Its the start of a new year and start of a new decade.
Now is always is a good time to be on the road to living debt free. And so when you’ve begun to pay off those credit cards (and keeping them paid off), started chipping away at the student loan and you’re making progress on the home loan, its been asked: how do you keep going? I’m putting it out there that your attitude towards the whole endeavor is vital – its certainly has been the case for me.
Over the course of 2009, my wife and I embarked on paying off a personal loan, paying off all credit card debt and saving up for our house. Along the way there’s been some big setbacks – a minor car crash and a few other large unexpected and unwanted expenses. Now, there is nothing wrong with writing about ’10 ways’ to do this or ’101 Tips’ to do something else as the personal finance community so often does, I want to point out four simple attitudes. These are the attitudes that I’ve found I need to have… and there may be more.
4 Important Attitude Shifts Necessary to Help You Get Out of Debt
A healthy dose of annoyance (and even disgust) will be helpful to your quest.
I’m calling for you to feel the dissatisfaction with the situation you’re in with your personal finances. You should not be happy about having debt. If you’re like me then when you consider that it has been frivolous spending and a lack of wisdom to blame then you should be disappointed with yourself. Let that sink in.
No matter how you ended up with so much debt, even if it was someone else caused you to get tangled up in debt – let it motivate you into doing something about it once and for all.
One of my favorite illustrations from the Bible is the gazelle who is escaping the hunter’s attack at full pace. You can read it for yourself in Proverbs 6:5. A tip of the hat goes to Dave Ramsey for alerting me to the application of this verse to personal finances. The point is this, like a gazelle you’re going to need intensity and speed to get out of debt. Do not have that laissez-faire attitude (French for leaving things alone) which will resign you to saying something like, "Yeap, I’m up to my eye-balls in debt but I’m not going to change much." Can you really afford to have that attitude? Intensity is called for which means dealing with your debt as you are under attack!
Patience is one of those virtues that throughout your life you will learn and re-learn many times. That virtue needs to be woven into your attitude toward your personal finances.
Some people are stuck in a deep hole of debt and its going to take years to make things better. Other people could get out of debt within a few short months. Either way you need to be patient to keep going for the long course.
Don’t wait for a big payout or windfall so that one day you will get your debts paid off. I’m saying, start today and be patient as you diligently chip away at it.
My last ‘must have’ attitude for getting serious with your finances is resolve.
You’re going to need to employ a steady, gritty resolve to overcome setbacks and not go back to having debt. That means an attitude that will not allow yourself buy things impulsively, or give up when the computer packs in, or some other financial catastrophe happens.
What are the must have attitudes that you’d say are needed?