Issues That You Could Face If You Get Yourself In Debt

A key focus of my blog is Financial Literacy/Money. A key piece to managing your financial health is controlling debt and making sure that it doesn’t take hold of your life. Allowing debt to run out of control could cripple your future and the futures of those around you. The following contributed post is therefore entitled, Issues That You Could Face If You Get Yourself In Debt.

* * *

Pic Source

If for some reason you have got yourself into debt, you could end up facing a lot of issues. Whether this is a debt that you have accumulated as an individual or one that you have got as a business, you could be facing the same kind of problems. People tend to believe that debt is okay, as long as you know that you can get out. Well, this is not going to be the case because a lot of the time, they never do. Let’s look at some of the issues that you could face if you or your business is in debt.

Never Getting Out

One of the main issues that you will find with getting into debt is that it is extremely hard to get out. You might have the money to do so, but many people then don’t do this as they think this payment can wait. After a while, the interest has accumulated, and they can no longer pay their way out of the debt. As such, they are not going to be able to get out of debt, even when they get around to paying it.

This is the most common issue that people find when they are in debt, next to never being able to pay it in the first place. This is why it is never a good reason to get yourself into any form of debt, as you never know how it is going to pan out in the future.

Having To Borrow More

The next issue is that if you get into trouble for any reason and get arrested, you might not be able to pay your bail. This is where you are going to need a bail bonds person to put the money up for you. If you have a history of not doing what you said you would, for example, paying off your debts, you are going to find that nobody is going to help you in this situation. Even if you do get this help, you are then going to have to borrow more to cover the costs. It’s a vicious cycle that never ends.

Or, if you are desperate to pay off your debt, you might borrow off someone else to do this. You will then owe the full amount to someone else, and this might be worse for you than who you owed to before. This is why it is always going to be better to avoid debt if you can.

Accumulating More

Finally, interest on debts is terrible. The lender gets to determine the amount of interest that you are going to have to pay, and you don’t usually have a say in this. So, your lender could decide to charge you 20% interest, and they can adjust this if and when they want without any reason. Interest is a killer when it comes to paying back debt because you usually end up paying a lot more than you borrowed. This is not going to be something that you want, and that is why again, you need to try and stay out of debt.

We hope that you have found this article helpful, and now understand some of the issues that you could be facing if you get yourself into debt.

Save Your Business Ship From Sinking Into The Abyss

Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy and Money, and Business and Entrepreneurship. Starting any business venture is like setting off on a voyage across the ocean or the sea. As such it’s critical to understand what provisions to load onto your ship, and what protocols to use in various circumstances. The following contributed post is thus titled; Save Your Business Ship From Sinking Into The Abyss.

* * *

Over ninety percent of startups will fail within their first year. This means that many business owners won’t even get out the gates with their company. You have to be prepared for this possibility. You have to know how to right a sinking ship. Luckily, there are a few possible courses you can take here, and we’re going to check a few out right now.

Pic Link

Manage What You Owe

If your business is starting to sink there’s a good chance, it’s being submerged in debt. When you start a business, you may have to borrow a lot of money, and you probably won’t be able to pay it all back at once. That leaves debt to build up more and more in different areas. The fact it’s in different areas can make it seem smaller and less significant when in reality, it’s eating away at your company. How do you handle this?

Well, you can think about consolidating your debt. Debt consolidation lenders are brilliant because they will provide you with the tools to put all the your debt into one sum that’s easier to pay off. You can start to treat it like another monthly bill. Be aware though, this is a loan, and you have to make sure that you understand the conditions before taking it on.

Alternatively, consider getting the help of an accountant. They’ll be able to make sure that you find out where the money is leaking out and whether you have unpaid invoices from clients. This can help shift some of the weight.

Cut The Costs Right Back

You might find that your company is struggling because it’s just too darn expensive. If that’s the case, it’s time to think about cutting the cost, bringing them in line with the level of demand you’re getting rather than what you hoped to claim when you entered on the market.

There are many ways to cut costs, but if you’re running your business from an office, that is definitely the place to start. Consider whether you can instead move towards a home business model with mobile workers who can come in and help when the needs arise. Or, just move to a smaller office and move most of your workers back to their own homes. This is possible with most company models thanks to the latest tech available on the market.

