It is so much fun to dream. Especially when you’re awake! You start to envision yourself having certain things, or doing the things that make you smile. Our imaginations run wild with the possibilities of our own potential to achieve the thoughts that motivate us. It’s a lot like that song in The Greatest Showman, “A Million Dreams.”
However, the unfortunate reality that limit all of our dreams is money. Money is what supports our hobbies, pays for educations, homes, cars, and vacations. Money is used to trade for the food we eat and the clothes we wear. What happens when we run out of money or don’t have enough money?
Simply put – you can’t have what you want… and in some cases, what you need. If we aren’t careful with overspending, we’ll find that we’ve slowly killed our dreams without even realizing it.
High Interest Rates
The higher the interest rates, the harder it will be for you to keep up and make progress on paying off your debt. Paying minimums is not enough to get ahead and often results in feeling defeated. This feeling of defeat will leave any well-intentioned human being without motivation to keep going and giving it their all to get out of debt sooner, than later.
To tackle loans with high interest rates will require complete focus. Don’t attempt to pay off other loans (besides paying the minimum of course) and put all available money towards the one loan until it’s paid off.
Let’s shake off whatever fear that has kept us from putting both feet into tackling the high interest loans. The quicker you can bring the balance down on these loans, the faster they will tumble.
Several Loan Payments
Having multiple loans to pay on adds up. We haven’t even factored in what interest rates are doing in the long run. I had 3 different student loans that totaled up to $400 month. That number alone was more than my car payment and for a few years was double what I was paying for rent!!
Having a minimum payment of this size was killer to anything else I wanted to do. You think about what you could do with $400/month and how you had no choice but to put that money towards loans.
The best way to get out of this situation is to identify your most expensive loan and tackle it with all extra money you’ve got in your budget. It might take a while to pay off, but it will be the quickest way to free up some cash to put towards your other loans.
Bad Credit History
Your credit score will suffer greatly the more you max out your available credit and only pay the minimums. A suffering credit score is bad news when attempting to buy a home, a new car, or even acquire a new credit card. A low credit score rating often indicates you’re a high risk and lenders will give you higher interest rate to make sure they get the most money out of you before you default on the loan and quite possibly file bankruptcy. It’s awful.
When I was selling cars back in the early 2000’s, there was a single-mom who came in wanting a new car. Her credit history revealed a risk and was offered a loan payment with 18% interest! I was stunned as she accepted her terms and drove away in her new used car.
To build your credit score, you need keep all you credit accounts open and not open any others. You need to start paying extra on loans and if possible, before the end of the billing cycle. Don’t make any large purchases and avoid anything that will pull your credit if at all possible. With each loan you pay off, your credit score will increase. Most banks and credit report sites will tell you exactly what is hurting your score and things you can do to improve it.
Not Having Extra Money For Savings
Having extra money from your paycheck might seem like a little thing, especially when it comes to only having $20 extra here and there. But let me tell you what… every little bit adds up! Taking that $20 and tossing it into a savings account will add up and when you need an extra $20 or $100, you’ll be grateful you trusted your instinct to hang on to it.
How do you know if you have an extra $20 at the end of the month? You’ve got to create a budget and underspend for that month. You’ll already know how much extra you were planning on at the beginning of the month, and by underspending you’ll add to that number.
No Emergency Fund
When the unexpected happens… it becomes a really big deal. If there is no emergency money available, we default to credit cards and in essence perpetuating the problem of staying in debt. It also limits our ability to dream because we are so distracted by the unexpected expense or the ever increasing amount of debt. An emergency fund can be used to pay for car repairs, hospital visits, etc. Dave Ramsey suggests that you get at least $1,000 into your emergency fund and then start paying off your debt.
Making an emergency fund a priority is vital to your success of getting out of debt. Having a little stash of cash on hand for the unexpected will help keep from detracting you off your financial monthly routine. Once you’ve saved your $1,000, your next priority needs to be an emergency fund that has 6 months of bare minimum expenses saved.
This is a big one and probably one that often goes undetected in a lot of people. Having depression will immobilize your efforts, thoughts, and motivation of doing anything about going after your dreams. For example, you want to buy a house… a house for your family, a house you can call home. But, your debt to income ratio is tipped in the wrong direction and the bank just told you that you don’t qualify for a home loan. Your forced to stay in your current situation. A situation you don’t want for your family, but a situation everyone in your family has to live with.
How do you handle depression? Everyone is different and you might need the feedback of a loved one to help you decide the best path for you. Even if that includes seeking the guidance of a licensed professional who knows how to shine a light into the darkness. I’m talking about seeing a therapist who can walk you through your thoughts and emotions helping you gain skills needed to combat unwanted feelings. Ask me how I know, and then ask me how I discovered that seeing a therapist wasn’t a sign of weakness.
The thoughts and feelings of being comfortable or “okay” about your situation. It’s that voice inside your head that says, “Yeah, I wanted buy a house, but I can’t. Oh well. Mom and Dad love having me here anyway.”
It’s one thing to understand your limitations because of debt, and it’s another thing to not do anything about it because you can’t see a way around them.
You can avoid complacent behavior by believing there is always another way to achieve your goals. And, sometimes, you have to believe that you have the strength to push straight through that barrier. You do not have to be a ‘victim of circumstance.”