There is no denying the benefits of paying off debt. Getting rid of your balances can increase your credit score, reduce interest charges and provide peace of mind. But unfortunately, there are common barriers to paying off debt. If you're serious about getting rid of your credit cards and other loans, you might have to overcome a few mental barriers.
1. Everyone Has Debt
The belief that everyone has debt is one of the most common mental barriers to paying off debt. It's true that most people get student loans, mortgage loans and auto loans because they don't have the bankroll to pay for these things with cash. However, certain types of debt are avoidable, such as credit card debt. And if you trick yourself into believing that it's normal to have a lot of credit card debt, you’ll spend your life in the hole.
2. I’ll Never Pay down Balances
If you owe thousands in credit card debt, you might feel that it's impossible to pay down the balance — so why try? This thinking, however, will keep you in debt. Paying off debt requires a positive mental attitude. Thus, you’re able to develop a realistic strategy to wipe the slate clean and improve your finances and credit.
3. It’s Okay to Just Pay the Minimum
Paying only the minimum each month helps you maintain a good standing with your creditors. But unfortunately, this move doesn't eliminate high balances. You’ll eventually get out of debt; but depending on how much you owe, it can take anywhere from 10 to 15 years. If you want to succeed and win the battle against debt, double or triple monthly payments, or drop a lump sum on your debt each month.
4. I Have to Keep up with Others
If your friends are constantly buying new clothes and new shoes, you might feel pressured to keep up. But if these items are beyond your financial reach, using a credit card might be the only alternative. This is how you end up in debt. Once you grasp that you don't have to keep up with your friends, you're in a better position to fight credit card debt.
5. I Don't Need Help
Some people overcome debt on their own. But if you have a shopping problem, or if you can’t deny yourself, you may need help to overcome this issue. I know people who refuse to shop alone, and they always bring along a friend who will discourage certain purchases. And depending on the severity of your debt problem, there's the option of working with a debt or credit counseling agency to get spending under control.
6. It’s Not That Bad
This is what many debtors say to avoid facing the truth. And although some debt isn't bad, excessive debt is a serious problem, and you need to wake up and smell the coffee. Too much debt not only drives down your credit score, it becomes difficult to get mortgage loans, auto loans and other types of financing. Plus, the debt isn't going away on its own. Either start paying it off now or struggle with it for years.
7. I Deserve Things
Maybe you're in debt because you can't deny yourself. If you’ve had a bad day, treating yourself can put a smile on your face. And according to some psychology experts, there’s truth behind retail therapy. However, moderation is important, and you should only spend if you can afford it.
So, are you ready to win the war against debt? Just remember: debt is a choice and it's never okay to pay only the minimums; and if you need help – ask for it. Can you think of other possible mental barriers?