Guilt and Debt: How to Take Control of It
Few of us are completely without debt. But if you use debt responsibly, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Unfortunately, it’s too easy to let our debts spiral out of control.
Sometimes we end up in debt over our heads through no fault of our own. We may have a good handle on our finances until we lose our jobs or fall ill. Then a reduction in income causes us to fall behind, and we find ourselves using credit to pay for necessities.
Other times, an overabundance of debt is the result of irresponsible spending. We might use credit cards and loans to pay for extravagant wardrobes, luxury vacations and other unnecessary things. Few people do this with the intention of running up balances that they can’t repay. Most just don’t realize the consequences until it’s too late.
No matter how it occurs, getting into debt that we can’t afford can really take its toll. We often become depressed about our situation. But most of all, we feel guilty for letting things get so far. If we let it, that guilt can consume us and make us feel worthless.
But feeling guilty does us no good. In fact, it usually hinders our ability to turn the situation around. By maintaining a more positive outlook, we can see things more clearly and work toward eliminating our debt. Here are some things you can do to let go of your guilt:
* Learn from your mistakes. Take an objective look at how you ended up in so much debt, and see what you could have done differently. Don’t dwell on it, just file it away for future reference.
* Talk to your creditors before things get out of hand. If you do, they will often be willing to work with you. But if you avoid them until you’re way behind on your bills, they will often try to make you feel guilty because they think that you just aren’t interested in meeting your obligations.
* Work out a budget that will allow you to pay more than your minimum payments. Even a few extra dollars each month will allow you to pay your debts off faster.
* If you can’t do it on your own, talk to a credit counselor. He can help you come up with a workable budget and teach you about money management. And if necessary, he may be able to negotiate with your creditors to lower your payments and interest rates.
* Realize that if you have a massive amount of debt, bankruptcy may be your only chance at a fresh start. It can be a hard pill to swallow, but it will eliminate your debt worries. Accept that you tried your best to avoid it and use what you’ve learned to manage your money better in the future.
Guilt is a powerful emotion, and it can hinder our efforts to make things right. By letting go of guilt, you give yourself a better chance of recovering from debt.