CNBC published a study from Pew Charitable Trusts (which was published in July 2015) that 8 in 10 Americans are in debt of some kind. School loans, credit cards, home mortgages, etc. The debt is not limited to younger people but people of all ages… even into retirement.
My question is… Should you bring up the conversation of debt to others? Money is a heavy topic and most people do not feel comfortable sharing how much they make or if they have debt of some kind. They often don’t feel comfortable talking about money to their own families. The reality and true fact is that most people are in debt. How do we solve this problem? How do we help people get out of debt?
My answer: Conversation
I think debt and money should be brought up because if you feel like you are not alone and that others have been there too, it almost eases the burden you put on yourself. I think money should be part of an open conversation because it is a chance to inspire others to think that maybe they can live life differently and get out of debt.
If you read about our story, you know that we had a simple conversation with friends that opened up our thoughts about money and debt. We talked specific numbers with them. They opened up about their lives fully. It was totally comforting seeing others so content with where they were at financially.
If anyone knows my husband, they know he is a talker. I tell everyone that my kids take after their dad because they both love to talk. I am more quiet and reserved. I have told Greg tons of times that “our business is our business and no one else’s.” Thinking about that statement though…. It seems kind of limiting.
Since we took that trip to Virginia, I have realized that life isn’t meant to be hidden from others, but instead, I think it should be shared. Other people need to feel that they are not alone in things they are facing. It can be incredibly helpful and inspiring when others share their journey.
The benefit of having open conversations about things that are bothersome and a huge burden is others can help you find a solution.
Maybe you are so caught up in the mess that you can’t possibly figure out a way to fix your problem. Sharing your problem with others gives you ammunition to solve the problem as others may think of things in a completely different way. Having an arsenal of solutions can instantly relieve stress and equip you with an action plan.
That trip to Virginia and that conversation was exactly what we needed to turn our lives around. It became a way for Greg and I to have the discussion in our marriage about creating and living with a budget and regaining control over our finances.
When Greg and I really started looking at our finances after that Virginia trip, we came up with a plan of action. We knew we needed to get some things paid off and we were all about the debt snowball.
This is an example of how quickly the debt snowball can work when you are motivated to get stuff paid off. This is our example and I know that not everyone will experience the same thing we did, but I wanted to give you our story because I think it can show you that once you are motivated, getting out of debt can work.
In October 2014, we had a medical bill for Joey that we were making payments on. It was around $2,000. Our credit card bill at the time was $5,000, maybe a little more. We took the trip in October. We paid off our credit card in November, Joey’s surgery in December. We sold our 2012 Acadia in November and bought a 2004 Durango (aka BIG blue). We paid off our Toyota in January and we paid off the Durango in early February.
We had something like $7,000 dollars left on the Toyota in October and when we bought the Durango, we owed about $10,000 on it. The weird thing was that when we made this decision, it was like we had a whole new perspective on how to handle our money. We seemed so confused and lost until we actually came to that agreement. Once we decided to attack our debt, the stress was significantly reduced and we were paying things off quickly! God was working in our favor and He still is.
Maybe things won’t happen that quickly for you, but I am certain that once you start going after your debt, you will see the fruits of your labor very quickly.
I do not think that life should be kept within the confines of the home. I feel that we should be reaching out to others sharing our stories and helping each other however we can.
I used to think that it was cliché to talk about money to others. I do think that it can be tacky at times if done the wrong way, but if coming from a place where it can help others, money should be talked about.
Like I said before, my husband loves to talk. He will seriously tell the whole neighborhood how much money we make. To him, it’s just a number and it is just sharing our story. To me it was more of a personal thing.
I used to tell him to stop flapping his gums and that it made me uncomfortable and now I realize that he does it more to show people that if we can do this, anyone can. He is proud of us.
Being the introvert in the marriage, it is hard to get used to speaking about money openly, but I think these types of real dialogues are important to help others. I guess Greg is one up on me there.
I hope that if you are in this place where you need suggestions and help, you won’t feel bad or alone and you will feel like you can reach out to others. Find one person who you relate to well and who you can open up to about anything and ask for suggestions on how to move forward with a problem you are facing. If you need help with the direction you are going with finances, send me a message. We would love to help. If you need a good book to read, as always, I recommend Dave Ramey’s “The Total Money Makeover.”
What are your thoughts on this? Should you talk to others about money?
If you are interested in receiving a copy of our eBook: The Intentional Spending Guide: Tips we have used to pay off $78,000 of debt in 17 months, sign up to our mailing list!
By signing up, you will be the first to be notified of any new handouts, checklists or other great free stuff that will help you on your financial journey to creating the life you want! Don’t worry, I promise not to SPAM you and your information is safe.
Learn to budget like a ROCKSTAR!
Learn how to set up a budget that rocks, stay motivated, reduce your monthly expenses, and leverage your money like a boss! You will learn how to master and create the life you want. There is no need to be stressed about money! Sign up today!