Redefine debt management to breakthrough and come out stronger than ever. Debt management is a challenge you will surely overcome. It is a journey that will lead you to find yourself and become a better person. Bring your A-game, tackle debt management and seek the best solutions!
As the year draw closer to its end, it will come the time again where many of us will be reviewing our resolutions list. We may look at a checklist ticked off or end up staring at resolutions made a year ago and wonder what happened along the way. Some of us may feel that progress is minimal yet still feel positive about it. For financial goals especially on debt management, some of us might be left feeling frustrated that the debt figures has not changed much. Coupled with income appearing stagnant as well.
There is always a dilemma and ongoing mind battle on managing and clearing debt: Should I save more to clear debt? Or should I find more sources of income to reduce debt. Well, there is no definite answer for this question, but there must be a definite way that work for you.
I went through the experience of six figures debt comprising of credit card debt, personal debt and hire purchase loan in my early 20s. Today, I am in my late 20s with manageable debt levels and have found a few ways that work in clearing massive amounts of debt. I am able to relate to emotional and mental strain one faces daily living with a large amount of debt. The journey has not been easy, but it is definitely rewarding making progress surely but surely to reduce debt.
Debt is a Pressure Cooker
I remember the enormous pressure and stress when I received a pink letter from the bank. The helplessness is real when you see your phone ringing with calls from the debt collection departments every month end. Maybe some of you who have been or are in this situation can relate to this.
I am not going to sugarcoat or glorify my story but I am going to reveal the truth (as ugly as it may be sometimes). I remember the sleepless nights constantly worrying about the debt figures and seeing no way to resolve it within the given time frame. I felt cornered. I desperately wanted a way out and even looked for an Ah Long (loan shark).
Saying “Do not panic and stay calm” is easy said and makes a catchy meme but is not easy done. The most difficult part may actually be being unable to share this struggle and story with your family and friends. We tend to hide away things from our love ones as we do not want them to worry and feel burdened. Externally, you may be smiling but deep down your mind and soul is distant and distracted by debt.
I am here sharing my experience to reassure those of you who are experiencing this or have a loved one going through this. Congratulations for being brave in taking this journey! You are on the right path to seek help and find out how you can handle debt.
Making Thinking Right
Shifting your mindset and tweaking your emotions towards debt
DEBT: Draining Emotion Big Time!
The first thing is realizing that it is not the debt figure that is taxing and draining us. Instead, it is the mindset and emotion we have towards debt that is killing us!The feeling of being stuck, frustrated and helpless drains your energy and motivation! Sleepless nights of worry and insomnia will affect your physical and mental health!
It all starts with shifting your mindset and tweaking your emotions towards debt.
There are two forms of motivation in life – which is the carrot-and-stick concept. You can take managing debt as a negative form of motivation in life. You need to tell yourself that you will never allow debt to slow you down in pursuing what you want in life. In fact, you can confront directly having a high amount of debt by keeping a journal to constantly remind and prepare yourself to turnaround your financial situation. Surround yourself with positive people, positive quotes, and positive words from yourself and others. Strong and assertive self-talk are vitamins to help you power through every single day in this journey.
Work to redefine debt itself as a challenge which you will slowly but surely overcome!
Draining Emotion Big Time!Driving Enormous Break Through!
Your emotions are created by your motion. Being in debt can be a motivator to drive you to work smarter, grind harder, think further, knock on more doors, and simply hustle! You then make a leap out of your comfort zone instead of just sitting still!
Hence, have faith in your debt-recovery journey, it will definitely drive you to another level and be your new breakthrough in life! It is the opportunity to know that you can face challenges, recover, and even thrive!
Perhaps in this journey, you will find yourself in a new venture or a new career path, equipped with better skills and a strong believe system. You have no reason to slow down. You are not restricted by lack of resources. You are creative in your solutions and resourcefulness to work things out in life even when you appear to have no choice!
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!
Do It Now!
Debt management goals, monthly planning, regular savings, earning more, and managing debt simultaneously.
Once you are mentally ready to embrace the challenges ahead, let’s jump into the nitty-gritty of debt management.
First, get out a piece of paper or spreadsheet to create a debt management sheet. List down all outstanding debt balances whether from a bank or personal loan. It does not matter that you do not have money to pay it off yet. List everything and everyone debt. Write down every figure you are dealing with and then sum it all up. As long as have a crystal-clear figure of what you are dealing with, it is then just a matter of time to get it cleared. Be patient!
Next, set aside the absolute minimum to clear your outstanding minimum monthly payment. Once you have set aside the minimum monthly debt repayment, focus on the smallest total amount of debt in your spreadsheet. Work on just clearing the smallest debt until it is cleared!
Good job! Once the amount is cleared, color it GREEN or whatever color cheers you up and makes you happy. Pat yourself on the back and celebrate clearing the debt and keep yourself motivated as you start clearing the next smallest debt amount.
Record all monthly income you receive that can help you clear your debt faster whether it’s taking a few hours daily to drive Grab, sell items on Carousell, or that RM10 ang pau you received. Counting down the remaining repayment terms will help you visualize drawing closer to achieving your goal.
Don’t be afraid to seek help.
There are also many parties and resources ready to help you! You just need to be open and reach out.
A financial advisor can help you work out your debt management calculations and encourage you towards handling your debt clearing. And if you have the willpower, to work on clearing the highest interest debt first as an alternative to the snowball method.
Make a call to the bank and discuss with them in a responsible manner how to restructure your debt as they would want you to pay it back. For example, you can discuss on restructuring your credit card debt into a fixed term loan at a monthly rate which you can afford every month. It is not as difficult as you may think. Take the initiative to discuss with the bank officer and be honest on your current financial situation.
Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) also has a debt management agency (AKPK) with a debt management program to help you lower interest rates, realign your finances, and avoid harassment from debt collectors.
As you start managing all this, do not forget to feed yourself with more financial knowledge. Now that you have experienced the pain of making some wrong financial decisions, you are ready to grow in your financial education. You are prepared to be equipped to make better and wiser financial decision in the future. Read, learn, and share with others on what you have learnt including your journey in managing your debt effectively to help others.
Enjoying the Journey
Enjoy the miraculous turnaround by giving
I remember one of the most precious gifts I received from one of my mentors which is giving – even when you appear to not have anything to give!
I remembered going through the worst time in my life, and then having to deliver financial literacy training to university students. Throughout the debt-recovery journey, I learned and practiced the importance of giving. I learned about the power of giving. I learned about being grateful. I started practicing gratitude in various ways both big and small. I wrote and gave small notes thanking people who have helped me directly or indirectly every day. Finding ways daily to be thankful and give made me feel blessed and calm every day.
The more you give, the more you will receive. Gratitude will bring you very far, and you will never be the same person once you have known the amazing feeling of giving even when you are in debt.
Now, go out there, get yourself a journal, and write to yourself. Find and fan that flame that is in you. Reset your belief in overcoming this chapter in your life.
Get busy listing down all your debts if you have yet to do so. Know what is the outstanding balance and your debt from smallest to largest. Start planning and paying your debt repayment seriously and diligently every month.
Help someone in need today, even monetarily no matter how difficult the circumstances you are in now. If you have only ten ringgit left in your pocket, help a homeless person by spending two ringgit to buy them Milo or nasi lemak. You will enjoy the miraculous feeling that you are still able to help others and you are still blessed in many ways.
Remember DEBT stands for Driving Enormous Break Through!