I HAVE DEBT... and I'm okay with it
I have worked with many clients who are TERRIFIED of debt. In several cases, they are one of two people. They have debt and stress about paying it off, or they don’t have debt and stress about staying out of debt. Both situations are harmful to your mental and physical health. Both people are stressed about something they feel they cannot control. Debt does not have to be terrifying, and it is up to you to restructure your mind to believe.
At its core, debt is something you are paying back for a good or service you have used or are currently using. In many cases, this debt accumulated because you needed something and at that very moment you did not have the money to cover what you needed. There are some cases where a person accrues debt because they want something and don’t have the money for it, but at the end of the day debt is a resource you used to pay on something you cannot afford at the time. The language around debt has caused many people to be terrified of it because it feels like someone else has control over your life. It feels like this weight is hanging over your head and, until you pay it off, it will continue to push you down. Debt can be frustrating, and in some cases hindering, BUT it does not have to have control over your emotions or actions. This week I would like for you to try the below exercise to help you put your debt in perspective. My hope is for you to look at your life from a bird’s eye view, put your decisions in perspective, and take back the control of your life.
This exercise may take some time to impact your thought process, but if you work at it you will see a change.
1. Write down all of the debt you have (be sure to separate your accounts, i.e. credit card, personal loans, student loans, car loans, etc).
2. Next to each of your accounts/amounts, write down how that debt was accumulated. (i.e., to buy a house, to get a car, to pay for food, to buy clothing, to go to school, daycare, etc).
3. Once you have your reasoning behind why or how that debt accumulated, write out the importance of that reasoning to you.
This may take some time. What I mean by this is reflect on the importance of the activity. What made you buy the house? What made you purchase those clothes? What made you go to school? If you went to school are you using that education?
4. Go back and read your reasoning behind your debt and the importance. Then, reflect on if you feel it was worth the purchase.
Keep in mind, even if you feel it was not worth the purchase today, at the moment you made the purchase, you thought it was worth it. This can be an opportunity for you to rethink some of your spending habits and work on changes in the future.
5. Now, make a list of all of your monthly payments for your debt.
6. Read through your list, and after every monthly payment say out loud, “This is just a bill.”
I know this may seem or feel silly, but there is a purpose behind this.
7. Now, list all of your other monthly expenses in a column next to your debt payment(s).
8. Read through your other monthly expenses, and after each expense say out loud “This is just a bill.”
9. Now read through your debt payment(s) and your monthly expenses, and after every item, say out loud “this is just a bill” (do this three times).
10. After reading through everything ask yourself “What is the difference between a bill and a bill?” Write your answer.
Do not over complicate this part. Keep it as basic as possible. What is the difference between a bill and a bill?
The purpose of this exercise is to help you realize your debt is the same as anything else. You pay rent, utilities, food, entertainment, debt, etc. The moment you see your debt the same as everything else will be the moment it won’t seem scary. Yes, it will take time to pay it off, and yes sometimes it can get in the way, BUT see it for what it is (a bill), pay it, and live your life. Life is too short to stress about things that have already happened. You can’t live in the past and present at the same time, so choose which reality you want to enjoy. Remember consistency is key, and change takes time. Stay smart, stay healthy, and stay financially well.
If you would like help with this exercise, have questions, or just want to say hi, please don’t hesitate to contact us at email@example.com.