The “Get Out of Debt” Game: Are you Winning?

travelTHE “GET OUT OF DEBT” GAME

Every financial transaction, every purchase and sale, every time money comes out of one pocket and goes into another, there is a winner and a loser. When there is a trade of goods and services, or a loan of money, one person will win and another will lose. No one takes on debt without the expectation to get out of debt. We take on debt to get the things we want and need. But, what do we give up in exchange? What is required of us to pay the debt? Is it just money? Only if you’re lucky. For many, debts are paid with time stolen from their families, lost sleep, dashed hopes, sacrificed pleasures, and deferred dreams. Are you in debt? How will you get of debt? Are you winning the game?

WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO YOU?

What is the most important thing in your life? Is it your credit score? I didn’t think so. I have spoken with many people who continued to pay hundreds, even thousands, of dollars a month in “minimum payments” to credit card companies, even though they could no longer use the card, the balance wasn’t dropping, and they couldn’t pay their household bills. Others entered into settlements with creditors they couldn’t afford to honor, just to “do the right thing,” and pay their debt. Still others file bankruptcy on relatively small debt loads because they lack knowledge of a better alternative. Are they winning? Is life improving for these people?

REALLY? ARE YOU SURE?

“But, I can’t stop paying the ‘minimum payments.’ My credit score will drop.” Sorry, but your credit is already shot if you’ve hit your limit. “I have a moral obligation to pay my debts. I’m not a deadbeat.” Is that what you tell your kids when the grocery money is paying interest charges to the Bank of Whatever? “There’s nothing else I can do but file bankruptcy. No one can help.” Did you even try? I understand. I really do. Your reputation is important. Paying your debt is admirable. Knowing “when to say when” is the mark of a reasonable person.  But, that’s not the issue. Did your life improve? Do you sleep better now? Can you pursue your dreams and spend more time with your family as a result of your choices? Are you winning?

TAKE THE LEAP

If you are over the credit limit and cannot pay any more than the minimum payment, STOP! Guess what happens? Instead of you calling the creditor to ask for reduced interest and deferments on payments, they will start coming to you asking you to please pay them. What many refer to as “debt collection,” I refer to as a shift in the balance of power.  Instead of paying hundreds of dollars per month to service interest on a $10,000.oo credit card debt, ignore them for now,  use  part of the money for your bills, and put some away each month to be used for settlement later. Instead of filing bankruptcy to stop collection calls, write a letter telling them to stop calling. If they continue, you can sue them.  This is just some of the power you have against debt collection.  Get out of debt. Improve your life. Start winning.

EVEN BANKS HAVE TO LOSE SOMETIMES

No one goes into debt with the belief that they cannot get out of debt. The promise of paying money is what got you into debt; but, it is not necessarily what will get you out of debt. Do you want to start winning? What will your life look like in a year…in five years? Will you see more of your family and friends, pay cash for a vacation, sleep better, and go the mailbox without a feeling of dread? Sounds great, doesn’t it? Let us know if you need some help.

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