Go For Broke
Or, go in a completely different direction and push your costs right up, throwing most of the weight into new marketing campaigns. By doing this, you can give one last hit and try and get your audience to grow to the point you need it to be. Yes, this is definitely going to drive up the debt that you might already be facing. But if it’s successful, this could be the risk you had to take to save your company from doom. Make no mistake though, this is a seriously risky move, and it’s one that a lot of businesses won’t survive.

We hope this helps provide you with some choices of how to stop your business from sinking completely.

Managing Your Debt More Effectively

Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy and Money. From experience, losing control of debt or misusing it can adversely affect your financial and even personal health. It’s thus important not to get involved with it in the first place, or to get rid of it as quickly as possible if you have. The following contributed post is thus titled; Managing Your Debt More Effectively.

* * *

If you have a great deal of debt, it is no doubt affecting your life in a number of ways. Anyone who has ever experienced being in debt will testify to the fact that it can be incredibly worrying and damaging, an it’s one of those situations that you wouldn’t wish on even your worst enemy. However, the truth is that even the worst debt in the world can be improved by being managed more effectively, and that effective management begins with a proper understanding of debt, how it works, and what you can do to try and improve or fix it. In this post, we will take a look at some of the things you can do to manage your debt much more effectively and fully in the future.

Image

Understand Your Options

Something that can really help with the psychological part of debt is understanding what options you have, so that you are much less likely to feel as though all is lost. As it turns out, this is something which you will be able to do pretty easily, and it will mean that you will immediately feel a lot better about your debt in the process too. One of the options always available is consolidation, which can be a hugely helpful way of lumping all your debt into one. This then gets the other creditors off your back, and ensures you can start paying it all back in manageable portions. Sometimes a company will also allow you to call debt forgiveness, which can be the best option if you are able to get it. And other times, there is the bankruptcy route, which can help you to get back on track.

Take It Slow

Once you know what the route is that you are likely to take, you need to start taking it – but somewhat slowly. If you rush into anything, it is likely that you will only cause yourself further and further stress, so it’s something that you definitely want to avoid doing if you can help it. By taking it slow, you make it that much easier to keep on to of things and not let yourself get too stressed, and it means that you will be in a much better position at the end of it too. Remember this important advice if you are wondering what you can do to make it all seem a little easier, as this ensure that psychological side of it is considerably less stressful and worrisome.

Image

Get Help

Sometimes all it takes is to have a little help from those around you, so this is an option which you should absolutely consider too. You need to make sure that you are aware of what options you have in terms of who can help you, as knowing that is central to being able to get to a better financial position faster. Bear that in mind, and it will make a huge difference in the long run.

Know When To Call Upon The Power Of A Loan

Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy and Money. In some instances, it’s important to know when to take out a loan if there is a financial crisis and there are no other options left. The following contributed post is thus entitled; Know When To Call Upon The Power Of A Loan.

* * *

The rut of financial baggage is relentless and tiring. It happens to us all at least once through our lives, but because it can go on and on, we feel like it’s normal. Well, newsflash, it isn’t and no one should ever think that it is something we should be okay with either. Firstly you need to pinpoint the reasons as to why you are in this mess whereby you can’t seem to pay your bills on time, you’re cutting back on the things you need for your family such as groceries and clothes, and yet still here you are sat up late at night with a calculator in your hand. Life shouldn’t be a game of catch up but it ends up being that way when we are irresponsible with our finances, going in over our head and getting into debt. Slowly but surely, if you cannot seem to stop the ball of debt and financial burden from rolling, eventually it will roll over you. But when is it really the best timing to go for a loan to help alleviate the pressure?

Living lavishly

Human beings are just strange creatures at the end of the day, we mostly cause our own problems. It’s hard to admit but you need to seriously question if you’re living a life that you honestly should not be. Have you bought a car that looks and feels good to drive but the gas mileage is pathetic? Do you buy too many clothes just to look good at events that don’t really matter? Could you possibly be a little too passionate and keep buying tickets to your favorite sporting team’s matches? We need to stop living lavishly when we know we don’t have the money. Many people will try to make excuses such as needing to feel good about yourself when you’re sad and depressed, or trying to live a normal life for the family etc. well, tough luck, it’s time to seriously question whether you should be buying some things when you know you are in a pinch.

