Don't Feel Bad for Your Debt ...

Although debt might keep you awake at night, there are reasons why debt doesn't make you a bad person. Understandably, if you consider yourself a financially responsible person, the fact that you have a lot of debt can weigh heavily on your mind. However, circumstances beyond your control might have contributed to debt. For that matter, here are seven reasons why debt doesn’t make you a bad person.

1. High Unemployment Rate

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The unemployment rate in the US has been at a record high in recent years, which is one possible reason why debt doesn’t make you a bad person. If you lost your job or if your employer cut your hours, your new income may not be enough to support your monthly expenses. And even if you look for a new job, it can take six months or longer to find suitable employment, at which time you may rely on credit for the essentials.

2. Health Insurance Isn't Always Enough

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In a perfect world, a health insurance policy would cover all our medical expenses. Unfortunately, this isn't the case. Even if you have a health insurance policy, your policy may only cover a percentage of your healthcare costs. Add a high insurance deductible to this scenario and one major health issue can leave you with costly medical debt.

3. Drop in Household Income

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There is no such thing as job security, and your household income can drop without warning. As a self-employed person, you might lose a few of your clients. And if you're married, you and your spouse may decide to separate or divorce, which can have a tremendous impact on the amount of income coming into your home. An adequate cash reserve might keep you afloat. But if you relied heavily on the income that you lost, you might use a credit card to keep the lights on or put food on the table. The longer it takes to get your finances on track, the more debt you can incur.

4. High Cost-of-living

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During bad economic times, many employers cannot afford to give raises. And if your income cannot keep pace with the higher cost-of-living, you might find yourself in the hole each month. Looking for another job or getting a second job can keep your head above water, but until you're able to generate the extra income you need, you may rely heavily on credit cards to get through each month.

5. Unable to save a Cash Reserve

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The importance of an emergency savings account can't be stressed enough. But if you don't have disposable income, saving up a nest egg is nearly impossible. And unfortunately, without a cash reserve, your chances of falling into debt are higher. If you need a home or auto repair, and you don't have the money available, using a credit card might be your only option.

6. You Didn't Receive Proper Financial Education

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Personal Finance 101 isn’t a prerequisite for graduating high school or college. For that matter, parents are ultimately responsible for providing their children with financial education. This includes teaching the importance of saving, budgeting, credit management and debt management. And unfortunately, if you do not receive the right education at an early age, you might make poor financial decisions that can trigger long-term debt.

7. You’re Willing to Change Your Mindset

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If you acknowledge mistakes that you’ve made in the past, and you're willing to make the necessary changes, there is no reason to feel like a bad person. You might have a ton of debt today. But with the right strategy and determination, you can slowly pay off your balances and improve your financial outlook.

At the end of the day, debt doesn’t make you a bad person. It doesn't matter how much you owe or whether you have to file bankruptcy. Life happens, and sometimes, debt is the result of things you can't control. But with a positive outlook, you can overcome this hurdle. How were you able to take charge of debt?

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