Many people today think it is completely acceptable to live beyond their means by supplementing their income with debt. Many have used credit cards to indulge their desires, neglected to save for emergencies or retirement, and purchased way too expensive homes and cars. Does this sound like anyone you know?
Have you found yourself thinking, saying, or doing any of the following?
- Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired
- Not thinking about your debt issues makes the problem go away
- Feel stressed out every time you sit down to do your bills
- You and your partner fight over money
- Do you have too much month at the end of your money
- Do you keep doing the same thing over and over and expect different results
“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” – Tony Robbins
If you are like me, this was my life just a few short years ago. I was financially and mentally recovering from two divorces in seven years and was at the lowest point of my life. The two divorces were only part of what got me to this low point; I had been living an unhealthy financial life my whole life, because no one taught me about money.
I woke up one day and had enough. I had finally hit rock bottom with the pain of my world crumbling around me, and to add insult to injury my massive debt was more than I could handle. I had always heard that a person never really makes changes until they feel so much pain while hitting rock bottom that there is nothing left but a shell of a person, as well as nowhere to go but up.
To quote Tony Robbins one more time – “All personal breakthroughs begin with a change in beliefs. So how do we change? The most effective way is to get your brain to associate massive pain to the old belief.”
As you can probably tell, I was at the point that I associated almost everything about myself and how I lived with pain. Now, I’m hoping that many of you reading this are not at rock bottom as I was, but I’m sure if you are still here reading this you are associating your debt with some level of pain.
Pain and debt are directly proportional. Debt goes up – pain goes up, debt goes down – pain goes down.
Debt = Pain
No Debt = No Pain
Or you could say, that debt is inversely proportional to freedom: in other words debt goes up – freedom goes down and debt goes down freedom goes up.
Debt = K/freedom where K = constant of proportionality
You’ve probably figured out by now that I’m a nerd. I mean when was the last time you heard debt put in to a formula with pain and freedom. But, long story short I needed a paradigm shift to change the fundamental way I thought about life and money. Or as my dad would say “I needed a swift kick in the butt“.
So, for the last three and half years I have made a substantial change in how I live my life in all ways including my financial life. Being an engineer I decided I would go drastic and came up with three rules to live by that would change my life NOW!!!!
- Zero Cost Of Living
- Zero Responsibility
- Zero Drama
Zero cost of living is not easy, but at the time of my last divorce I was trying to keep up with the Joneses, and I don’t even know who the Jones are. So, over the past few years I have reduced everything I could possibly reduce. I cleaned house, from getting rid of cable, to motorcycles with loans I cut everything. Once I reduced everything I could, I set out to bring in residual income over and above my job income that was equal to, or more than the remainder of my cost of living.
Zero responsibility is a hard one because I have children. If I could reduce my responsibilities in life by 25%, I would feel like the weight of the world would have been lifted off my shoulders. Well my wife left me so there was 150% of my responsibility gone right there. What I had thought was the worst thing ever turned out to be a blessing. OK I’m joking, being single and in debt sucks just as bad Plus, If you and your spouse can work together to get rid of responsibility and debt together it will build an even stronger relationship.
In my case, I sold three rental properties that had positive cash flow, but not more than then annual expenses. I never had enough in my pocket to repair them when needed. Also, these homes where not paid for. I would advise that if you get into rentals, you buy them outright or simply, don’t get into rentals. I also started learning to say no to every request that came in for help from family and friends and started not being so available, and that included helping team members at work with their projects. I would have to say I have reduced my responsibility by more than 50% and I can say “Life Is Good”. I’m not saying don’t do anything nice for anyone ever again, but to pick and choose wisely who you want to give your time and energy to. The funny thing was that reducing my responsibilities in life also helped me reduce my debt. I had more time to focus on me and who I wanted to become in my new life, instead of buying beer and dinners for everyone who I was helping.
Zero drama well I’m not sure I even need to explain this one. All I will say here is find the drama in your life and end it. If you are in a dispute with someone, such as what happens most often in a divorce. Sometimes you need to step back and take your blinders off, and ask yourself do I really want Aunt Millie’s old sock collection? Why am I fighting over stupid things, sometimes it is better to just let go and let the other person win. I feel another formula coming on.
Losing a drama battle = Winning (no drama)
So, you are probably asking yourself what does all this have to do with debt? You may have been thinking I was going to give you some secret easy way to snap your fingers and get out of debt. I’m here to tell you there is no easy way short of winning the lottery, and you and I have a better chance of getting struck by an asteroid than winning the lotto. In fact, here are some numbers for you just to keep my nerdiness going.
- Winning a big lotto jackpot (1 in 292,201,338)
- Being killed by an asteroid strike (1 in 700,000)
- Being an American billionaire (1 in 575,097)
- Being killed by a lightning strike – (1 in 164,968)
- Die by drowning (1 in 1,113)
- Be struck by lightning, while drowning (1 in 183 million)
I’m sure that many of you feel as I do that living with massive debt, is just like getting hit by lighting WHILE drowning. I’m here to tell you that getting out of debt is 80% mental and 20% hard work. There is no easy button or pill you can take. You have to feel enough pain that you are willing to make the changes needed to get it done, and then work your butt off.
Going forward in this blog series I will start to lay out the path to getting out of debt. Not all of it has to do with money, some of it has to do with changing the way you think about life and money. You will also have to break many well rooted habits and make positive changes.
Getting out of debt is not rocket science it just requires fundamental changes in your life habits. And as I say each day when I wake up “each new day is another chance to change your life”
I, along with Bobby Himell a leading expert with over 20 years in helping people with financial planning and getting out of debt, are taking our tried and tested common sense methods to create a path to end debt and building wealth, and provide this path to you through our video on demand series. This course will be based on what we call “Breadcrumbs: 12 Easy Steps to get out of debt and build wealth”.
Bread Crumbs to Financial Freedom: 12 Steps to get out of debt and build wealth
- Setting Goals:
- Developing a Written Budget:
- Starting a Rainy-Day-Fund:
- Increase Income/Reduce Expenses:
- Debt Avalanche:
- Expanded Rainy-Day-Fund:
- Pay Off Home:
- Family & Insurance Planning:
- Retirement Planning:
- Kids College Funds:
- Investment Strategies & Building Wealth:
- Live & Give:
Join Bobby and me at http://whyliveindebt.com where we are going to build a community of likeminded people that are feeling so much debt pain they are ready for change. Go there now and enter your email address to join our mailing list, and we will keep you up-to-date on everything that is happening in this new and exciting community, as well as the launch date of our new “Why Live In Debt video on demand course”
I look forward to working with each and everyone one of you in the near future, and remember, each new day is another chance to change your life – you just have to find the right path.
P.S. Please don’t forget to browse to http://whyliveindebt.com/first100 and sign up for our newsletter, and the first 100 people to sign up will get $15 off our exciting new course, Bread Crumbs to Financial Freedom: 12 Easy Steps to get out of debt and build wealth.
- 12 Steps To Financial Freedom – Take Action TODAY!!Why Live In Debt
- 3 Awesome Financial Recovery Tools You Should Be UsingTools Blog Why Live In Debt
- WLID: Living in Debt – A Financial Recovery DiscussionDiscussion Blog Why Live In Debt
- WLID: How to Eliminate Debt with the Debt Reduction Ripple EffectWhy Live In Debt
- WLID: The Daily Grind, Common Sense Ways To Reduce ExpensesWhy Live In Debt