By Tim Whisler, Whisler Agency
It is an overwhelming feeling when looking at invoices and wondering how those bills are going to be paid. Looking at a loan statement and seeing an enormous figure can make you feel like you’ll never be able to pay it off.
Debt is difficult to deal with. Debt causes stress physically, and mentally, and can strain relationships. But having debt does not have to be permanent; it can be conquered. The journey to get out of debt is not easy. But with proper guidance and a laser-focused discipline, you can break free from the chains of financial debt. I speak from personal experience long ago when first becoming self-employed.
To conquer debt effectively, we must comprehend its underlying causes and consequences. Often, it stems from a combination of factors, such as overspending, high-interest loans, and inadequate financial planning. Additionally, unexpected life events like medical emergencies or job loss can further compound the situation. Recognizing these triggers enables us to confront them head-on, laying the groundwork for a debt-free future.
Here are simple steps to start your journey to overcome debt:
- Face the Numbers.
This will not be a feel-good experience, but it is necessary. As Zig Ziglar said, “The first step in solving a problem is recognizing there is one.” You need to create a comprehensive list that inventories the debts, including the interest rates, minimum monthly payments, and total outstanding balances. This evaluation will serve as the foundation for your debt relief strategy.
- Create a Realistic Budget.
Yes indeed, the dreaded “B” word of finance; Budget. Developing a detailed budget is crucial to regain control of your finances. Track your income and expenses meticulously, then segment your expenses by wants and needs. It may feel like your survival depends upon visiting a Starbucks five times a week, but I can assure you that it doesn’t (no offense to Starbucks). Identify the unnecessary and costly expenses where those funds can be used towards paying down the debt.
- Set up an Emergency Fund.
With your budget in place, you now know the monthly dollar amount required for your needs which means it is time to establish and maintain an Emergency Fund. Let’s start by getting $1,000 into this fund. When you hit $1,000, then continue to contribute to it until it has at least 3 months of your monthly expenses. When life happens without your permission, you will now have an account that will provide you with the funds for those unexpected expenses without having to disrupt your budget or worse yet, add to the credit card balance.
- Seek Professional Guidance.
Consider enlisting the services of a financial advisor or credit counselor. Receiving support from a competent professional can be invaluable during your journey to debt freedom. Their training and expertise can help you navigate complex financial situations, provide tailored advice, and help you create your personalized plan. Seeking guidance and asking for help is not a sign of weakness.
I can certainly understand if you have any reluctance to believe that getting out of debt is possible. But as I stated earlier, I have personally experienced such a situation. I began building my practice in early 2001 while still working full-time in a corporate America position. Building my practice included training on how to market myself as an agent and advisor, but I had zero training on how to build and manage a small business. I did not have the proper capital that I should have had in building a business from the ground floor. Without realizing it, I ran up a huge amount of credit card debt from expenses while trying to get my business up and running. It put a huge strain on me personally and professionally. Even though it felt like an insurmountable mountain, I persevered. The plan was created and it was followed with discipline. Today, I can still remember that feeling when I saw that first $0 balance and how, at that moment, I knew becoming debt free would become a reality.
In my practice, I recently added a program called Debt Free 4 LifeTM. This program provides a debt-elimination model to help people pay down their overall debt including mortgages, auto loans, credit cards, and student loans. Even if you have a good handle on paying down your debt, this program shows how to pay off your debt sooner and stop losing your hard-earned money to interest. You have an opportunity to gain financial independence sooner than you believed possible. Not only does the program work, but it also does not come with a tuition bill to get started.
I have a complimentary copy of the 44-page book Debt Free 4 LifeTM ready to send to you. Give me a call today at (309) 291-0491 and get started on your path to living debt free.
To learn more about Tim and The Whisler Agency, go to www.thewhisleragency.com. Click on Podcast to be directed to the “Whisler While You Retire” podcast. Be sure to subscribe to be notified when new episodes are available. You can reach Tim at (309) 291-0491 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Investment advisory and financial planning services are offered through Simplicity Wealth, LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Sub-advisory services are provided by Simplicity Solutions, LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Insurance, Consulting, and Education services are offered through The Whisler Agency. The Whisler Agency is a separate and unaffiliated entity from Simplicity Wealth and Simplicity Solutions.