You’ve probably heard Suzie Orman or Dave Ramsey talk to folks who were debt free. At some point you probably felt a pang of jealousy as your heard screams of joy they no longer owed on anything except their house — sometimes not even that. And, after things calmed down, you looked at your own balance sheet and felt a twinge of anger at the insurmountable odds at paying off your own bills.
First, anger is good. It means you’ve reached the point in your life where you no longer wish to have the weight of debt pushing you and your family down. Second, paying it off may not be as insurmountable as you think. Go back to the calls you heard with Orman or Ramsey — how much did they owe? More than you? It’s a good possibility, and they knocked out their debt as fast as they could to enjoy their life a bit more.
How did they do it? Well, complicated equations and flow charts didn’t get them to a point where creditors no longer called them. There were a number of other things they did in order to knock out their debt and prepare for a wealthier future. Here are some of those items.
They had focus.
The main reason people get in debt is their lack of direction and focus. They see something, they buy it, even if it requires getting a credit card or loan to do so. And when their credit gets so bad they can’t get a card or a loan, they borrow from somewhere else to make it happen. This is not the way folks who want to get out of debt fast do it. They have pinpoint focus toward their goal, and they don’t waver from it for a moment, regardless of what tries to tempt them.
They have a plan.
Ramsey calls it the Snowball. Orman names it something else. In the end, their two plans are very similar. Build a small emergency fund, pay off the smallest debt, and work your way up the chain, using the funds you’d once put toward the paid off debts for other bills. Some folks start with the biggest debt first, but think how long it would take you to pay that one off while still making payments to the smaller ones. This is the plan debt-free people follow to clear out all of their existing bills.
They can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Sometimes it’s hard to see that light when your mentality screams that the debt is insurmountable. The thing you need to do is adjust the mentality so even a pinpoint of illumination can be seen. Once it’s visible, you can begin to focus and form a plan to get debt-free and make your own call to Suzie or Dave.