Less than 45% of us have any kind of savings for retirement. The simple reason is that we don’t pay ourselves first. We pay ourselves last – but since there’s no money left over right now, last means…well never. To start saving, most of us need to make some payments go away first in order to free up some money.
When our debt and payments start getting carried away, we can do one of three things: We can stay in denial and continue our optimism that it will somehow take care of itself.
We can get frustrated, depressed and throw our hands up, or we can have the courage and discipline to view these payments and debts in realistic terms and make simple and fundamental changes to turn things around.
Yes, it takes courage and discipline – nothing is easy, but it’s well worth it. After all, those who understand interest want to collect it. Those who don’t are the ones paying it.
An easy place to start is in the debt chapter of the It’s Your Money book on the step-up debt payments. It walks you through a simple example of $25,000 of debts and pays it off in less than one-quarter of the time with just $100 more each month.
Even if becoming payment free seems impossible, two easy things are to take your smallest monthly payment and do whatever it takes to pay it off. That alone frees up a bunch of money.
The second one is to cut $200 of your expenses each month. If you make it a game and not a pain and honestly look at every dollar going out the door you’ll easily do it.
We may not want to face it today, but at some point we have to change from a consumer mindset to a savings mindset. At that point it shouldn’t take a decade just to get back to zero in paying off your bills.
To have some different results, we have to do some different things. We have to make some better choices which are not based on old patterns, fixed beliefs or previous habits.
Because you and I have experienced it: When you run out of money, you run out of peace of mind.