Do you have a plan

What if you had a bag full of money thrown at you, what would you do? Just for the sake of argument, it’s only enough to pay off your debts and start to control your finances. Do you know what you would do first? What bills, debts, credit cards and such would you pay off immediately? If you haven’t even thought about the long-term solution to your financial burdens, your short-term plans are almost nonsensical. Paying off this week’s debt is a single drop in the ocean, what about the tens of thousands of dollars you owe for your mortgage, car payments, phone contracts and more? Create a plan that deals with a point by point analysis of what is most important financially, and then come up with monetary rules for paying off those problems first and foremost.

Measure the deepness

Loans are a great financial tool to use when you need to just throw money at the problem to make it go away. They do provide you with a lot of power to end some financial crisis situations, that much cannot be denied. But, they come with their own set of rules as they are a solution but also a new addition to your financial responsibilities. Use this information that compares direct lenders only and see what kind of APR rate and interest is best suited to you. Some lenders charge high rates as they want to aggressively control how and when you start repaying them. Others are more open to allowing you to figure out what the best plan would be. You can get a small loan of around three to four figures or you can get into the five-figure sums if you need a large quantity of cash.

Take the hit

No one wants to dip into their savings account to get from under a financial jam, but you have to be willing to do so. If the worse comes to worse, then you need to set a limit on how much you will be eating into the money you have been saving all your life. Take the hit and stop yourself from going under. Filing for bankruptcy is going to be much worse than halving or completely devouring all your savings. As much as it hurts, set a plan in place for how much money you will take out of your savings account to help pay for your debts. Setting a threshold for how much money you have left in your main bank account is a common way of doing this.

Loans have the ability to put a large chunk of money right in your hand, in a very short amount of time. Therefore they have a lot of power to aid you in your financial troubles. However, know when you need to call upon a loan and devise structures so you make good use of the money.

Breaking Free From The Shackles of Debt

Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy and Money. A key aspect of one’s financial health is controlling and minimizing debt. The following contributed post is thus titled; Breaking Free From The Shackles of Debt.

* * *

Image Credit

If you’re in debt then life can start to feel quite gloomy, indeed, having a huge amount of debt can sometimes make people feel trapped like they are a prisoner confined in a prison where they are emotionally paying for what they might feel they have done ‘wrong’.

Yet, debt isn’t as dirty a word as some people feel it is, it doesn’t make you a bad person, and it doesn’t even mean you are necessarily irresponsible. Life is unpredictable and we’re all just a few twists and turns away from being in financial trouble… the greatest challenge is the fact debt is often a slippery slope where one or two missed payments suddenly mount up, and escalate to the point things start snowballing out of control.

The worst thing, though often the most natural thing to do in such circumstances, is to bury your head in the sand. The challenge here is that this is the time you need most to take control and get a handle on the situation.

If your financial situation has snowballed out of control then all is not lost; even if you feel on the brink of despair in most western countries the option to declare bankruptcy exists, meaning you can have a second chance to get things back on track.

People often over complicate the process of breaking free from the shackles of debt as their emotions take over their logical thinking, in psychology this is known as an amygdala hijack where essentially the brain goes into survival mode, and when feeling such intense financial stress, a common response is to bury one’s head in the sand.

The greater challenge, however, is that people in debt often focus on the “debt” as almost a definition of who they are, it’s as if being in debt becomes their identity, and this is dangerous as what we focus on the most we become.

If we liken this to being a prisoner trapped in debt, it’s like looking down at the shackles around your feet, focusing on how trapped and impotent you feel to change the circumstances you’ve found yourself in – yet, it’s only when you stop focusing on the shackles around your feet, start looking up, and shifting your focus that you can get out of debt.

See, the fuel you require to get out of debt is money, as this is the source of freedom in that having money is the only thing that will help you break free from the shackles of debt – whether that’s in the form of a consolidation loan from The Ascent or by earning an extra income through business or employment activities.

When you are focused on the shackles of debt, your attention is not focused on doing the thing that is required to break free – therefore, the predominant thing you need to do to “break free” from debt is to stop focusing on the debt and start focusing on taking the required action to get out of debt.

The Signs You’re Carrying Far Too Much Debt

Two of the main focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy and Money. The following contributed post was written by Emma Morgan. It discusses The Signs You’re Carrying Far Too Much Debt.

* * *

We live in a time of consumerism and most of us have a mindset of ‘I need it now’, which makes us impulsive when it comes to credit. The problem with credit, though, is that we can have whatever we want, and the consequences come later. While credit seems like a great idea in the moment, when you’ve got too much month at the end of your money and you can’t make your repayments, it becomes a big problem.

