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When you’re suffering financially, struggling to make payments, or trying to break free from the debt you’ve accumulated over the years – you get lonely.
Debt can take a significant toll on us. It can completely change the way we view so many important things in our lives: relationships, careers, mental health, and beyond. These everyday things that used to feel so easy can become something completely different.
They can become fears and stressors.
“I can’t tell my partner I’m in debt or they’ll leave me”
“I can’t afford to pay for my child’s sports camp this year and it breaks my heart”
“I don’t remember the last night I’ve slept a full 8 hours”
It’s harsh. But it’s a feeling far too familiar to most of us. We’ve all been there.
So why do we feel so alone?
As much as I’ve felt money is a common conversation topic among my friends, family, and I – I’ve found that it’s only a common topic because I bring it up often. I encourage people to let me know their feelings and be honest in whether or not they can afford an outing. I feel guilty if I’m putting anyone into financial distress because that used to be me.
But it’s not a common topic of conversation among the majority. In fact, it’s not even a rare conversation. It’s more like a never kind of conversation.
Families can avoid talking about money together for their entire lives. They can assume it’s all going okay, or they can see that it’s falling apart. There is no in between. We never know the buildup, or how to help one another stop the path of destruction before it’s started. We just exist in our personal financial bubbles. Hoping that we get through it.
“More than 4 in 10 Americans with credit card debt (43%) say they would feel judged if their family members and friends knew how much credit card debt they owed.” – Time.com/Money
I think it’s time we change that. But how?
Talk money 24-7
I don’t mean that you need to boast about how much you make, the exact numbers in your monthly budget, or how much you put into retirement funds this year. I simply mean that we should talk more about money in general. Talking about pretty much anything can help put things in perspective, make others feel more comfortable in voicing their concerns, and provide the simplest way to avoid debt in the first place – education.
Create a safe zone
For me personally, my blog is a safe place for me to voice all of my financial concerns, and show others that we are all facing the same or similar issues. By creating a safe place – whether it’s a community meetup, or around your best friend’s table – you can provide a stress free moment in time for those facing financial insecurity.
Share your story
The reason I share my story of paying off debt so often is not to brag about how amazing I am for paying off debt (seriously not that arrogant you guys). It’s simply to encourage others to take the same steps. To fight back against the one thing that keeps us up at night. I hated the feeling of having no one to talk to because I was embarrassed. I turned to the online personal finance community and never looked back. And we can all do the same for our friends.
Find an accountability buddy
Much like it can be hard to go to the gym every single day, it can be hard to stay committed to debt repayment. By finding an accountability buddy to check in with you bi-weekly or monthly, you have a better chance of success. We need someone to rely on us, the way we once relied on our credit cards.
Let’s stop the vicious cycle that leaves those in debt feeling alone and unable to make the leaps we know they will. I’m here as an accountability buddy, a safe zone, and a place to share your story.
If you’ve ever gone through debt repayment, or are currently going through debt repayment, please leave an inspirational comment for those who need a bit of a pickup today. We’ve got you!