You’re In Debt and That’s Okay

I’ve spent years reassuring people that their debt does not define them. Despite my insistence that the future is bright and bills will get paid, their outlook was always overpowered by the looming fear that debt was bigger than their ability to get rid of it.

If I could shake them with my own hands I would. But to avoid being arrested, I opted for an empathetic and soothing conversation to help them remain rational.

Of the thousands of conversations I had, one phrase they all had in common was, “You’re in debt and that’s okay.”

I have zero problem admitting that I’m in debt too. Mine is concentrated in the “educational zone” which is arguably equally as horrific as any other type of debt. I was very much hoping that a corporate perk of becoming a financial analyst for Verizon would be that they would eliminate that for me. I’m still waiting on that to happen as my interest rates continue to pillage my loans.

If you’re reading this or just a breathing human being, I will generalize and say that you probably have debt as well. If you don’t have debt I hate you applaud you wholeheartedly. But I will venture to guess you’ve likely endured some type of financial hardship.

In a study conducted last July by the Urban Institute, “an alarming 77 million Americans—35 percent of adults with credit files—have debt in collections.”  The really sad part? That number doesn’t even include people who don’t have a credit file with the credit bureaus.

Basically, this means that 1 out of every 3 Americans has debt that is past the due date. Typically, the due date exceeds the 180 day leeway creditors allow you to be late on your bill. Essentially, 1 out of every 3 Americans is blocking phone calls from unknown numbers.

Why it’s important to know this is to know that you’re not alone. To ever assume you’re the only one experiencing anything is insane in itself. Even your most disgusting body discoveries likely have web pages full of others who had the same disgusting growth. (Just because you’re not the only one with a weird body “thing” doesn’t mean it’s not gross).

Because we’re all experiencing debt as a nation, debt collectors are no stranger to your inability to pay. Hence the 5 million phone calls they’re making to you and your friends.

In some of those conversations I had with my previous clients, I was always astounded by the number of people allowing debt to cripple them. Don’t get me wrong, debt can be a scary thing if you let it. But that same mentality can be true for just about anything you allow dominate your life and ignore it.

Then there were days where my clients would leave me in silence. That silence equated to me either being at a complete loss for words or scared shitless.

Craziest Debt Threats I’ve Ever Heard:

  • I don’t have a place to live but I need to pay these creditors.

  • I might as well just go down to the river and end it.

  • The stress I’ve developed from debt has given me diarrhea and is causing my hair to fall out.

  • I told the creditor if they didn’t stop calling I would drive down to their store and shoot them with my gun.

The last comment ended up landing that guy a restraining order from the creditor because terrorist threats are kind of frowned upon.

Re-reading them encourages me to assure you that these are 100% authentic. It’s astounding because it’s a little uncomfortable to be on the receiving end of these comments but it’s even more astonishing that debt has was the underlying instigator.

While outrageous as they may be, this tends to be the widely accepted mindset of debtors. That is not okay. What is okay, is acknowledging that it’s real and it exists. Once you’ve done that, you need to make a game plan. Just knowing it’s there then ignoring the notices will have you Google-ing your nearest armory.

If you’re aware you have debt and have no clue where to start, there are hundreds of websites to help including this one. Signing up for a website to help manage your money is only as efficient as understanding it. If you need a translator, a detailed debt plan or just some advice, contact me! Just don’t say anything crazy or it might end up on here…anonymously, of course.

2 thoughts on “You’re In Debt and That’s Okay”

  1. While I secretly want to rage punch you for being debt free….CONGRATS! That’s pretty badass and no amount of creditors calling you, incorrectly, can ruin that. In the meantime, I suggest a quick “Per the FTC if you keep calling I will end you,” should suffice 🙂

  2. Ah, able to comment again. Feels so good. http://i0.kym-cdn.com/entries/icons/original/000/006/077/so_good.png

    Not to be THAT GUY, but I don’t actually have any debt. The wife just paid off her car, all of mine are paid off, and we pay off our credit card every month (free rewards – they pay US to shop). I’m not rich, I just suffered a LOT in my early 20s and only bought what I could pay for in cash.

    That… does not stop creditors from calling us, though, because apparently the phone number I have now used to be owned by a deadbeat that bought a brand new Cadillac, a brand new phone, and some kind of financed laptop and just never paid a dime of it. And now no matter how many times I tell them I’m not her and it’s a different line, they still call back. Maybe I should try that death threat thing… a restraining order means THEY can’t call ME too, right? Works both ways…?

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