Debt and Deeper Issues

Debt Have you been trying to gain control of your money issues but just never seem to get any traction?  I’ve talked to a ton of people over the years who have taken classes, written budgets, read books, and made every effort they could to get out of debt and try to make sense of their money.  But after a short period of time they’re back to the same old habits they’ve always had, ending up with more month than money and steadily adding to their pile of debt.

Why does this happen so often?  Is it because I just didn’t give them the right bit of information in my Celebrating Financial Freedom course?

Could that be it?

I knew it, it’s all on me.

Crap, I’m such a failure, where did I go wrong?

Wait, maybe just because someone has a little head knowledge about what it takes to change their finances, it doesn’t necessarily mean they get it into their heart or they actually change their habits

Yeah, that’s the ticket, (deep breath).  Whew!  Major self esteem crisis averted.

Ok I’m better now.

But seriously, why is it that many times, people that want to get out of debt and improve themselves financially don’t succeed, even after they have learned all the head knowledge necessary to do it?

I think a lot of the time it’s because there are deeper issues at work.  Maybe you had the experience of growing up poor and now you buy whatever you want, whether you can afford it or not, because you don’t want to ever feel poor again.

Maybe you’re a financial enabler because you show love to your kids, grandkids, or other family members by bailing them out of their bad financial decisions so they don’t really suffer any consequences.

Or maybe you never permanently change your habits because no matter how bad your finances get, you know good ole’ Gramma is going to come to the rescue.

My wife Angie and I had some personal experience early in our marriage with some of these issues. Financial issues were only some of the many obstacles that we had to address when we wound up in marriage counseling years ago.

I can definitely tell you from experience that tackling all of our issues, especially with an experienced Christian psychological counselor, is by far the best thing we have ever done for our money and our marriage.

Whatever the reason is, if you find yourself consistently failing to succeed at changing your financial habits, it may be a good idea to seek financial counseling to delve into those deeper issues that are holding you back from your own financial success.

You can contact the Financial Therapy Association to find a therapist in your area that can treat a variety of disorders such as financial dependence, underspending, financial rejection, financial infidelity, and financial enabling among others.

Are there any issues holding you back from getting your finances in shape or getting out of debt?

Leave a comment and let me know.

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Is Your Incentive Greater Than Your Pain?

American Consumers Love Debt

Sometimes Money Isn’t the Cause of Money Fights

How Do I Start a Budget?

How Do You Get Out of Debt? (Part 1)- Get Mad and Naked

About Dr. Jason Cabler

9 Responses to “Debt and Deeper Issues”

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  1. Michelle says:

    I think working with a mental health professional or an advisor can help illuminate issues that people don’t want to address or were unaware were an issue for them. As I clean up my finances I am finding that I am examining why I have the habits that I have. It’s not always a comfortable conversation to have with myself!

    • Getting therapy and learning to recognize things about your life that may not be what you want to hear can be tough. But in the long run it’s good for you because it forces you to recognize the things that are holding you back. When you’re able to see the forest for the trees, you can start putting the old things behind and move forward. Be blessed on your financial journey!

  2. What struck me about this post is I think it could have been written–without hardly changing a word or concept–about weight loss and dieting. Maybe there are some parallels between becoming physically fit and financially fit that could prove illuminating and helpful for people with either or both challenges.

  3. debtgirl says:

    The only way I could change my habits was take the drastic route of BK. Since last May I have not used a credit card. I filed in October. It has probably been 25 years or since I have lived with credit.
    I don’t think I could have gotten off the wheel without getting out from under the load, the interest and the stress.
    Now, I don’t ever want to pay interest again unless its mortgage. I still have a student loan, but once it is gone, its gone.
    I hope to save for my next car!

  4. You can do it! Sometimes it’s a long hard road with a lot of lessons learned, but once you decide you’re never going back, that’s when things really change!

    I have no doubts you can buy your next car with cash and get those student loans paid off. Just keep at it and don’t give up.
    Thanks for the comment!

  5. John says:

    I think your ability to pay off debt is more related to your ability to change your behavior than anything else. Head knowledge is great, but it only goes so far.

    Those who can change their behavior and stay consistent win in the long run.

    • I think you’re right, behavior is key. The old 80-20 rule applies here. Getting out out of debt or changing anything in your life is about 20% head knowledge and 80% taking action. Nothing ever changes if it’s just all in your head.

  6. Jerry says:

    I think clearly identifying your goals is insurance you will reach them. People don’t want to fail but if they aren’t clear about what they want it can lead them away from moving forward.

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