The Universal Secret to Dealing With Debt
Posted April 3, 2013
"The Secret of Change is to Focus All of Your Energy, Not on Fighting the Old, But on Building the New." - Socrates
For years I've asked people in debt this simple question, "Do you have a greater responsibility to fix the past or fix your future?" It appears Socrates beat me to the punch and asked the same question of people millennia ago.
It seems this question of logical responsibility is one we've been asking since nearly forever, yet people in debt still get it wrong every single day.
The focus on repairing the past mistakes only leaves us not looking where we are going and leaving the future susceptible to the same mistakes of the past.
If we want to change the outcome we must change the equation.
Focusing on the past is like worrying that your house had paint problems after a tornado blew it down. It is misdirected energy.
And because the focus is wrong, the outcome is going to be wrong.
A blind focus on repairing the past financial mistakes only leaves us exposed to a future financial catastrophe. If we don't consider the cost of our actions to repair the past, we break our financial future.
Want to see a real example, read What Repaying Your Debt Will Cost You in Retirement.
The process of making a decision that feels not assumed when getting out of debt is just "change." Change is hard and tough.
We change the path we are on or presume or assume to be on. We alter how we are naturally predisposed to address our debt and the only way we do that is through change. We have to intentionally change our path. Changing our assumptions takes guts.
The attraction of comfort will drag us back to our assumed solution but change can be good and in my life good things come from change.
Change Your Mindset
This is not to say that you might not decide to fix past financial mistakes but that you should do it with awareness and your eyes wide open to what that really means for you.
You might decide that fixing your past mistakes has a greater life value than not. And that's fine if that is what you decide.
You might just decide that spending the next five years barely making it from month to month in order to repay your past financial mistakes has a greater value that not doing that. If filing bankruptcy to move forward creates the opportunity for millions of dollars more in retirement income, then for you it is worth that sacrifice to repair the past.
If you make that decision, your willing cost to limp by for the next five years without a financial safety net is worth millions of dollars And you are willing to pay that price with your future.
If that is what you decide to do consciously and with awareness of what the cost is, then I'll stand beside you and cheer you on.
But if you make a decision on how to deal with your debt out of blind assumption and emotion without any consideration of what is best for you and the implications, well then, I'm just going to have to give you a swift kick, aren't I?
Be smart, embrace change, make good choices, seek wise counsel, contemplate your decisions, and be good.
WRAL Get Out of Debt Guy
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