BY: BYRON MOORE, CFP®
posted April 16, 2018
Question: Someone talked me into consolidating a bunch of credit cards I had with high interest rates. Now I have no idea how I ever made it when paying on all those cards each month. They said I would be able to save the money, but I haven’t been able to. What do I do now?
No one talked you into doing anything. You chose to do it.
You actually do know how you made it when paying all those credit cards. You paid them each month, high interest and all.
And once you no longer had the legal obligation to pay the credit card bill each month, you continued to do what you did before – spend every cent you legally could.
You told yourself the problem was the interest charged by the bank, the credit card company, the automobile finance company or any number of other interest charging entities.
The problem isn’t credit card interest.
The problem is self-interest.
What does bank or credit card interest cost you? 18%? 21%? Maybe 30% in some cases?
But self-interest is costing you 100%. What do I mean?
Self-interest is that little voice inside of you telling you it’s not your fault. It’s the bank’s fault, the credit card’s fault, your wife’s fault for spending too much, your bosses fault for paying you too little, your Momma’s fault for not teaching you about money and your daddy’s fault for leaving when you were three (is this sounding like a country and western song yet?).
And the funny thing is that self-interest, in the long run, is not in your self-interest!
You can tell by now the reason self-interest is so much more expensive than bank interest has nothing to do with interest rates (or any kind of math) and everything to do with human nature.
You can—you must!—free yourself from the clutches of self-interest. But it won’t be easy and the process won’t be smooth. Because you’re fighting against your worst enemy – yourself.
The good news is you can (and should) be your greatest ally in this war. So decide whose side you’re on and get busy! How?
Get real. Nothing will happen until you stop blaming others and begin accepting responsibility. You got yourself into this mess. You can get yourself out of it… but not until you face up to the reality that the main driver in your success or failure is you.
Get help. That doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. Worlds of opportunity will open up to you once you accept responsibility for yourself. Find a friend or a pro that can help you put a budget or spending plan together that includes debt reduction and systematic savings.
Get an action plan. Plans are necessary to know what to do but it is the doing that gets the results. Make sure that any plan you formulate has specific action steps so you can know what to do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
Be accountable. Bad habits have more lives than a howling cat. Ben Franklin said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good at anything else.” So find an excuse-hating Ben Franklin type to hold you accountable to your action plan. This kind of person believes in you, but not your excuses. That’s a good person to have in your life.
Be persistent. The journey won’t be smooth and there will be pain involved. Persist. It won’t kill you, though you may think it will at first. Change is never easy, just necessary.
You can do this.
So do it.
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