Featured photo by Kyle Broad
How to Handle Your Debt Issues in 2017
Have you found yourself struggling under a pile of debt? You’re just one of millions of Americas facing this challenge. Don’t give up on your financial future just yet; it is possible to get out of debt with the right strategies and behavior changes. The average American household in debt owes over $15,000 in back taxes, student loans, mortgages, and credit payments. Numbers like this are scary, but instead of drowning in a sea of worry, it’s important to come up with a proactive plan to combat your debt and make your way into financial freedom. Your family can be well on its way to a solid financial future with these important tips.
Pick Your Payment Method
When it comes to paying off debt, experts generally recommend two payment plans: the avalanche method and the snowball method.
- The Avalanche Method:
If you have debt accounts that are quickly accruing high interest rates, the avalanche method could be a better way to tackle your bills. Organize your accounts in order of interest rate charged, from largest to smallest. Funnel all of available money towards the first account (retaining enough to pay the minimum balance on the rest of your accounts). Once that account is paid off, move on to the next. This helps reduce the amount of interest paid in the long run.
- The Snowball Method: The most common method recommended for debt payment is the snowball method. Organize your accounts in order of smallest to largest balance. Pay off the smallest account first, then move onto the next. Many people appreciate this tactic because it helps decrease the amount of accounts you’re responsible for more quickly.
If you’re unsure which method is best suited to your situation, it’s always advisable to talk to a finance professional. Whichever you land on, take time to get your debts organized; it’s the first step on the road to repayment, and can help you alleviate stress.
Improve Your Cash Flow
In order to have more money to put towards paying off your debts, you may need to find new ways to supplement your monthly income. Already work a 9 to 5 job? Consider taking on a weekend job for a few months. Walking a dog, watching your neighbors’ kids, or driving for Lyft can help you bolster your bank account. While you can make extra money a variety of ways, most people find it easiest—and most convenient—to head online. Securing an online job means making money from the comfort of your couch with skills you already have. In order to make an online freelancing job lucrative, you need to have plenty of time to decide, possess self-management skills, and prove to your employers that you can deliver what they ask for on time. Whether you find a job as a freelance writer or use your graphic design skills to create logos, there are plenty of ways to make money on the Internet.
Paying Off Tax Debt
Tackling tax debt is an entirely different equation. Unlike credit debt, mortgages, or student loans, the creditor behind these payments is a government agency, and they are more capable of enforcing serious consequences if you ignore their warnings. They may garnish your wages, seize your belongings, and even enforce jail time in the most serious of cases. It’s in your best interest to get these debts settled as quickly as feasibly possible.
Millions of Americans deal with debt each year, but when you find yourself under a mountain of payments, a bit of panic is inevitable. Fortunately, there are step-by-step ways you can begin tackling your debt and find yourself in a much better position by this time next year. Keep these tips in mind and start working on your financial future today.
Identity Magazine is all about guiding women to discover their powers of Self-Acceptance, Appreciation, and Personal Achievement. We ask that every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the current article they have written. In that way, and as a team, we hope to encourage and motivate each other, thus inspiring you to Get All A’s.
1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? Additionally, what are you still working on accepting? Now, we’re talking about resignation, rather stepping into, embraced, and owned.
I have accepted that it is impossible to please everyone. I struggled for years to fit in with what I thought were the “cool kids,” but in the end I was unhappy because I felt I could never be my true self.
I now accept that to be my true self, as an individual, means that not everyone will like me, and that I can’t please everyone. But I now understand that being myself brings to me the most fulfilling relationships.
2. What have you learned to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? On the other hand OR in contrast, are there elements of who you are that you’re still working on appreciating?
I have learned to appreciate my family more, flaws and all. When I was young, my parents had a very busy life, and struggled to just make ends meet in our family. As a result, I became resentful that they never spent enough time with my siblings and I.
Now I appreciate them more, because they worked so hard for our family, and I am grateful now that I can have a stronger relationship with them as an adult and have a truly fulfilling relationship with them.
3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? Tell us not only what makes YOU most proud but also share the goals and dreams that you still have.
The most rewarding thing I have ever done was when I decided to study abroad in Barcelona for a semester. I really felt like I broke out of my shell. Being in an unfamiliar place where you can’t speak the language is difficult, but I gained so much confidence in myself that I can achieve my dreams in life. I still have a passion for travel. I would love to become a travel writer one day and circle the globe!
4. Of course, we all have imperfections, or so we think. In truth, we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? Likewise, what imperfections and quirks create who you are—your Identity?
Sometimes, I get self-conscious that I’m too weird for people. For example, I love to spend the day inside reading books instead of partying all the time. Despite staying home, I’m actually love being with people. So a lot of extroverts don’t understand that I enjoy time alone too.
Not everyone gets that that is just me! I also have what I guess is a strange sense of humor. Some people call it an intelligent or witty sense of humor, and so sometimes my jokes fall totally flat. But this is all okay, because like I’ve said, that’s just what makes me, me!
5. “I Love My…” is an outlet for you to appreciate and express all the positive traits that make you…well…YOU! In fact, sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (We assure you!) Therefore, Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
I truly love my ability to connect with people through writing. To me, it’s one of the most magical things out there. It’s pretty crazy that you can create a made-up character or story and someone, somewhere, will feel like they are understood. It’s an incredible feeling.
That’s why I enjoy reading. Even if I just write personally for myself, I feel empowered that I can indulge in my imagination. Finally, I love my ability to have deep conversations with people. When people open up, I feel like our souls just meet in a space of harmony.
When we expose our humanity to each other, I think it’s just a very beautiful thing. Also, I can’t forget, I love my cat, Pancakes! There is simply no better pet out there.