By her mid 20s author Kate Northrup found herself saddled with $20,000 in credit card debt. She was, to use her own word, miserable. Today she’s sharing the lessons that turned her financial life around in a new book, “Money: A Love Story.” In it you won’t find a whole lot of technical advice. It’s more a heart-to-heart.
“Money is an emotional topic because as humans we made up money as a stand-in for what we value,” says Northrup.
Here are three emotional setbacks she believes keep many Americans in debt.
The first step toward debt recovery is often the greatest emotional hurdle: facing your financial reality. Avoidance runs rampant and, for many, fear and confusion can get in the way of addressing bills, paying taxes or setting a budget. “When it comes to financial avoidance, one of the best ways through that is to sit down and look at all of your numbers and get super clear on who you owe, what you make and what you spent,” she says.
Also see: Tips from American’s Smartest Shopper
Recruit an experienced friend to guide you and offer encouragement. There are likely plenty of people you know who can relate. If you don’t feel comfortable asking anyone, consider contacting Debtors Anonymous, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling or ReadyForZero.com.
Also see: Frugal Habits of Millionaire Next Door
If you’re in debt, stop beating yourself up over it. It can be a serious drain on your energy, leaving you too weak to take control of what matters. It’s important to stop viewing your debt from a place of regret and instead go through and itemize all of the things of value you’ve received from that debt, such as a college education or a vacation, says Northrup.
While we know it’s financially fit to pay off debt carrying the highest interest rate first, for those of us who may need a little emotional boost, Manvsdebt.com suggests beginning by first paying off the debt that’s stressing you out the most. “Getting rid of that emotional drain will then give you the energy to move forward and pay it off even faster.”
Also see: How I Retired at 30
Could these strategies help you get out of debt? Connect with me on Twitter @Farnoosh and use the hashtag #FinFit.