Two prevailing questions I am often asked are “How do I get out of debt?” and “How can I save money?” For those of you that follow “Kids Pocket Change” and Crown Money Books, you know our focus is on implementing savvy financial habits at a young age. Great! Prevention has proven to be the most effective in all areas of our lives.
Now, for those of us that did not have a “Crown Money” growing up, what can be done? Before getting into the technical, some consideration needs to be given to the following:
1. How was the debt created? Did your purchases provide you with comfort and reward at the time? Did your debt get you through school? (To say you were foolish and young is not the correct answer. Even in your naivete, you had a reason for your purchases). Find out your “how?” and “why?”
2. What is the goal to obtain by getting out of debt? Focusing on the benefits will make your commitment strong. (The motivator must be more than to clear debt). How will you use this money once it no longer needs to go toward your debt? What does spending money now mean to you?
Self-evaluation can be uncomfortable. However, awareness holds the key to your advancement! Debt is not inherently bad. The problem is our relationship to debt.
Secondly, the technical:
Set a consistent goal. How much money will you commit to pay towards your debt, on a weekly/monthly basis?
Open an account (401K, Mutual Fund, Direct Stock Purchase) that will increase in its value, while you consistently bring your debt down.
Reward yourself for being consistent. What can you treat yourself to that makes you feel good and does not create additional debt?
Focus on the fact that you ARE taking action — that you are honoring your responsibility — and that you are building your wealth — and leave behind a sense of “ball and chain.”
Remember, the financial habits you express will be expressed by the youngsters in your life!
Special thanks to Alexis Velasquez for his influence on today’s topic.