Debt is like that annoying tickle you get in the back of your throat right before you get sick.
The one you try your hardest to ignore, cause there’s no way you’re getting sick right now, nope, just not possible. You have way too much life going on and ain’t nobody got time for that!
You drink tea, eat lozenges by the pound, take fancy herbs, and as a last resort just flat out ignore it. Ignore until your body gives up and you land on your arse in bed for the next week.
GIRL, that tingling in the back of your mind, the butterflies in the pit of your stomach, or the feeling that the other shoe is about to drop…
Yea…that’s your debt.
And just like a nasty disease, debt will leave you weak and vulnerable. And if you don’t handle it, you’ll end up standing at the edge of financial ruin.
Imagine standing at the edge of a cliff, I mean at the edge EDGE, like feel the wind through your toes cause they’re dangling off the edge EDGE. Thinking about it just makes my stomach tighten up in fear.
Well that’s you, when you are up to your nose hairs in debt, just standing there at the edge of a cliff with your freaking eyes screwed shut swaying in the wind and praying for a miracle.
And I get it, I’ve been right out there on that cliff too! Trying (and failing) to convince myself that everything was good, I got this! Situation totally under control…yea, sure.
That was, until a nice strong gust of wind came along and rocked my world! Then #boom, just like that I was flying in the wind left to the mercy of luck and good juju, hoping against hope that there was a fluffy mattress down at the cliff bottom. #iplayedmyself.
Because just like that gust of wind, something as unpredictable as an unexpected hospital stay, a job loss, or a crappy economy, divorce, death, unplanned baby, stock crashes, or just LIFE can come and wipe you out.
Been there, done that…got plenty of selfies to prove it! I was YOU!
You gotta stay woke, cause debt will creep up on you. It starts with a little store card here, another 0% interest card there, a credit limit increase or two, then we think “of course its reasonable to have car loans”, or “of course you have to have a mortgage to buy a house” (at least that’s what the banks would have you believe) ….and “you don’t need student loans to go to college” said NO One, like EVER.
The only thing we care about is can we afford the payments! So we pile it on like thanksgiving 2nds…or 3rds, never giving a thought to exactly what we are signing up for.
Not only has our current culture convinced us that it’s ok to be massive consumers, but they actively and aggressively encourage it.
It tells us that its ok if you can’t afford it now, just borrow at the low monthly payment of $29.99, we’ll give you 0% interest for 12 months, its like free money!
Banks telling you that financing errrythang even the designer dog is normal, “everyone does it”, “of course you can afford a $500,000 mortgage, see our nifty formula says so” (like there’s no conflict of interest there *eye roll*.
“Oh no you’re not living beyond your means its just smart money decisions to leave your money in the bank and just borrow ours!”
And I love this one, the financial system that helped you get there will graciously offer all kinds of money to you should you hit hard times, cash call or payday loans anyone?
And the thing is, once you’re in bondage to your debt, you become a slave to it. You are bound to it…
Wanna quit your job…your mortgage called and said NOPE!
Wanna take a 3 month sabbatical from work, your credit cards declined your request!
Just had a baby and want to spend more time before heading back to work…well your car payment said DECLINED!
Google’s definition of a slave is “a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them.”
Try not paying your mortgage and see what happens, or skip a few credit card payments and let me know how that works out for you. It doesn’t, it never works out well for the slave.
Don’t believe me? Try it and you’ll learn about the legal system real quick, your debts legally own you until you’ve paid them all off. #dontbeaslave
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you, my friend, are free and clear of any responsibility, it takes two to tango. But I am saying that the credit system of today is not set up to do you any favors, it is set up to trap you and keep you in bondage if you aren’t paying attention. #staywoke.
How do you know if debt has become YOUR master? How do you know if you’re headed towards that proverbial cliff?
Here are the top indicators that you are headed for a money meltdown and living on borrowed time. When it comes time to pay the Piper, you may find yourself in a real money nightmare.
