Debt is a topic that has a special place in my heart. Not for any good reason though. I constantly talk the problems of debt with friends and family because I regret having debt. I talk about debt a lot for two reasons:
- To warn others of the danger of having debt for the wrong reasons
- The more I talk about debt to others the wiser I become because I am in reality I am also advising and reminding myself constantly about foolish mistakes I made by taking on too much debt.
You would never tell by looking at me that I have a debt problem. If you’re with me I am sure you feel that way sometimes. People look at you and believe that you have it all going well for you financially, portraying an image of success. But underneath that appearance lies a deep feeling of hurt and regret for not being responsible with money. Frankly, there are times when I feel like I am poor, that I will have to pay my debt forever. Although I dislike feeling poor and stuck in quicksand, it is a reminder to me to never go back to where it all started.
The most annoying thing is that income was not a problem. I just did not have a plan to attack the debt. I simply paid as I went along and added more when convenient. It wasn’t until I started listening to top financial experts talking about money and debt that I realized that I had been a fool along. That was when it suddenly dawned on me that I might have to work for the rest of my life without the privilege of a decent retirement. That is when I got serious and starting to think about what I had done and where it would lead me.
I have never been a person to sit back and do nothing about a problem. I don’t lick my wounds, I heal my wounds. Realizing that I had a debt problem I knew that I had to spring into action. So here is what I had to do:
- Identify the cause of the problem. What was causing me to continuously accumulate and not pay off my debt in a timely manner.
- Make drastic changes to the way I spent money. Everything was eligible to go to the chopping board and that included people.
- Organize all my consumer debt and student loans in order of repayment priority. I went along with the smaller to larger method only because I believe paying of smaller amounts will give me a sense of making progress.
- Set all my monthly payments to auto-pay with the paperless option. It was too painful to write checks and see me send my money out to borrowers.
- Painfully monitor progress
- Put off major purchases such as a new car (I actually need one right now) until all consumer loans are paid 🙁
This is the painful price that I have to pay for my lack of financial responsibility. The good news for me is I know I will reach the finish line.
I am now at a place in my life where I have pledged never to allow debt, especially consumer debt to rob me of my chances of living a beautiful life. I have learned how easy it is to walk deep into debt. I know now that I can only be wise, spend wisely and if I ever to, to use debt wisely.
I hope this real life check was inspiring and that my experience will help you in your own debt journey.