Debt is scary. There’s no question about that. Student loans, credit cards, car bills. Forget trying to buy a house! A 2014 Wells Fargo Survey stated that debt is the number one concern of millennials with nearly 53% of respondents saying that they think about their financial future almost daily. And those aren’t good thoughts either.
Are you so worried about your finances that they keep you up at night? I know I was for a long time. Before I got my financial act together, I was getting little sleep, lots of acne, and making no progress. Here’s what I did to get the ball rolling in the right direction.
1. Mentally prepare. I don’t think for a second that it’s going to be easy to get started. If it was you wouldn’t be reading this right now. You need to know going into this that it’s going to be scary. That you might feel uncomfortable facing your fears of money, but the sooner you tackle it the sooner you can fix it. Sitting on your butt watching GoT isn’t going to fix your problems. You need to make a promise to yourself right now that you’re going to get out of debt! Say it out loud. Seriously, say the words “I will get out of debt!”
1½. Did you say it? Don’t go on to #2 until you say it.
2. Get all the info you can. Find out how much you owe, who you owe it too, and check up on your credit reports. If you really have no idea where to start. Contact me at info@ArbogastAdvisers.com and I’ll give you some free tips. You’ll need to have all the information you can at your disposal before you start tackling this debt issue. Go on your bank website, check your email for student loan information, call your credit card company, and make a list of everything you owe. You’ll feel bad when you do it, but you just need to get over that right now. This is how you’re going to solve your problems.
3. Get to Work. Literally. You need to be working in order to pay down that debt. If you don’t have a job, go get one. Get a part-time job at JC Penny, deliver pizzas, or mow some lawns. Anything you can do to make a few extra bucks. You need to get at this with “Gazelle Intensity” (Borrowing that from Dave Ramsey) Don’t fall into the trap of “I can’t get a job if no one is hiring!” If no one hires you, then go knock on doors and ask to mow lawns. One of my best friends was able to completely support himself in college just by mowing lawns a few days a week. There are people who live middle class lives solely on the income of mowing lawns. Don’t believe me? Check out this guy.
4. Create a plan of attack. If you just randomly throw money at bills, you’re going to go nowhere. Adding extra to all of your bills isn’t going to make a noticeable difference, because you’ll only be adding a little amount to each. Pay the minimum payment on everything except for one bill. Pay a huge amount on that one! As much as you can afford. Get it down fast. Then you’ll notice a difference! That’s how you’ll make progress here. Don’t worry about which interest rate is highest or any of that. We’re focusing on getting rid of debt ASAP!
5. Lather Rinse Repeat. Do that same thing over and over again until you get rid of that debt. It won’t take as long as you think. From the people I’ve worked with and those I’ve talked to, most are able to do it in under 2 years. Completely debt free. Often it takes less than 1 year. If you want a free tool to help you estimate how long it will take, contact me at the email above and I’ll send you some info.
Now I’m not naive. These are obviously easier to say than do. Trust me, I’ve done them and now I’m saying them. The doing part was harder. I know it’s a tough road ahead, and I know that it’s scary for someone just starting out in the “big kid” world. but if you follow this guidance you’ll get there in no time. And remember that I’m here to give you a hand as well. Just put your nose to the grindstone and you’ll make it out in great shape.