Debt is, for most people, a very unfortunate part of life. Buying a house, a car and even getting an education can put you into debt. While these are the debts you’d want to have, rather than because you couldn’t put the Manolo’s back at the store, it’s still not nice to have to deal with debt in that way. Having a house is a good thing, until you can’t make the mortgage repayments and you’re getting help from DoveBankruptcyLaw.com/chapter-13-bankruptcy to get you back on track. There are some signs, though, that can tell you whether you are carrying too much debt. It’s time to get your head out of the sand and start sorting out your finances, because they’re not going to sort themselves.

Image Source

1. The first sign you’re carrying too much debt is that this is where your money goes. You should have enough money to cover your mortgage, your bills and your savings before having a portion for disposable income. If your disposable income is covering the minimums on your loans and cards, there’s an issue. Working to pay debt is not living, and you need to start making some adjustments so that this is no longer the case for you.
2. The next sign is that you won’t ever pay off your debts early, because the money that you have can only cover the minimum payments. Get onto the creditors that you have and ask them to lower the repayment amounts for you. Creditors are not easy to deal with – in your head. In reality, if you have a good history, they’re usually more than happy to help you out. As long as they are getting paid, they will work with you and not against you.
3. Your health is important, but if the stress of debt is starting to manifest physically, you’re going to suffer. Your sleep, your happiness, the jumpy feeling you get when the doorbell goes? All of these things are not healthy, and they can be affected by debt.
4. Trying to get a consolidation loan to cover your debts is the move that most people make so that they can pay things off quickly. However, if you’re being turned down even for this, then you’ve got too much on your plate. The more debt you have, the harder it is to get credit.

It’s important to recognize when you are carrying too much debt as much as it is to know where to ask for help. Don’t suffer alone – get the debt help you need now to lessen the burden on your shoulders.

Father’s Day 2018: Dad’s doctor and his lawyer, and a discussion on careers

Your brother is going to be my Doctor, and you’re going to be my Lawyer!”

Happy Father’s Day. My 2017 Father’s Day blog post talked about some of my father’s life and money lessons, and there were many. I wrote some more about us in my second essay submitted to A Voice For Men entitled: Two very well-behaved boys left to figure things out on their own: Reflections on growing up ‘Blue Pill’, which discussed how my brother and I had to figure out several aspects of manhood on our own. There weren’t a lot of men around growing up, and there were limitations in what we were taught by the men we did know.

For this 2018 post, I’m going to go in a different direction and will discuss what Dad wanted both me and my brother to be career-wise, versus what we actually became. This piece isn’t an “ode to fathers” per se, but instead a set of thoughts and ideas based upon something my father said to us as children, which will serve as a jumping off point for things me and those in my circle regularly discuss today as adults – things that have impacted our family dynamics as the years have gone by. As described in my piece Challenging stereotypes and misconceptions in academic achievement, Dad’s fatherly guidance helped me reach my academic potential. He also stimulated me to start thinking about potential careers at an early age.

* * *

“Your brother is going to be my Doctor, and you’re going to be my Lawyer!” Dad said on one of our summer visits in the mid-1980s. The three of us were crossing a street in downtown Schenectady, NY and he turned and gave his proclamation to the both of us – communicating with one of his hands – his signature style. Like many parents, Dad had his own plans for what we should be. Somewhere alo4ng the line, he determined that it should be a Medical Doctor and a Lawyer, and as with everything Dad said, he said it with lots of authority, pretty much commanding us.

Not having either in my immediate family circle on either my mother’s or father’s side, I didn’t know much about what lawyers did. I had some idea of what medical doctors did because I had gone to see them on numerous occasions as a child. One of Dad’s first cousins was in fact a medical doctor, but we didn’t see him enough to be able to ask him about his career. In elementary school it hadn’t occurred to me what I wanted to be career-wise, though I got the inkling that it would be something scientific after really enjoying “Life Science” in the seventh grade – essentially beginner’s Biology. My brother had begun showing signs of being both artistic and creative.

But what made my father so enamored with medical doctors and lawyers in terms of careers for his sons? Dad was always one for stability which is why he became a junior high science teacher. Neither of his parents had gone to college, so he was a first-generation college graduate. From what I can see, some parents naturally want their children to do better than them. In the mid-1980s, the conventional wisdom was that medicine and law were two very high-profile professions which would lead to affluent and comfortable careers/lifestyles.

