Back in 2007 I had a business which failed. I had invested quite a bit of money into the business, but the recession and a municipal building project killed my business. I was left with a 6 figure debt and while I was paying it every month, I felt as if I was getting nowhere. It took a long time for me to admit that I was depressed. Sure, my business failed and I had tons of debt, but the worst thing was that I felt as if I was adrift at sea alone.
I was going through the motions of life feeling disconnected and stressed out but I didn’t think that I was depressed. My stress level was so high that I was hardly sleeping. I had horrific reflux. My hair was breaking. I ate a ton. I was tired all of the time. I had a ton of aches and pains including pains in my chest which convinced me that I was having a heart attack a few times, and I was only 28! Then one of those stupid commercials for some drug treating depression came on the television and I realized that good Lord, that was me!
But wait, everyone says that about themselves and every one of those pharmaceutical commercials that they play these days, don’t they? I had to find out of it was correct. Was I depressed? Was that what was wrong with me? According to a doctor which I insisted on paying in cash (I couldn’t let that charge show up on my healthcare report!) yes, I was depressed. Depressed? People like me don’t get depressed. I get moving. I had my Cher, “snap out of it” moment. How fair was it of me to wallow in self-pity when, quite seriously, no one had died. Sure, I owed a lot of money, but I should be able to handle it right?
That’s when I decided to make a plan. If you have no plan you will blow with the wind and never feel as if you are making any progress. My plan was quite simple. Don’t add more debt to the balance and focus on one thing at time until I was left with the two largest bills. It’s taken me a few years, but I’m almost left with just my two largest bills.
If you have debt but are not sure what to do or where to go, I highly suggest that you start at the beginning.
- List out all of your debts
- Determine which debts you would like to pay first. Some pay the highest interest rate, some pay the lowest balance
- If you have defaulted on your debts try to negotiate with your creditors
- Take advantage of debt repayment calculators to determine when your first loan will be repaid
- When one loan is paid direct payments for that debt to remaining debts
- Try to make more money that you can direct specifically to your debt
- Try to work on a cash only budget, paying for the things that are needed with cash only
- If you’re not opposed to it, try creating a budget by picking up some budgeting tips.
These tips are only a starting point, but the most important one, if you’re stressed out, is to talk to someone. It doesn’t have to be a professional. Find a close friend that you can share your troubles with. Sometimes just talking to someone can help immensely.