Reduce Debt, Increase Your Worth
In addition to Debtors Anonymous, psychotherapy may be helpful for some people, especially if there is a deeper issue, like gambling, fueling the debt. But many people find support via online communities. “The internet is open 24/7,” says Hunt. “People can go online and realize they’re not in this alone.” Finding a message board at a reputable site, such as MSN Money or Hunt’s site, can provide moral support and practical advice. And of course, you may simply want to talk to a trusted friend, who can help keep you accountable as you work to reduce debt and live more freely.
Reducing or eliminating debt will require long-term changes and self-discipline, but it’s definitely possible. “I realized that I had a problem,” Eric says. His landlord was very kind and worked with him to avoid eviction. He received money from a city program that allowed him to pay his back rent. Eric says what amazed him was how his income soared once he got control of his money. “Once I released my old beliefs—that someone would always rescue me—money started flowing into my life,” he says. He accumulated substantial savings and then called his creditors and negotiated lump-sum payoff amounts. Today, he is debt-free with $25,000 in savings.
Shari paid off her consumer debt and continued to live below her means to allow herself to build up savings. She saved $52,000 over a two-year period and was able to purchase the home of her dreams. In just four years, Shari has amassed an emergency fund, which she continually builds, and owns mutual-fund shares and stocks. (She continues to make student-loan payments each month.) “My goal is to have three months of mortgage saved and $10,000 in emergency savings,” says Shari, who used most of her funds to put down a payment on the home. “My ultimate goal is to invest more.”
While complete debt relief for you may seem very far away, the first 30 days of reducing debt are your stepping-stones to becoming free from the burden of being a borrower. By working through your emotions, finding support and making practical changes, it is possible for you to turn things around and take control to eliminate your debt completely.
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