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Rewrite Your Debt Story

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how to overcome your fear of debt

Debt can be crippling and stressful for some, for those struggling with repayments it can be a burden carried for too-many-years and sometimes it can be a barrier stopping us from moving forward in life. But debt can also bring us opportunity, abundance and a greater access to choice and control if we treat it sensibly and with respect while maintaining our own responsibility toward eventually repaying what is owed.

Changing one’s mindset toward debt can be a big challenge. Debt stories can come from our parents and our partners, can be heavily weighed by emotions, especially guilt and shame. But attaching these heavy emotions to debt keeps us stuck and blocked from shifting and changing our perspective of debt and our own money story. There is healthy and unhealthy debt, your own attitude and emotions will determine which kind of debt you have.

Shifting your beliefs around debt can take some deep healing work especially if its been carried by previous generations in your family. But once you rewrite your attitude toward debt, you can regain your power over it, and can begin to take charge, feeling empowered and motivated to repay it. Giving you the freedom you so desire.

Some people resent their debt. It feels like a burden, repaying it feels like a chore. There’s the interest to pay, the fact that paying it off means you can’t spend that money on other things…
But what if you shifted resentment to gratitude? What if… instead of focusing on the debt itself and its perceived burden, you focused on what that loan brought you?

Perhaps it was a wonderful holiday overseas. Go back thought the photos of that trip, re-live the experience, remember how much fun you had. Perhaps even list the highlights of your holiday. Re-naming your debt liability something positive such as ‘my adventures abroad’ will help you to see the positive experience you gained from borrowing that money. Consider creating a new savings account with this new positive name and send direct debits into this account from your every day account. From this new account, set up direct debit towards your repayments. Once the debt is repaid, continue to send money into the account so you can build up savings for a new experience overseas, one that is paid in full from your own savings, allowing you to have a debt free holiday next time.

Taking time to reflect on your money values and deep held beliefs around money can be revealing and challenging but may just help you to identify what needs to shift. Focusing on an abundance mindset over a scarcity mindset, appreciating what you do have, rather than what you don’t is always a helpful way to shift these feelings of lack and fear of never having enough.

Most Australians would not own their own home without first having taken out a loan.  Most successful businesses could not have launched without some kind of financial support.  Debt is not something to be romaticised or celebrated of course, but ultimately it is a means to an end.  Provided you borrow within your means and have a strategy to maintain on-time repayments debt can allow you to follow your dreams and build a wonderful life.  

There is no quick fix to overcoming financial hurdles, but rather many baby steps to rebuild habits and attitudes. Budgeting is an important part of this.  Aim to only spend what you have.  Learn to only buy what you need, not always buying the thing you want.  Determine the difference between 'needs' and 'wants'. Realising that ‘stuff’ doesn’t bring happiness can also help to shift spending habits, giving you more disposable income to put toward building up savings and pay off debt.

Setting up a Budgeting Account with Endeavour Mutual Bank may be a helpful way to regularly allocate your funds into savings as well as paying off debts so that over time you can rebuild your financial confidence.  Endeavour can also direct you to a financial counsellor if you are needing support getting back on track financially.  You can find out more by speaking with one of the friendly Endeavour staff on 1300 13 14 20 or visiting your local branch.  

Alison Gallagher is a freelance writer, resourcefulness expert and entrepreneur. She has been featured in various publications including Stellar Magazine, Australian Health and Fitness Magazine, and Cleo Magazine. Alison is particularly passionate about sharing practical tips on how to live simply, sustainably and seasonally.