Does the thought of dealing with your debt make you want to go back to bed? More than 1 in 5 Americans (22%) are likely to put off creating a debt payoff plan, according to a June 2022 survey from NerdWallet conducted online by The Harris Poll.
That’s a lot of procrastination, and it’s no wonder why. Facing your debt isn’t exactly a fun way to spend an hour. Still, there are actions you can take that will make getting out of debt feel more attainable. And there are ways to lower interest payments, which will save you money as you work toward paying down your balance.
“We see debt as, ‘Oh my god, I screwed up.’ That is baloney in all caps,” says Kate Mielitz, an Olympia, Washington-based accredited financial counselor with a doctorate in personal financial planning. “Americans struggle to pay back debt, struggle to save and struggle to do the things we know are the right thing. We just have to say, ‘OK, that was yesterday. What can I do to take one step today?’”
1. FORGIVE YOURSELF FIRST, THEN MAKE A PLAN
The first and most difficult step is understanding how you got here. When Valerie Rivera, a certified financial planner and founder of FirstGen Wealth in Chicago, works with clients, she helps them go through credit card statements to categorize purchases and look for spending patterns. That makes it easier to create a new spending plan that leaves room for debt repayment.
Here’s why this part is essential: It takes you out of autopilot. You may…