I'm sick of my debt, but I don't know how to get started!
If you’ve finally reached the place where you’re sick of your debt, but don’t know where to start, it’s okay don’t panic. You’ve come to the right place.
Now, take a pause, take a deep breath and keep reading.
Once you've settled down a bit, the next and hardest thing is to do an inventory of everything you owe.
I know that just the thought of cracking open that nightmarish "debt vault" can feel completely overwhelming, right?
How do I know?
Because I did it myself a little over a decade ago and the first assessment of the damage (i.e. adding up what I owed) just about gave me a heart attack.
In fact, the thought of actually tallying the damage is the thing that keeps many people "kicking the can” down the road for years.
Let's take care of that right now by just getting started imperfectly.
Recovery always starts with "coming clean". Let's make that list of all the debt.
I know it’s overwhelming, believe me I completely understand. Remember, I've been there.
Here’s what I want you to do (and, by the way, this will help you with that feeling of overwhelm by breaking this process down into tiny bite-sized pieces).
Get out a timer or your smartphone (which should have a timer).
Take out a clean sheet of paper and number it from 1-30 (maybe more, maybe less depending on the number of debt accounts you have).
Set the timer fo 10 minutes.
Write down as many of your debts as you can in that 10 minutes. Presto! You may have gotten them all, maybe not. The point is, you started!
Now breathe and try to recover from your panic attack and repeat the same process tomorrow and the next day until you have all your debts listed out.
By the way, The Forgotten Budgeting Step (aka "Budget Insurance") Downloadable PDF is a great resource to help you deal with this very first step.
Download this, print it out and use it as your daily guide. It will help you get to zero debt.
The next thing I want for you to do is to go ahead and download our free “8 Steps To Erase Debt” guide. This is the plan I followed to get rid of my debt in just 2.5 years.
If you're in that place where you're sick to death and/or freaked out about your debt, now is the time to capitalize on that energy you're feeling. Now is the time.
Don't hesitate. Just get started. It won't be perfect and you may have some stalls and restarts. It's okay. It's normal. Just get started!
And heck, if you did the exercise above, you've already made a HUGE leap, so just keep the momentum going.
Here's the 8 Step plan briefly.
This is the blog post that walks you through the "8 Steps" in very granular detail. It's meant to be a reference, so you'll want to go ahead and bookmark it in your browser.
0. Stop All Retirement Investing (Until Step 4)
1. Build A Budget
2. Starter Emergency Fund of $1000
3. Eliminate Debts Smallest To Largest (a.k.a The Debt Snowball)
4. Full Emergency Fund of 3-6+ Months’ Expenses
5. Invest A Minimum of 15% Income Into Retirement Accounts (and increase savings rate to 50%+ if possible)
6. College Funding (if applicable)
7. Pay Off The Home Mortgage
8. Build Wealth, Serve and Be Ridiculously Generous
The good news is, if you’re willing to face your fears and your debt, there is a treasure trove of information on how to eliminate it.
Just as importantly, there’s an entire community that is passionate about helping you get out of debt and stay out of it for good.
The only thing you’ll need is a little courage, some great information and a healthy measure of perseverance.
And by the way if you’re there, congratulations on being sick and tired of being sick and tired AND wanting to do something about it. That in and of itself is HUGE first step!
That disdain you feel for your debt in this moment will be the fuel reserve (coupled with the future hope of financial peace, of course) that we’ll use to keep you motivated throughout the process.
It may not be easy, but it will be worth it, I promise. Let us be a part of your journey.
There is hope and a way out. I've walked in your shoes, so let me relate how it went for me and see if this resonates with you.
My story in brief:
I was $43,000 in debt and falling further behind every month. I had just left my corporate sales job to pursue my lifelong dream of being a full-time musician.
The "being a musician" part was fine, it was the financial part I was ill-prepared for.
I had a condo and a car lease that would prove to make my new direction particularly difficult from a financial perspective. After about 3 years of scraping together a living, I found myself at the previously mentioned $43k in debt with little to no hope of making any significant financial gains in my chosen profession.
It all starts with starting. Don't delay, start now!
I was getting more and more freaked out every month as I continued to fall further and further behind.
It was about this time that I got turned on to Dave Ramsey's material and it just clicked.
That material intersected with me at a moment in time when I was so frustrated with my situation and so desperate to do something about it, that I jumped into the plan with both feet!
I consumed every ounce of his material that I could and just went bonkers.
So bonkers in fact that I decided to re-enter the corporate sales arena and just keep my music career as a side hustle.
Long story long, I was able to pay down all $43k of that debt in 2.5 years and have my 3-6 months of emergency savings done within 3 years. It wasn't rocket surgery, it was just finding the plan, sticking to it like super glue and grinding it out.
If I can do it, anyone can do it. You just have to want to!
Just know that it will probably take time. As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day, so go ahead and settle in for the fight of your life.
Now, cut up your credit cards (and close the accounts) and make the commitment that you’ll never borrow money again for any reason whatsoever.
Don't forget to download your free guide: “8 Steps To Erase Debt and hold on tight.
You can do this. I can help.
0. Stop All Retirement Investing (Until Step 4)2. Starter Emergency Fund of $10003. Eliminate Debts Smallest To Largest (a.k.a The Debt Snowball)4. Full Emergency Fund of 3-6+ Months’ Expenses5. Invest A Minimum of 15% Income Into Retirement Accounts (and increase savings rate to 50%+ if possible)6. College Funding (if applicable)7. Pay Off The Home Mortgage8. Build Wealth, Serve, Be Ridiculously Generous And Go FI (Financial Independence)!