Credit card debt is a huge issue in the United States. The average household has $15,675 in credit card debt according to a survey conducted by NerdWallet. Credit card debt holds people back from their financial goals and what they want to accomplish in life. And, there is also a lot of shame associated with having too much credit card debt.
According to surveys of Credit Simple readers, 45% say that they are worried about their debt all the time. Worrying about your debt limits what you can do. It paralyzes people with fear and creates a sense of hopelessness. They don’t know where to turn or what to do next.
But, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can take back control of your finances and ultimately take back control over your life by letting go of the shame of credit card debt.
Getting over the shame is not easy. It takes a lot of work and resilience. But, most importantly, you have to want to end the cycle of debt and get back your life.
How to Overcome the Shame of Debt
Here are five ways that you can overcome the shame of debt and take back control over your life and finances.
Own Up To Your Debt
Like an alcoholic attending an AA meeting, you have to admit that you have a problem. That’s the first step. You have to recognize that you have a problem with debt.
Admit your debt problem to yourself, and then tell one other person about your debts. Telling others about your debts will make it real, and it will lift a burden of keeping it secret. It’s freeing. You’ll be surprised by how many other people are struggling with the same issue as soon as you admit your problem to others.
It’s hard to talk openly about our finances. It’s something that many of us are subconsciously trained to avoid from an early age. Our parents have taught us that we shouldn’t talk about finances, politics, sex, or religion in public.
But, now is the time to get it off of your chest. Find a friend that you can confide in. Or, sit down with your spouse to admit that you have a problem with debt. Admitting that you have a problem is the first step to getting over the shame you feel about your debt.
Understand Why You Continue Adding to Your Debt
Now that you have admitted to having a problem, you need to dig deeper into the shame of your debt. You have to look at why you are continuing to add to your debts.
Are you addicted to spending? Do you spend money as a coping mechanism for some other underlying issue?
Like most things, you have to understand your “why” to get to the heart of the matter. It will get to the root of your spending problem, which will help you ease the burden of shame and then know how to tackle the issue.
Seek Help to Conquer Your Debt
Like most people, you can’t go it alone. You can’t conquer your debt and get over the shame of it by yourself. And, that’s okay.
You should seek help. But, where do you turn? That’s one reason many of us read blogs and look to the internet for help to answer our questions. The internet is a wealth of great resources to help you find education and learn about ways to overcome the same of having debt.
You can also turn to a credit counselor for advice on helping you tackle your debt and get over your shame. A reputable credit counselor can help you learn how to manage your money, help you set up a budget, and offer you more education or workshops on tackling your debt.
Legitimate credit counselors are certified and trained to help you with consumer credit issues, debt reduction, and money management skills. They can help you to look at your entire financial health and situation and also develop a personalized plan to get you on the right track.
You just want to make sure that it’s a legitimate credit counseling. There are many less than reputable firms that can take advantage of you though. You will want to thoroughly research any credit counselor that you chose to do business with before you pay for their services.
A credit counselor may also help you set up a debt management plan. If you establish a debt management plan, you will deposit money each month with the credit counseling organization, who often negotiates lower interest rates and repayment options with your creditors on your behalf. You pay them one monthly payment, and then the credit counseling service pays your creditors for you according to a payment schedule they set up with your creditors.