Debt can send out finances into a downward spiral fast. But besides being detrimental to our finances, there is also a strong emotional aspect to debt.
Often with overwhelming debt, people choose not to even deal with it. They let bills pile up and may not even realize how much they owe and try to ignore it. But denial is only going to make things worse with late and delinquent payments resulting in bad credit reports, higher interest rates, and late fees which lead to even more debt.
How to deal: Instead of hiding from it, deal with it head on. As difficult as it may be, the sooner you face the debt, the sooner you’ll be able to take steps to get rid of it. Write down every bill you have and the interest rate to make a plan on how you will start working towards getting out of debt. Call your debtors to see what type of payment plan you can work out with them.
Watching bills pile up and getting calls from people you owe can easily lead to stresss. Wondering how you’ll get out of debt and not seeing a clear solution is a stressful situation as well. Often people in debt will stress about mistakes in the past and stress about what the future brings instead of concentrating on what they can be doing this moment.
How to deal: The first step is to start working towards getting out of debt. Make a plan to cut spending to put more money towards debt and to make extra income. Having a plan will reduce the stress. Try the National Foundation for Credit Counseling’s budget calculator to create a plan that’s best for you. Also, don’t let the debt consume you. Take time for free or cheap stress reducing activities like exercising, getting together with family and friends and reading and writing.
It’s not a surprise if you’re embarrassed by the debt you have. You may feel ashamed and regretful of the mistakes you might have had or feel that you are alone with having debt. Unfortunately, having debt is common. According to Creditcards.com, the average American household has $15,950 of credit card debt.
How to deal: Understand that you are not alone in dealing with debt. Everyone makes mistakes or has events happen outside of their control that may lead to debt. Instead of being embarrassed, be proud that you are doing everything you can to get out of the debt.
Sometimes it’s easy to be angry at and blame a spouse or family member for digging you into debt. You may be angry that your spouse lost a job or took a pay cut and as a result, caused you to accrue debt. It’s estimated that one of the main reasons why couples fight or get divorced is because of arguing about money.
How to deal: With patience and communication, this is a time you can pull together with your spouse instead of breaking apart. It’s okay to calmly talk about your anger and disappointments together, but do so in a way that is productive instead of hurtful. Work together to come up with a plan for how you will rectify the debt.
More on Debt
It’s scary to not know how you will get out of overwhelming debt. You might also fear creditors calling or losing your home or car. When you’re trying to figure out your next step, it’s scary if you’re not sure what to do.
How to deal: Visit the U.S. governments website on dealing with debt to ease your fears and learn what to do. Once you’ve accepted any mistakes and start making steps towards getting out of debt, you’ll be able to lose some of these fears. Don’t fear the people you owe, instead talk with them about your options for repayment.
Keep in mind that getting out of debt will take plenty of patience, planning, communication amongst both family members and people you owe, and a lot of hard work.
What are other negative emotions from debt? How do you deal with these emotions?