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The Unsatisfying Truth Behind Paying Off Your Debt

The Unsatisfying Truth Behind Paying Off Your Debt

Angela Colley

Photo by Erin Taylor via Flickr

Photo by Erin Taylor via Flickr

Like most money matters, paying off debt is an emotional trickster. While getting rid of the dead weight that is your debts is certainly a very good thing, it doesn’t always seem as rewarding—at least on paper—as you thought it might.

That’s because once you pay off your negative balance, through months of effort and sacrifice, you don’t have a lot to show for it. You’re at zero. And zero never looks that good, at least in our minds. 

As Derek, the founder of How Do I Money? explains:

Imagine having to run 10 miles just to get to the starting line of the marathon.

Spending so much money just to get to the starting line doesn’t feel practical. It doesn’t feel like progress. It feels like wasted effort. Effort that the only credit you get for is the ability to start the race all over again. Sheesh!

The problem is, we want the credit, something we can look at and say, “Hey, I’ve put a lot of money toward this and look at what I have to show for it,” and a zero balance on your credit card just doesn’t feel as good emotionally as say $100K sitting in the bank. 

But in some ways, paying off your debt can be even better for you than having money sitting around. Not only does it make your credit scores happy, but with fewer debts, you’ll spend less time stressed out and anxious, and more time, ya know, living life. 

You’ll also learn a lot about yourself and your life while you slog through paying down bills. For Derek, realizing he had everything he really needed while he was still carrying the worst of his debts has made financially responsibility in other aspects of his life easier. He knows he won’t be tempted to waste the money he was putting toward those repayments on something silly now—and that is a life lesson we could all learn.

Want to learn more about Derek’s slow and steady approach to debt? Check out the rest of “Keep Going. It’s the Best and Only Option” at How Do I Money?

 

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