The Only Guaranteed Way to Get Out of Debt Forever
Sex and money. The two topics that are never taught correctly in school. Sure, I remember learning the importance of safety when it comes to the former. But the two distinct memories I have from that specific class was the skit the abstinence club performed. And the horrifying video of the diseases that could potentially happen in your nether regions that followed.
The skit started with a lucky guy sitting on a few school desks pushed together. He held a pink paper cutout of a heart. A girl walks towards him, puts a blanket over his legs, and sits down next to him. She gets under the blanket and he tears the pink paper heart and gives her half.
Another girl walks up, sits on the other side and gets under the blanket. From his now halved, pink paper heart, he rips it and gives her half. This process gets repeated until he has almost nothing left to give the new girls. At which point they bow, we clap, and they leave. Nobody even bothers to explain further. And finally, the teacher walks over to the VCR and plops in the horrifying diseases video. Bell rings, we all leave with no useful information.
Turns out, this lesson was way more detailed and thorough, than the financial lessons I learned in school. I learned how to properly write a check. Put my name here, and write the amount out. That's about it. The only thing I knew at that time was that I never wanted to use this outdated form of payment. Mainly because it was a form of torture the elderly performed when paying in front of us at the register.
My point is, we are not really taught what we should do with our money. Let alone how to accumulate it, or save it. It isn't your fault that you were not taught about money. And it isn't your parents fault either. But blaming the system won't do anything but hurt your chances of getting out of the debt hole. The only way to grow is to take responsibility and from this point on, to teach yourself.
In my last post about Retirement, I talked about the importance of knowing how much money you will need for retirement. Considering so many American workers, Career Builder says 4 out of 5, live paycheck to paycheck how is it possible to save for retirement? On top of that, the debt for the Average U.S. household is $131,431 (including mortgages) according to NerdWallet.
If you want to save for retirement, and you are in debt, it is of the utmost importance to pay off that debt. And before you can begin to lower your debt, you need to know how much you have. Take a look at the different categories of debt you have. For example, this is the average debt in U.S. households by category:
- Credit Card Debt: $15,654
- Auto Loans: $27,669
- Student Loans: $46,597
- Mortgages: $173,995
After figuring out how much debt you have, it’s time to understand how it got that way. If you have credit card debt, look at your purchases. What are you buying? The average household with revolving credit card debt pays $904 in interest annually. Think of being able to put that $904 into something other than extra payments. Don’t feel bad about the debt you are in, just use the information you are gathering as a tool to create an effective plan to get out.
“Perhaps the two biggest enemies of success, happiness, and personal fulfillment are first the Path of Least Resistance and second the Expediency Factor.” Brian Tracy
Logic suggests paying off the debt with the highest interest rate first. Before choosing the most logical plan, consider what Dave Ramsey had to say. He says if you had the logical ability to make good financial decisions, you wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place. His strategy is called the Debt Snowball Method. It is a debt reduction strategy where you pay off the smallest debts first. And use the momentum to help you work towards larger debts.
There are different methods to pay off debt, but the two most popular are the Debt Snowball and the Debt Avalanche. Debt Avalanche focuses on paying off the highest interest rate debt first. Understand that in order to pay off debt and live a debt free life, you will need to focus on behavior modification.
Which Behaviors Need Modification?
The Path of Least Resistance
This is why some people look for shortcuts to everything. When I say shortcuts, I mean people looking for the easy way out in almost every situation. This is dangerous because it becomes a habit very quickly. The habit of always seeking an easier, faster way rather than doing the work that is necessary will keep people from success.
The Expediency Factor
“People invariably seek the fastest and easiest way to get the things they want, right now, with little or no concern for the long-term consequences of their behaviors.” Tracy
This means that most people do what is fun and easy rather than what is necessary. There is no self-discipline. Self-discipline requires delayed gratification which is the ability to put off satisfaction in the short term in order to enjoy greater rewards in the long term.
You Can Modify Behaviors Through Habits
The reason why it is so important to revise the habit that put you in debt, is because habits determine 95% of your behavior. The key to success is cultivating the best habits. If you shortcut your debt payment by forgoing any work on good habit formation, and somehow manage to pay it off, chances are you may find yourself back in debt rather quickly. Maybe in an even bigger hole than before.
For each month included in The Quarterly Habit Handbook there are three Detailed Credit Card Itemized Sheets. A good habit to start is writing down all your purchases, especially those purchased by credit cards. This fosters accountability and starts a step towards strengthening self-discipline.
The most successful people are long-term thinkers. They can look into the future and determine the kind of person they want to become and what goals they want to achieve. They can then come up with a plan that will lead them to their desired future.
We are not taught much in terms of sexual or financial education. Just as we don't let that stop us from learning more about the former, we should take our financial education into our own hands😬. It is your responsibility to pay off the debt and simply by taking responsibility you are starting your debt-free journey.
Create a budget and look at your expenses. Understand your problem areas and choose the debt repayment method that is right for you. Whether that is the Debt Snowball Method or the Debt Avalanche Method, it's up to you.
For more information about how The Quarterly Habit Handbook can help you build the necessary habits to stay out of debt, check out this post.
Looking for More?
Looking for more guidance when it comes to getting out of debt? We've got you covered! Follow through with your financial goals now! Start your debt free journey and accumulate savings. Raise your annual income and eliminate negativity! We offer two items that can help.
The How to Get Out of Debt eBook is a step-by-step actionable guide for using The Quarterly Habit Handbook to get out of debt. Don't worry if you don't have a copy of The Quarterly Habit Handbook, you can still gain benefits from this ebook, however, for the fastest and best results, we recommend using them together as they were designed to support each other.
The Debt Obstacle Bundle features a series of worksheets designed to guide you through your personal debt obstacles. Focusing on the most common key-problem areas when it comes to debt accumulation.
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.