But like all diseases, debt too has many different causes; the symptoms however seem to look very similar in the end – financial disaster.
Ok, so the debt is never really unseen, but for many people, the cause of their debt can go unnoticed for weeks, months, and even years. What I’m talking about is the small, steady, and usually unnecessary spending that goes on right under everyone’s nose.
It’s the small and ‘unseen’ spending that can get people into a lot of trouble. Have you ever actually added up a whole month’s worth of fast-food lunches or dinners? At $7 or $8 a pop, it doesn’t really hurt to pay for your meals at the drive-thru. But when you add it all up, you could be spending $300 to $500 each month. And that’s just fast food, we’re not even talking about sit-down restaurants yet.
If food isn’t your thing, maybe it’s gadgets, cell phone re-ups, toys for the kids, or maybe even home decoration. Are you buying future garage sale items and destroying your bank account all at once?
I’ve known people in my life who acknowledge that they have a problem, yet make zero effort to bring about any sort of change in their life – both will true illness and with debt. It’s like watching an episode of Hoarders and it can be very frustrating for friends and family members.
Careless spending is dangerous, but the perpetrators act like there’s nothing wrong with what they’re doing. This type of spending free-for-all happens when the person refuses to see or admit that their wallets don’t match their tastes or wants.
What I’ve learned is that there is usually no amount of reasoning that can convince a careless spender to change their ways. You might be able to curb their habits for a week or two, but for long term success, they must have their own ‘awakening’ moment; that time in their life where they realize for themselves that their own actions are causing their destruction.
For the lucky few, this realization comes before too much damage has been done.
The Debt Gene
Then for others, debt seems to be passed down from generation to generation within the family like heart disease or high blood pressure. Have you ever known someone who’s parents and grandparents all seem to have the same financial woes? Are you the third generation who’s been cut down by bad fiscal decisions?
Many people in this situation tend to throw up their hands in surrender and accept more and more debt, more and more financial disaster. Whatever you do, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that there’s no escape. People who experience generational debt accumulation tend to believe that there’s no way they can make a good decision, but that’s just not true.
Whatever type of debt-disease you’re suffering with, don’t ignore it and hope it goes away. Like any person who hears their doctor tell them about a life-changing illness, you need to face it head-on and find the right treatment.
For some, debt ‘medicine’ will come in the form of gaining control over their spending. Many people will implement tactics and advice found in books, on the radio, at a conference, or at blogs such as this. For others, treatment may include counseling with a financial expert. Even others may require a support system to keep them accountable and to help them make wise financial decisions.
Don’t be afraid to start down the road to recovery with small steps. When you’re thousands of dollars in debt, finding ways to save $40 a month doesn’t seem like it will make a difference. But what you may not realize is that, not only are you lowering your debt, but you’re also changing the way you think about your personal finances.
When that change comes, when you have your awakening moment, you will continue to move forward with sound financial strategy. Implement that strategy long enough and you WILL cure your debt disease.
Photo By blakespot