Seven Myths About Debt You Might Believe (at Your Peril)
Seven Myths About Debt You Might Believe (at Your Peril) Debt is the sort of subject that people keep to themselves. There is a lot of interior monologue going on about debt, but not much real conversation.
In that kind of climate, a lot of wrong beliefs can spring up. While some mistaken ideas about debt may be academic matter or of not much consequence, some can be serious.
In fact, to really tackle your debt problem you have to understand it. Part of that means understanding your own spending habits and personal situation. I can't help you there.
But the other part means understanding debt and how it works.
Here are seven common myths people believe about debts.
The first: debt is a recent phenomenon.
Many of us think that it is our modern, overextended lifestyle that contributes to debt and that in ancient times, people just did not have the same problem with money that we do. That's not true. Provisions for bankruptcy protection appear in the United States Constitution (1763).
Debtors' prisons were common in the industrial revolution. And in Biblical times, people who were in debt might sell themselves into slavery to appease a creditor. The truth is debt has been around about a half hour after the creation of money.
The second myth: debt shows a lack of character.
Now it is true that a disreputable person can easily get himself or herself into debt, but debt is not in and of itself a character flaw. Debt occurs because of a convergence of unfortunate financial circumstances. This may be avoidable or unavoidable. However, the debt that results does not prove anything about the person who has it.
Debt is a problem, but it's not evidence you are a failure.
The third myth: debt is just something you have to live with.
This is a dangerous myth because debt is like a bleeding wound. You really cannot afford to leave it untended too long.
I sometimes think that debt is a lot like obesity. If that is your problem, you have to fight it. You can't afford to ignore it or pretend it's not a problem.
Debt robs you of your future prosperity; it drains the resources you and your family need.
The fourth myth: everybody is in debt.
It's easy to see why people believe this, because so many people are massively in debt. But do you know what? A good many people have no debt. In fact, the majority of people in the U.S. have manageable amounts of debt in proportion to their incomes. Overwhelming debt is not something most people deal with.
That's good news if you have overwhelming debt. Do you know why? It means it's possible to live another way. In fact, most people do. If they can do it, so can you!
The fifth myth: it takes forever to get out of debt.
That myth is true if you just wish you were out of debt or you have some lackadaisical approach to it. Do you know that there are coaches who can take an unfit person and train him or her to complete a marathon in six months? People can lose 100 pounds in a year. Some people can make a fortune or complete a degree in four years. The point is that great things can be accomplished even in unlikely individuals if you do two things: get a plan and follow the plan.
People have paid off very large debts in fairly short amounts of time with the right plan and coaching.
The sixth myth: debt doesn't matter.
Fortunately, this one is not as common as some of the others. However, it's very destructive. Typically, people who buy into this myth grew up in households that were very comfortable with high amounts of debt. This does not always create the proper perspective for future financial security!
Debt wastes large amount of your money and can cause your family to burn up high amounts of income on average-levels of lifestyle.
The last myth that people believe about debt is that you can't handle debt (you need to hire an expert to help you).
It is true that there are lots of people and businesses who specialize in helping people with debt. But be very careful. To enjoy good financial health, you have to learn how to take care of your own money.
This means that handing over a large amount of money to a debt company that promises to take care of your problems (so you can walk away) may be a dangerous decision. Here's why. If you don't understand what they're doing with your money, you are giving them a good opportunity to rip you off. It can be the financial equivalent of handing your wallet to a stranger and saying, "Take what you want."
Second, if you don't know how you wound up in debt, you won't be able to get out.
Debt consolidation is an approach to handling debt but it's a term that is frequently used carelessly online. Technically, debt consolidation just repackages or reorganizes debt in a way that makes it more favorable.
However, many companies who offer to settle or negotiate your debt (get your creditors to take less than you owe) call their services debt consolidation. There are a lot of myths out there about debt and how to manage your debt. An education can be the best defense!
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