Hang on, this one could get bumpy! In a recent post on how to get out of credit card debt I mentioned near the end of the article that one of the most important steps to getting out was getting angry.
I know, I know, we are not supposed to talk about anger these days, unless we are discussing ways to suppress it, manage it, or a diffuse it. But let’s be honest; anger is a perfectly natural human emotion. And when trying to get out of debt, anger can be an important ally. In fact, getting out of debt involves a range of emotions, and how well you handle these emotions will likely determine your success.
Climbing the Mountain of Debt
When I was in college and racking up debts to cover tuition, books, and the three-times-a-week pizza diet it never occured to me that one day I would be stuck with payments for all this mess. Continuing the roller coaster analogy, it was sort of like climbing that first hill not knowing what to expect on the other side. Sure, it is a fun ride on the way up, and we usually get prepared for the freefall with hands in the air anxiously awaiting the drop from the top. But, there is an element of fear there as well. At least there was for me.
Fear of the unknown is one of the greatest fears we have to face. There were many periods during my time of accumulating debt where I took the same position on finances as ostriches do–with my head buried in the sand. At times I thought simply ignoring the balance line on credit card bills, or the student loan statements, would be a sufficient way to avoid financial stress. It created more.
When Debt Throws You for a Loop
Sooner or later everyone working to become debt free experiences some type of emergency. They usually happen within a day or two of scheduling your next debt payment. The transmission dies, the hot water heater leaks, or you hear talk of layoff at work. It is inevitable. It is almost as if God is testing your conviction! The easy path is to get discouraged, wipe out your emergency fund and give up on paying anything more than the minimums for a while. The best response is to get fired up!
Imagine how much easier it would be to handle life’s emergencies if you weren’t saddled with debt. Imagine how it must feel to have no debt, $10,000 in emergency savings, and a comfortable cushion in your checking account. It has been said that money in the bank is the softest pillow, and I believe it because for years I suffered insomnia over of money worries. When you finally get fed up enough you will no longer allow these blips to throw you off track. You take the hit, you roll with it, build back up your emergency fund and then get back to working the debt snowball.
Glancing Back at the Track
When the ride is over and you exit the car take a moment to look back on what you went through. If your reaction is the same as mine you will vow never to get back on that ride again. The twists and turns were nearly too much. The excitement I felt climbing the mountain quickly evaporated with each gut-wrenching freefall. No, from now on I’ll stick to the tea cups. You have to be debt free to ride, and other than a little dizziness, the side effects are much less painful.