1) No savings – One of the biggest red flags is if you have little to no savings. If you open your bank statement month after month and are always staring at a fat goose egg (even though you make plenty of money). Or have any combination of only THREE numbers, cause $200 – 300 ain’t gonna cut it in an emergency. Girlfriend…there may be a problem.
2) Maxed out credit cards – Are your credit cards constantly tappin’ out and screaming “UNCLE!”? If you find yourself barely keeping them under the credit limit month after month and/or the minimum payments are in the hundreds of dollars, it’s a red flag.
3) Continuing to use credit cards – Let’s say you try to get your bizness togetha’, so you start trying to pay down the cards, but by the end of the month you’re still throwing that mascara you HAD to have, or lunch out with your bestie on your card…you’re financing your lifestyle, period. Think of it this way, its like taking out a mortgage on clothes and food…ummm no. I learned this one the hard way. ☹
4) Late payments – Like I always say, let’s keep it 100%, we like to convince ourselves that its no biggie if we’re late or miss a payment here and there. We tell ourselves, “hey I don’t do it often and I can always get back on track.” Don’t fall for it! Even missing just ONE payment or two is a sign that there’s a major roadblock up ahead!
5) Don’t know how much debt you have – If you have absolutely no clue how many credit cards you even have let alone the total amount of all of your debt, its safe to say that to you ignorance is bliss and you’re sticking your head in the sand!
I feel you…I know the feelings all too well of being overwhelmed and outright terrified to face my situation. But its one of the worst things you can do, its like a fire sitting in your lap and you try to ignore it, eventually it is going to burn you! But don’t fret my pet, if you stick around with me, I can help you muster up the courage to get through this, this is temporary, it won’t last! I’ll be here to take your hand and walk you out of it step by step. ☺
6) Robbing Peter to pay Paul – Do you find yourself running into your “friendly” neighborhood Check Into Cash or taking cash advances off of your cards midmonth to pay bills? YUUPPP, I’ve been there too…CashCall anyone?
But honestly, these companies are the worst of the worst scam artists and are really only a step above a loan shark. Be wary! They charge exorbitant fees and outrageous interest. They may seem like a Christmas miracle when you’re totally strapped for cash, but trust me, you’re better off without em’.
7) Overdrawn bank account – When you’re always battling an overdrawn bank account and stacks of fees, its time to be realistic about your financial health boo. This is an indication that you need to pick up better money management skills, and if you don’t, you’ll likely find yourself in a situation!
8) Secretive – If you’ve become less than truthful with those closest to you, especially your spouse, about your money its a clear sign that you KNOW your money game ain’t on point. Now is the time to reach out and get the help you need!
9) Balance transfers – Now I say this one with a caveat, 0% credit card balance transfers can be a legit strategy to help you pay off your debt when used properly! But if you have 19 credit cards because you just keep doing the debt dance and shuffling your money around…you have a problem. Your credit card balances shouldn’t be playing musical chairs or doing the cupid shuffle from card to card!
10) Tapping 401k – Continually dipping into your retirement accounts, despite the taxes and penalties, to pay bills is a dead giveaway that you have underlying financial issues that need to be addressed. Especially if you’re still spending or even using that money to continue to live the “good life”. #nobueno
True confession, I’ve been guilty of every.single.thing. on this list and more. And I know…this is heavy stuff! But the same way that I was able to make it through this, so can you!
This sounds so froo froo, but the first step really is acknowledgement. And if you’re looking at this list and you KNOW that you have one or more these things happen errrry month, then its time to acknowledge that you’re in a dire situation, you’re on the edge of that cliff and one little breeze is all it would take.
You may not be able to see it now in the midst of this storm, but trust me when I tell you, there’s a big bright shining light at the end of the tunnel!!! You are NOT alone, your situation is salvageable, we do can this TOGETHER. Ready to step back from the edge? I can show you the way, lessgo!