Ask Yourself These 3 Honest Questions About Money
One of the hardest things about coming to terms with money issues is actually being honest with yourself about how you got there in the first place. For example, I have way too many student loans because I took out more than I needed and didn’t watch how I spent them. I know that now, but admitting that to myself and the world at large in blog-form took some time and forced me to ask myself honest questions about money.
Even now, I write post after post about my money weaknesses and money mistakes. I’m human, and I can’t pretend like my debt isn’t there. I write about it in large part to show others they’re not alone.
So, in an effort to help anyone and everyone who is struggling with money issues, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. It’s time to ask yourself a few honest questions about money. Here they are:
1. How Much Debt Do I Have?
I think the first step with anyone who wants to get out of debt is to bust out the calculator and do the excruciating task of adding it up. I still can’t believe that I waited until I graduated from college and was in the middle graduate school before I added up how much student loan debt I had. I just kept taking out money semester after semester without knowing the running total.
So, if you don’t know how much debt you have, it’s time to find out. Until you know that number, you can’t make a plan, and you can’t have a concrete goal. You can use this same principle towards retirement savings as well if you are out of debt. Until you know that number, you can’t set the wheels in motion to reach your retirement goals.
2. How Did I Get In All This Debt?
This is one of the hardest, albeit honest questions about money we just have to ask ourselves. We’re human, and because we’re human, we always have a good excuse or two hiding up our sleeves. Some people might be in debt due to circumstances like divorce or health issues. Much of that is unavoidable, and because it’s unavoidable, it’s harder to come to terms with.
Other types of debt, like basic consumer debt and debt accrued from an inflated lifestyle, can have a slightly different feel to them. Knowing how you got into the position you are in is really important because it can help show you how to avoid it in the future.
Unfortunately, regardless of how you got there, debt is debt. If it’s in your name, it’s your responsibility, even if you have a good excuse for having it. Trust me, I know!
3. How Will I Stay Motivated To Get Out Of Debt?
We know the basics of how to get out of debt: spend less than you earn, create an emergency fund, do an avalanche or snowball method, etc. The mechanics are not hard to understand, but what is challenging is finding the motivation to get started and once you’ve done so, to stick with it.
In order to find what will work, think about what motivates you in general. Does fear motivate you? Does praise motivate you? Think about the times when you got a lot accomplished and ask yourself what made you get there. Once you know the type of motivation that works for you, you can then reach out and ask others for help along the way.