Climbing Out of the Hole of Debt
Welcome to the Pits
You're broke. Worse, you're broke and you owe money. How much doesn't matter; the bottom line is that you are in debt, and you don't have the money to get out. If this sounds even REMOTELY familiar, welcome! I'm right there myself, so what do we do to fix this problem.
Rejoice! You have already made the effort to fix this problem by simply addressing and acknowledging the problem to come. But it doesn't change the pit that we are dumped into, be it of our own actions or consequences around our circumstances.
Still, what do we do? First, we need to get a job; not JUST a job to be paid for, but a vehicle to climb out of debt. Second, with the money you get, you need a Budget, YES, a budget; we'll explain the understanding of what an actual budget it. This also means having financial literacy to prevent us from having to fall back onto the same pit again. Finally, the most important thing to do is to discipline what we are spending with every dollar and cent we do. God willing, this will be better and longer-lasting for generations to come...
First, Get a Job...A Worthwhile Job!
Let's be real here. What point is it to be 'financially independent' or 'building wealth' when you have no money/job? None of this will even work if you don't even have that secured. So whether it's to get free information on job leads or visit a local work center (like NC Works), get a job first. Once you have that, THEN you can start the whole "get out of debt" concept. Even so, there are considerations to take in...
Finding the right job isn't just picking up an application from any nearby place. For all you know, the job offer may not be optimal for you or your needs. Therefore, it's also necessary to do some studying for your career choices as well as improving your craft. What can you do? What God-given talents and abilities do you have now that can be marketable? Helpful Tip: Ask Him by praying for His Guidance. IF you don't know Him, I recommend doing so. This is your financial future at stake, and not taking the time to invest in that future is not only fatal to the community around you, but it's also life-threatening to you as well, as your livelihood is now being stymied for the sake of working towards an insufficient paycheck.
Now don't get it twisted either. You can shoot for the moon while working in the clouds; meaning YES you can get a job to get some money in the pocket, but don't STOP with that job.
It's what's known as an 'in-between' job. In other words, you're working that job in-between getting the career field you need. There is a need for that job you are in now; getting a foundation of funds and capital while working on your personal craft/career.
I'm struggling to find that myself, but I know I'll get there as God has already got that job lined up...but I'm not there yet to receive it; not without disciplining myself into the responsibility that job will require of me to do that which God WILLS me to do. Long story short, to be worthy of that job, I must put in the work, even while at work.
Be Mindful of What You Do/Need
When getting a job, several things must be factored in to ensure you are getting the full benefit. Start with what you plan to make into a marketable skill; even simple labor work like carpentry or plumbing can be VITAL to finding employment.
Next, figure out what knowledge/certifications are necessary when pursuing your employment. Do you need them before starting or can you get them shortly afterward? Do you also need to get recertified after a period of time? Also, will it require on-the-job training or strictly theoretical work? This is just the tip of the iceberg of what to consider. Are you working at things that give you a sense of peace and purpose, that what you do leaves a lasting impact or furthers that business in the best course of action under the best practices available?
Finally, the amount of money you will be paid for. Is it just enough to keep your bills at bay, with no room beyond that? Can you cover your basics with discretionary spending to spare or are you stuck at paycheck-to-paycheck and that's as good as it gets? All of the above or none of the above? That's not for me to decide, but that is something people must consider.
Budgets Build Up, not Hold Back
Budget, the dreaded 'B' word that most people don't want to talk about. Why? It's too restrictive, I can't have all that I want, I don't have time for that, the reasons vary like food preferences, but the result remains the same: Budgets are bad.
So's being in debt with no way out only to dig yourself deeper.
Rather than dread and dance around the subject, start getting into the simple habit of accounting all of your incomes and expenses. Congratulations, you have now done a budget. What? You thought it was a list of all the stuff you should cut back on? Nope! It's a list, alright; of all the things you earned and spent based on a specific length of time. In most cases, its range happens to fall within a month. That's it. What you do in terms of where you spend or how much you make it the deal-breaker. Understand that if you are not willing to cut back or cut out, you have to be SAVVY with your spending. Otherwise, you WOULD have to 'budget;' and we already know how you feel about THAT...
Finally, with the knowledge you gain from listing your current status, you have a sense of where you can build up your financial muscles. Is the job you have sufficient to sustain all of this AND any emergencies that come up? If not, you'll need to not only make adjustments but also to find both a secondary line of income along with a job that has better pay and benefits that will ease the financial burden. You have to keep looking for better and better until you find the job that not only fits your needs but gives enough to comfortably spend 'discretionary income;' aka, money to burn. However, you may not want to burn it all away yet.
Be Financially Literate
You read that correctly. Financial Literacy. Reading. About Money. You're not out of learning things in life. Your finances are one of those things. Study up on what you need to do to make a difference. Attend finance workshops around town. Yes, they exist. Go to the library and read up on books that make a better sense of finances; especially finances in your life. How you go about it is entirely up to you, as one approach to finance is different from others.
Now, some of the savvier readers realized that I didn't mention the internet yet, if at all. The truth is you need to get to the hard copies FIRST before going online. It's easy to get swept up by the information left in the superhighway, but going TO the library is a two-fold bonus; first, it gives you a place to access existing hard copies to get a hold of and also free information without the need of ads or popups, and second, it allows you the possibility to find out additional information, such as workshops, job fairs, and local events to take full advantage of.
Yes, the net can provide the INFORMATION of these same things, but not the first-hand experience nor the community feedback from direct interaction with other physical people.
Finally, there are literary bookclubs on finances as well, albeit it a few. Go and discover them for yourself.
Discipline Your Dollars and Cents
There's only ONE difference between the poor and the rich...and no, it's not their wealth for the rich are just wealthy poor people. The poor lack the discipline of their dollars and cents to not only save but to invest in what they are saving. This is something that must take time; like tending to a garden or sustaining farmland.
Our forefathers and foremothers knew of this and took steps to provide as best if not a better living to their children and for some, their children's children. This requires an understanding of where you are financially speaking, action taken to get to that point, and a clear approach/teaching methodology so as to pass that action onto the next generation. Truth be told, this is a universal truth that most will ignore and for understandable reasons.
You can't get to tomorrow without going through today. So save today, FOR tomorrow.
However, don't be so miserly in saving that you forget your financial (bills and taxes), moral (meaning the community), and above all SPIRITUAL obligations (Tithing, people. That's what I'm getting at). Not having these things in place is tantamount to disaster.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Michael Rivers