When I designed my coaching website, I needed to create a tag line. A type of a one line description of what the site was all about. I wanted it to summarize how I felt about the process of getting out of debt and why so many people start at it but quickly give up.
Science was my first love as a career. I spent my first ten years of work life in the biotechnology world. So the idea of a math equation flashed into my mind.
There are thousands of websites and probably millions of blog posts and articles about how to get out of debt. “Seven methods to lower your credit card debt”. “Five tips to reduce your holiday spending”. Tons and tons of information out there.
So why do less than half of Americans pay off our credit card balances every month? Why do 35% of us have accounts in collections?
I reflected on my two journeys through debt. The first ended in credit counseling and bankruptcy. The second ended with everything paid off, including our home mortgage. What was the difference?
I “knew” that we had debt both times. In my head.
The difference was acknowledging my debt in my heart; my gut. The first time I did not do this. My “plan” to get out of debt was that my business would finally begin earning real money. My heart said everything would work out. My heart knowledge never supported my head knowledge. And I failed.
“Know Debt” was accomplished but nothing else.
In the second plan I got mad (as did my wife). We plugged into this anger and other emotions. We got our hearts involved. We “KNEW” our debt. 17 months later we had paid off our credit card, auto loan, department store card and orthodontist. And then 30 months later we paid off our home mortgage.
“KNOW Debt” was added to “Know Debt”. They added up to “NO DEBT”.
My math equation tag line crystallized. It explained why we want to get out of debt and have the best intentions to get out of debt. But we rarely get there.
We generally acknowledge that we have debt in our heads. We know we have three credit cards with balances on them. We know we have an auto loan that pays off in 2018. We know we have five student loans. And we might know the total debt that we owe. We have the head knowledge.
So we read posts, articles and forum advice that make logical sense on how to pay off our debts. Eliminate every expense that we can. No cable TV, no going out to a movie, etc. Live a spartan lifestyle.
And work three jobs.
Our heads can do this for 2-3 weeks. Maybe a month or two. But if our hearts do not support this lifestyle and behavior, something is going to cause us to quit this plan. Once the fun of the adventure dies off, the idea of living on dog food and replacing electricity with candles becomes so unappealing that we give up.
Once our hearts are out of the equation, our plans to get out of debt are dead in the water. Because there are no easy, pixie dust plans to get out of debt. It takes focus. It takes work. It may take some sacrifice. But your plan needs to be realistic; a plan that you can live with. Logically it may take longer. But emotionally you will stick with it all the way to the end and get to NO DEBT.
Take what you know in your head and get it into your heart. Then you will get out of debt.
“Know Debt + KNOW Debt = NO DEBT”