“I know that your grandfather would be very proud of you being a doctor and all,” Dad said on several occasions regarding my Ph.D. years later. He didn’t necessarily understand what my doctorate stood for or the skills it represented, but the title of ‘Doctor’ meant a lot to him – something I witnessed in the coming years both positively and negatively. Coincidentally, I think he initially discouraged me from pursuing a doctorate – potentially because he only knew Ph.D.s in the context of the school system, and not the ‘Research’ and ‘Regulatory’ worlds.

With one of the principles of my blog being “Critical Thought”, I believe it’s important to look at things in their entirety. So, while Dad wanted these two prestigious careers for us, what would it have taken for us to get into these two professions? The answer is it would’ve taken lots and lots of school for the both us and then, most likely, considerable debt to pay back. This is something very important to consider for parents and students looking to attend college to pursue ‘White-Collar’ careers.

In terms of higher education, thinking out the entire plan long-term is critical – considering the cost of the degree, how to get a quality degree for the least amount of money possible, what the expected salary will be on back end, and finally how much debt will need to be paid back. According to a 2014 article in Forbes, the average amount of debt for Law School graduates ranged from $84,000 to $122,158. Also, according to a recent 2018 article by Credit Donkey, the average medical school graduate finishes with $192,000 of debt.

Keep in mind that these are on top of however much debt was accrued during one’s undergraduate studies. The numbers probably weren’t as high thirty years ago, but it’s important to be mindful of blindly chasing certain careers based upon titles and prestige. If it’s something a student really wants to do, that’s different, but the costs still ought to be considered.

If you run the numbers and your prospects aren’t good, I would recommend not going into debt for that particular degree. A mentor recently taught me that the economy actually dictates the need for specific careers at a given time. I don’t know what the prospects were like for lawyers in the mid-1980s when Dad announced his wish for me, but as I progressed in my education, I heard more and more stories about the market being ‘saturated’ with them. I likewise heard that the landscape for medicine had changed, and in some ways, it wasn’t as lucrative a career as it once was.

In terms of my career, I figured it out as I went along. I had an interest in the Biological Sciences and thus followed that path. I pondered going to Medical School at one point, but decided against it after a professor at Johnson C. Smith University encouraged me and some of my classmates to study up on what it entailed – the demands, the lifestyle, and the backend costs.

It’s also important for students and parents to keep in mind what the student is good at, and where their gift/passion lies. While I turned out to be the son that was interested in the Biology, my brother’s gifts were completely different. He turned out to be a ‘design and build’ –type of guy. He had the gift for designing things, constructing things, taking them apart, and he was quite formidable with tools and devices. He started studying Architecture in college but didn’t finish, but in hindsight, he may have also been well suited for one of the ‘Skill Trades’ – something that didn’t come up as a child as college and ‘White-Collar’ careers were emphasized as opposed to ‘Blue-Collar’ careers.

Speaking of the trades, since finishing my own education, I’ve realized that there is power in learning one or more of the skill trades. There will always be the need to build and fix things. That includes: the electricity and plumbing in your home, airplanes we travel on, the public transportation vehicles we ride to work on every day, and so much more. If your refrigerator breaks down as mine did recently, for example, you either have to buy a new one or hire someone to come and fix it – unless you can do it yourself.

Unfortunately, our society looks down on the Blue-Collar careers in some ways, though they pay very, very well and don’t require the schooling doctors and lawyers need – the same is true for the debt required to train for the latter two careers. In my opinion, individuals who are proficient in the trades people are willing to pay for; and those who also have some business training, stand to make lots of money as they can do things like start their own companies and hire other people.

My brother never finished college and has become a bit of an inventor/entrepreneur which actually is the route that our technology giants like: Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg took. There may have been some luck involved for each of them, but these men are reminders that in some instances, ideas and skills are more powerful than the degrees themselves. Today for example, there are quite a few individuals making significant incomes without being ‘degreed’ – those who can write code for Blockchain Technology applications for example. Also, while my brother isn’t degreed, he’s also not saddled with a significant debt payment of any kind – a tremendous advantage.

As for me, depending on your belief system, I got lucky. I pursued a Ph.D. in a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) field at a time when the economy rewarded individuals with such degrees. What’s even more significant is that I finished only with a little bit of debt from my undergraduate studies. Because I pursued a STEM degree, I didn’t pay for any of my graduate studies so I didn’t have a hefty loan to pay back for those five to six years of graduate school. This brings me to my closing point. It wasn’t until I finished that phase of my science training that I realized that I was missing something very, very important – something some kids are given early, and something others stumble upon later in life if at all.

