Debt everywhere and that's the problem.
Look around these days and it doesn’t take a financial guru to diagnose the crisis of debt. There's too much of it, everywhere, and the lack of its management is wrecking everything from the solvency of individuals to that of entire nations. Solutions for controlling and managing debt are affecting everyone. Over the past two years new social and political movements have sprung to action due to debt, its burden and the stress it causes to both people and the entire system. Once debt has started climbing and accumulating, left unacknowledged and unchecked; the result is often systemic failure. But, through the implementation and mastery of the three A’s of debt management and control, it is possible to tame debt and eventually put it to work for you.
Accept! Accepting is the critical first step in finding any solution to any problem—whatever the problem.
Assess. Before anyone can devise and carry out a strategy or set a plan in motion; they must know where they stand.
Adapt. After completing the in-depth assessment, devising solutions or implementing a detailed debt management plan is critical
Need a coach? Get one.
Acknowledging issues on the fly is hard for a lot of individuals. Heck, it’s hard—period. This is one of the main reasons teams have coaches, detached analysis. Unfortunately most individuals don’t have a coaching advantage when it comes to their debt and financial situation. They don’t have a person in their corner alerting them to hazardous debt issues and seeking solutions for them.
Individuals acknowledging that they have debt issues know that they need to get a debt management plan in order, seeking coaching help through a financial planner may be the best action. Acceptance of an issue or situation is often the biggest hurdle because most people don’t have complete information. If this is the case in regards to debt and financial issues, a certified financial planner (CFP) will help in gathering all the facts in regards to an individual’s debt.
In order for an individual to make it to the next level in a debt management plan, they must accept their situation. Through the simple acknowledgement and acceptance that there may be or currently is a debt problem, the person looking for solutions has taken the critical first step to successful debt management.
Where are you going? Where have you been?
Unfortunately, debt is a part of life for just about everyone. The good news is that if you devise an effective management plan you can eventually put debt to work for you. Successful debt management is no different than being a captain and setting a course for a voyage. The individual that looks to employ solutions must know the who, what, when and where of their debt. Again, a coach (CFP) can help here.
Who? Ultimately all debt breaks down into two categories, essential and non-essential debt. Many prefer to use wants and needs, but the concept is the same. Assessing who is holding your debt usually reveals whether that debt is a want or a need. Not always, but often.
What? The obvious factor in the ‘what’ of the assessment is monetary amount. What is the total owed? But, the ‘what’ also entails knowing the exact thing that is attributable to that amount. This is critical. What do you owe Chase for and through which debt vehicle? Is it a credit card for a 52 inch plasma screen television or the mortgage on your house? The ‘what’ forces the individual to own their purchasing decisions and take responsibility which often helps clarify wants and needs.
When? Ask any person actively seeking debt management solutions and the ‘when’ of debt is something they usually have little trouble answering. Often times the ‘when’ of debt is committed to memory. The ‘when’ of debt management is just what it means; when is your debt due?
Where? The ‘where’ of debt management is the most advanced and technical aspect in the assessment phase and may require coaching assistance. Where is the debt held? Is the debt held on a revolving credit basis? Is the debt an installment term loan? Is it a mortgage? Knowing where also means pinpointing the exact holder of the debt and under which account. For example, an individual may hold multiple credit lines from the same lender, but each credit line may be different. The ‘where’ becomes critical when debt consolidation efforts are incorporated into the total debt management plan.
Attitude adjustment is the new reality.
Once a person has accepted and assessed their total debt picture, they must now adapt. This is the impact stage. This is where everything gets real and direct action is required. Second to acceptance, adapting to the reality of executing a proper debt management plan is very hard. The main reason is that change usually requires breaking habits. Adapting to the new reality of a debt management plan typically requires a ratcheting down of expectations, wants and material desires.
Typically, a revised budget is required making adaptation very hard; especially for those that have spiraling, out-of-control debt. Adapting to the debt plan usually means breaking an ingrained debt cycle. It takes consistent action over time which is very difficult, if not impossible, without total commitment from the individual. Unless the individual can produce quick cash to satisfy their debts, multiple adjustments over time will yield the best results for eventually taming their debt beast.
Achieve & Overcome
The truth is...
“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” – Unknown
Yes, it’s true, unless you’ve got a substantial inheritance coming your way or a lock on the next Powerball lottery numbers, debt is a reality in most people’s lives. Regardless of your current debt amount or situation, employing the three A’s will help anyone that is seeking a debt solution in overcoming their current issues with managing debt.