The average household credit card debt in America is just over $15k and the average student loan debt is $32k. The average car payment in the U.S. is $488 over 88 months. To add to the glory of debt, 70% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Why is this? Why are so many people in debt up to their eyeballs and living so close to the edge in life? The answer: Getting out of Debt is Hard….Really Hard.
If you have ever been told by someone getting out of debt was easy, that person was lying to you. They may have been your best friend, a family member, or someone you simply look up to, but they were still lying to you. I’ll be honest – I lied. I may have told just about everyone and their mother that getting out debt was a piece-of-cake. I think we do this because we want you to succeed so badly with your finances that we sugarcoat it. We assume if it sounds like chocolates and rainbows, then you’ll take that first step forward to getting out of debt and living a life of financial peace. It is based on good intentions however it is nothing more than a bold-faced lie. Whew. That felt really good to get off my chest. Thank-you.
Here is the truth: It. Is. Hard………Period.
I want to make this as bold and blunt as possible because I don’t want you to be tricked into thinking there is an easy way out. There isn’t. If there was, we wouldn’t have 70% of Americans living paycheck-to-paycheck and in debt. To paint a better picture, think of ten of your friends. Seven of them are living paycheck-to-paycheck and carrying debt. Seven people you love and care about are hurting financially and are looking for any way out. I was one of those seven and now I get to be one of the other three. Getting from one side to the other was hard. Very hard.
Getting out debt,
and having financial
peace is very hard,
and incredibly worth it
Getting out of debt is going to be tough no matter how much debt you’re facing. You’re going to have to change your behavior. There isn’t a shortcut to financial freedom and you are not always going to have people lining up around you telling you how awesome you’re doing. Your biggest cheerleader is going to be that person looking at you in the mirror when you’re brushing your teeth (hey sexy). Your biggest nay-sayer is going to be every Negative Nelly who will tell you debt is a way of life and you should join their club. Thank-you for the invitation to remain normal and part of the majority – part of the 70%. Thanks, but no thanks.
Here is what to expect:
When you have that moment when you finally say, “I’ve had it!” – You’re going to be fired up! You are going to make a list of your debts and create a plan to attack them. You are going to walk around with your chest puffed out like a rooster doing his morning walk in front of the hen-house and you are going to look cool doing it. You are going to feel empowered, motivated, and determined to do whatever it takes to take on the parasite in your purse or wallet! You are going to finally leave the cave, kill something, and bring it home to eat! You are done with keeping calming and chiving on. You officially decided you are taking your money back!
Then what happens? Well, you finish your non-fat sugar-free vanilla latte with non-fat whipped cream and realize it wasn’t very healthy after all. You understand that you are going to have to sacrifice a lot more than you had anticipated. You figured out that you are going to have to sell something you really love – maybe a kid or two – and pick up extra hours at work. You may even cut cable – “How dare you say that out loud” – and your next vacation may be in a tent in your backyard. You are going to be that guy or girl who finally says “No, I can’t afford it”. You may be ridiculed, laughed at, or even ignored. You will be going against the grain and people won’t like it. Change is a tough thing – not just for you, but for the people around you. Change is also a good thing and it is how we grow in life. Can you imagine if we all
still wore diapers and walked around in our…..well, you know.
I tell you these things so you can anticipate them and be prepared for them. Author Stephen Covey wrote a book I highly encourage everyone to read called The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. The number one habit of highly effective people was being Proactive. I have just given you a glimpse into what will happen when you decide you are going to finally get out of debt. When those ugly thoughts and feelings come at you from every direction, listen to Stephen Covey and be proactive. If something is worth doing, it is going to be hard. Getting out debt, building wealth, and having financial peace is very hard…..and incredibly worth it. I promise.
Be good to yourself, your friends, your love, and BE GOOD TO YOUR MONEY!