Regardless of whether or not you get a college degree, a trade or some sort of entrepreneurship, the critical piece is understanding money. Something not discussed much in our younger years was wealth-building – something that is possible for everyone, and independent of one’s career choice as it involves a specific set of behaviors that I’ve written about in my Net Worth and Debt Snowball pieces. Understanding the concepts of Wealth-Building: budgeting, living within one’s means, delaying gratification, investments, and ‘Compound Interest‘ – these are the keys to a great and bountiful life, not necessarily the careers and titles themselves, contrary to what many people think.

Prestige and titles are nice, but if you read Dr. Thomas Stanley’s The Millionaire Next Door, you’ll see that there are many high-income professionals who look the part, but who are actually struggling. In my blog post about the Tax Reform and Jobst Act, I referenced a 2016 article in the Washington Post entitled: The shocking number of Americans who can’t cover a $400 expense which showed that even some individuals making over six figures, surprisingly couldn’t cover such an emergency.

I never wanted to be one of those people. I may be different from most, but I’d rather secretly live nice and comfortable with a simple outward appearance, as opposed to looking wealthy and struggling behind closed doors. That’s a personal choice however – one which everyone must make for themselves.

* * *

In closing, our parents sometimes have dreams of what they want us to be. Some kids actually go ahead and fulfill their parents’ dreams while others go their own way. In some instances, our parents can discourage us from what we really want to do based upon what they know and feel from their lives.

There is thus a complex set of decisions to be made based upon: what one really wants to do, their unique gifts, what they’re passionate about, and how they’ll be able to earn a living on the back end. In the end, the economy dictates what’s needed at that particular time – it will determine who gets hired and how much they will be paid. Lastly, no matter what path is chosen, the critical piece is understanding money. Once again, Happy Father’s Day.

Thank you for taking the time out to read this blog post. If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy:

Two very well-behaved boys left to figure things out on their own: reflections on growing up ‘Blue Pill’
Father’s Day 2017: reflections on some of Dad’s money and life lessons
Mother’s Day 2018: Memories of my grandmothers
Mother’s Day 2017: one of my mother’s greatest gifts, getting engaged, and avoiding my own personal fiscal cliff
Challenging stereotypes and misconceptions in academic achievement
The benefits and challenges of using articulate speech

If you’ve found value here and think it would benefit others, please share it and or leave a comment. To receive all of the most up to date content from the Big Words Blog Site, subscribe using the subscription box in the right hand column in this post and throughout the site. Lastly follow me on Twitter at @BWArePowerful, on Instagram at @anwaryusef76, and at the Big Words Blog Site Facebook page. While my main areas of focus are Education, STEM and Financial Literacy, there are other blogs/sites I endorse which can be found on that particular page of my site.

My personal experience with Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball revisited

“The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.” – Proverbs 22:7

One of the principles of my blog is the “Teaching of Wealth Building and Financial Literacy”. A key component of Financial Literacy is understanding debt – specifically what happens when you carry too much of it. I painfully learned what it’s like to carry exorbitant amounts of debt – a place I hope never to return to.

I got out of debt because some friends graciously shared Dave Ramsey’sFinancial Peace University” with me. While there are supporters of Financial Peace University and Dave’s “Debt Snowball”, I found that there are also detractors and critics. I wrote the following piece on the Examiner in early 2016 after someone else wrote an article about why she quit her Debt Snowball. I didn’t write this to rebut the author in a confrontational way or to discard her experience altogether, but instead to share an alternative perspective. By the way, to read about how to prolong your Debt Snowball, see my Mother’s Day 2017 blog post.

* * *

Over the holiday season, an article appeared on my Twitter feed from another passionate Financial Literacy writer (there are many) titled; Why I Gave Up on Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball. Being a coordinator within the Financial Peace University ministry at the Alfred Street Baptist Church, and also in the final stages of my own Debt snowball, the article resonated with me and prompted the crafting of this piece. This piece won’t refute Jennifer Calonia’s experience, but will actually agree with some of her points and discuss my own experiences.

