt payoff journey? Here are a few reasons I’ve come across:
1. Some simply don’t know what they don’t know. They know they have debt, but they don’t understand the real, future ramifications of their debt—that often their financial situation is fragile and unsustainable. They don’t understand the amount of money they’re losing because of interest. They don’t understand the opportunity cost—what they could be doing with their money instead of making debt payments. They simply don’t know what they don’t know.
2. Going after debt requires a confrontation with reality. I’ve had conversations with men and women who would rather keep their heads in the sand. They get uncomfortable when it comes to facing their financial reality, and therefore, avoid it altogether. Why do they not confront reality? The next two points will answer that question.
3. Going after debt requires a change in lifestyle. Paying off debt requires a dramatic shift in the household budget. First, spending more than one makes must stop. Attempting to pay off debt while simultaneously accumulating debt is a fairly poor strategy. Second, margin within the budget must be created so that additional payments can go toward existing debts. The result of these two moves is often a significant change in lifestyle. And some are just not ready for this sacrifice.
4. Some choose a public façade over the fear of feeling ashamed. Lifestyle changes become obvious to friends and neighbors. Those aggressively paying down their debts must say “no” on a regular basis. They must say “no” to eating out, vacations, and extracurricular activities. They must cease the façade—the perception of wealth they’ve created. And some are afraid that they will feel ashamed because of this. So, they never take the next step.
5. Some don’t know what to do. Their mountain of debt seems overwhelming, and they have no idea what to do about it. They want to get out of debt, but they don’t know how to accomplish this. They are paralyzed by a lack of knowledge, and therefore, never get started.
Are you someone who has yet start your debt-free journey? If so, let me encourage you take that next step. Just to be honest, the journey is not always easy. It requires sacrifice, discipline, and hard work. But even though the journey is not always easy, it is always worth it.