Just as wealth can create more money, debt can create more debt. Think about some of these scenarios:
A. You’re so in debt that you can’t afford to join the gym. You also tend to eat inexpensive (i.e. crappy) food. Eventually you have health problems that….add to your debt because you have, say it with me (crappy) health insurance. Why? Because that’s all you could afford…because you’re in debt.
B. You have to pass on good investment opportunities. You even have to pass on your own business and keep working for an employer who may or may not lay you off at any time. Eventually they do, leaving you in….more debt.
C. You’re so in debt that you avoid preventative work on your car and house (maybe even dental). Leading to bigger problems later on….and of course….more debt.
D. You become so stressed out by your debt that it leads to health problems…..and more debt.
E. You and your spouse argue so much over money that it destroys your marriage and leads you into an expensive divorce neither of you can afford. Again, debt leading to more debt.
How Do You Get Out of the Endless Debt Cycle?
Listen, if you think you have debt problems, then take at least a little comfort in knowing that I’m probably way worse off than you. (And my debt isn’t dischargeable because it’s student loan debt). My debt is so vile and evil that it makes a Disney Villain look like someone you’d want to invite over for breakfast. If my debt was a dog it would be the kind of dog that isn’t friendly yet, requires thousands of dollars in vet bills. So, look, this site’s about me trying to get out of debt or dying trying. I can’t say how to get out of debt forever. That said, there are ways to break the debt cycle, even if you are in debt.
Emergency Fund: The Best Debt Insurance
The great thing about a strong emergency fund is that it can keep you from going further into debt. When crap happens nothing feels better than tapping into that emergency fund. Ok….that’s a total lie, it still feels horrible. But it certainly feels better than seeing your liabilities rise ever higher.
Letting Go of Debt Anxiety
I’m really the wrong person to address this. I worry about debt from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to sleep. Sometimes I even have debt nightmares. Their usually not as bad my reality. That said, when you have a ton of debt it’s hard to pay a doctor to fix that debt-induced ulcer. The best mindset is to be vigilant but positive. I’ll let you know if I ever get there.
Anyway, this post isn’t really meant as a “how to.” I just wanted to point out how much it sucks that when you’re in debt, it just makes it harder to get out of debt.
Chris Thomas, owner of the online freelance writing and web-copy company, FreelancePF. Chris’s interest in personal finance stems from leaving grad school with six figures in student loan debt.