"In the Black" is The New Black: Debt
Yes, make no mistake; you are a slave to the debt you create. Part of our exercise last week was to notice the feelings that came up for us when we were thinking about our budget and our bills. Our feelings are actually part of the Super Power that informs us when our reality and our dreams are out of alignment.
Do you have student loans? Credit card balances? Auto loans? Mortgages? Equity lines of credit?
The servicing of all of that debt keeps us from the dreams we visualized when we looked out from our castle balcony!
Not all debt is bad debt—in fact, few of us can pay for a home or an education outright. Mortgages and Student Loan debt are generally considered “good debt.”
The debt situation is dire:
- Average Household has $7283 of credit card debt, counting only households carrying debt that number goes up to $15,611.
- Average debt per US adult - $4878 (Transunion).
- Average debt per cc that usually carries a balance - $8220 (Experian).
- Average number of cards held by cardholders – 3.7 (FRB of Boston)
Let’s create a simple plan to stop relying on credit and live within our means --- we will pay down our debt AND save AT THE SAME TIME. (Oh yes we will.)
1. FACE IT:
Let’s get it all on the table—you’ve already done the work in Gathering your information and in Budgeting your expenses. Put together a list of each and every debt that looks like this:
GOOD RULE OF THUMB: If your total debt payments are no more than 35% of your gross annual salary, your debt load is manageable.
2. CHECK IT:
Check your credit score. Your credit score is not a measurement of your soul; it’s an algorithm that tracks your credit worthiness overtime. Go to www.annualcreditreport.com. Here you can get a copy of each of your 3 credit reports annually for FREE.
3. ADJUST IT:
Make new habits:
- Cut up, cancel or freeze any credit cards that are not ESSENTIAL to your monthly household.
- Pay down the debt with the HIGHEST interest rate FIRST (unless of course the interest is the same across all accounts) – increase the amount you pay each month now that you have an idea where all your spending is occurring. The higher interest rates will have a substantial impact on your finances – especially if the balances are high and it would take years to pay off with only the minimum.
- Use bonuses to pay down that debt faster.
- Automate your bill paying and automate your savings! Make sure you are putting a minimum amount toward a savings account EACH MONTH as if you were paying a credit card.
We’re halfway done! How are you feeling about your financial transformation so far? Tweet us your thoughts and progress (@GatherGrowGive) and get ready for the second half of your journey to financial stability.
Grab your journal to reflect on what you've discovered this week.
How did this week’s content & action make you feel?
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Dani Hughes & Valerie Sanchez
Co-Creators of Divine WealthWise Exchange