No one plans to go into crippling financial debt which usually occurs because of a lack of Financial Literacy; living above one’s means, or something else such as today’s soaring costs of higher education. Many people don’t understand what they’re doing and the long-term ramifications as was in my case. Roughly nine years were spent completing my Ph.D. and then the two and a half years of subsequent training – all on a taxable graduate stipend which ranged from $17,000-$22,000, and then a postdoctoral salary of $37,000. During that time, my expenses often exceeded my income for a number reasons. My old Saturn SL2 was bought with my father’s credit card. It was maintained using another credit card whose balance eventually ballooned to $8,500 (just paid off this month). An unhealthy relationship or two also contributed to the bonanza.

After starting my first real job in the Federal Government, my debt swelled at least two to three times due to wanting to learn to invest in real estate, and wanting to do too much too soon money-wise. It was a good idea but the trainings came at a steep price which in hindsight could’ve been obtained for less money. Those who gave those particular trainings dangerously encouraged us as students who didn’t have tens of thousands of dollars saved up, to use our credit cards, under the assumption that the costs of the classes would get paid off relatively easily once we some real estate deals were done (to be covered in depth in a later piece).

After accumulating my mound of debt, my life was blessed when two friends (from the same trainings) discovered and shared Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (FPU). Just briefly, four of the key components of FPU – the cornerstones of Dave’s “Baby Steps” include:

• Saving an Emergency Fund – one month and then four to six months
• Learning how to budget
• Using cash instead of credit cards and debit cards
The Debt Snowball

The Debt Snowball is a strategy for eliminating debt. The individual lines up all of their debts smallest to largest, steadily paying them off one by one using the money from each paid off debt on the next one, steadily increasing the size of the payments on the larger ones until everything is paid off using “Gazelle Intensity” as Dave Ramsey calls it. Dave Ramsey uses the parable of the Gazelle who represents consumers who are preyed upon by the Cheetahs who represent credit card companies, banks and marketers.

Jennifer Calonia’s points are honestly all valid. My own Debt Snowball has taken two to three difficult years (and that’s without children), and it is easy to feel like quitting. Life continues to happen not just to you, but those around you – some of whom aren’t making good financial decisions and ultimately need your help – often unexpectedly. There is also the pull to do what others are doing – taking lavish vacations and acquiring luxury items for example. Finally, because you’re living on a fixed income when doing the debt snowball, some people may conclude that you’re “strapped” for cash which can be hurtful if you’re sensitive to the words of others.

These are all reasons why Ramsey discusses prayer when pursuing this effort (if that’s in your value system of course). From experience, when doing the Debt Snowball, one has to know that there are times when this financial plan can and must be altered temporarily – the holiday season for example. Furthermore, periodic rewards are realistically a good idea too (within reason). In other words, if you’re doing the Debt Snowball, you have to allow yourself some fun, or else you’ll stop it and never go back.

Much to my surprise, Dave Ramsey does have his detractors and critics as does every author/speaker/guru. There is for example a second method to paying down debts which involves paying down the highest interest rate obligations first. Some consider this more financially intelligent than the debt snowball which is powerful because of the ‘emotional’ effect of seeing the debts go away.

“We’re going to live like no one else, so later we can live like no one else,” Ramsey says frequently during frequently during FPU meaning that some sacrifices are initially involved, for greater gains and a comfortable life later on. Money is an emotional topic and as with most things, everyone has to make the best decisions for their own lives. Being on the cusp of completing my own debt snowball, it admittedly wasn’t easy, but if one can find a way to stick to it, it does work.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you enjoyed this one, you might also enjoy:

Chris Brown discusses true stewardship and financial peace
Your gross net worth, your gross salary and what they mean
The difference between being cheap and frugal
Mother’s Day 2017: One of my mother’s greatest gifts, getting engaged, and avoiding my own personal fiscal cliff
Father’s Day 2017: Reflections on some of Dad’s money and life lessons
We should’ve bought Facebook and Bitcoin stock: An investing and technology story
Challenging misconceptions and stereotypes in class, household income, wealth and privilege

If you’ve found value here and think it would benefit others, please share it and/or leave a comment. To receive all of the most up to date content from the Big Words Blog Site, subscribe using the subscription box in the right-hand column in this post and throughout the site, or add the link to my RSS feed to your feedreader. Please visit my YouTube channel entitled, Big Discussions76. You can follow me on the Big Words Blog Site Facebook page, and Twitter at @BWArePowerful. Lastly, you can follow me on Instagram at @anwaryusef76. While my main areas of focus are Education, STEM and Financial Literacy, there are other blogs/sites I endorse which can be found on that particular page of my site.