According to The Federal Reserve, Americans have accumulated almost $1 trillion in revolving debt (credit cards, personal lines of credit, home equity lines. etc). Nerdwallet’s annual analysis of American household debt found that the average U.S. household carries almost $7,000 in credit card debt from month to month. Additionally, when you add in money owed for debts like mortgages, student loans, or cars, that total skyrockets to over $135,000! All this debt is not without its consequences- our health is declining, we don’t have enough saved for retirement, and many marriages are still headed for divorce.
But, there’s good news. You can change your habits. You can overcome debt. You can be free of its burdens. And when you do, your health, financial future, and relationships all benefit. You don’t have to be a statistic. Read on to find out how getting out of debt can change your life and your relationships!
5 Ways Getting Out of Debt Can Transform Your Relationships & Outlook
1. You become more positive
Debt brings a ton of negative emotional consequences with it- stress, fear, anxiety, depression, resentment. Getting out of debt means freedom from the bonds of these life-wrecking consequences. When you’re under stress, you’re more likely to snap at your spouse, kids, or coworkers. Stress decreases your ability to get restorative sleep, leaving you feeling depleted before the day even gets started. You’re more likely to resent others over what they have or what can do when you are drowning in debt.
When the burdens of debt are lifted, your outlooks shifts. You feel physically lighter. You become a more optimistic person. Without as much stress and anxiety in your life, you experience more peace. You have reserves of optimism, patience, and energy again because you aren’t living from a place of lack.
Plus, tackling a big life goal like getting out of debt builds confidence. That confidence spills into other areas of your life, leaving you optimistic about your future and your potential.
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2. You Build A Better Union
Money issues are a large driver of divorces in America. Whether it’s due to different financial goals, varying spending and savings habits, or resentment over income variations between spouses, issues with money can cause a lot of spousal strain. All the physical, mental, and emotional stress of debt is doubled in a union, taxing relationships. Communication suffers, arguing increases, and home becomes a place nobody wants to be.
Getting out of debt- together- is a great way to build strength in your marriage. Achieving a debt-free lifestyle takes commitment, strong communication, willingness to work together when setbacks occur, and a focus on achieving a common goal (sounds a lot like what it takes to achieve a successful marriage, doesn’t it?).
Going through the process of paying off debt improves communication with your spouse because you have to spend time talking about money and making decisions together. You have to rely on each other to achieve the goal. Similar to surviving a tragedy or life crisis, working hard to achieve a big, audacious goal with your spouse can strengthen your union because you have weathered a life storm together. You have had to encourage each other, rely on each other, and motivate each other to cross the finish line.
3. You Become a Stronger Parent
You become more financially reliable
There are many ways getting out of debt can improve your parenting situation. Financially, being debt-free enables you to save for your children’s futures, like investing in their college funds or being able to support them in sports or extracurricular activities.
Having money in an emergency fund keeps you from going into debt for expenses children often bring (hello, broken arms & braces). This helps you feel less stressed and anxious, which makes you a more enjoyable person to be around.
You become more playful
Without the burden of excessive debt, you have more energy. This energy can be devoted to spending more quality time with your kids instead of spending it being worried about finances.
You create a more peaceful home environment
Less fighting with your spouse about money means more peace in your home. Children are perceivers. They feel the tension and stress that comes from a life of debt. On the other hand, they will also perceive the peace that will come into their home as a result of your decision to become debt-free.
You become a financial resource & inspiration
Paying off debt will teach you many financial lessons that you can pass on to your children. You can inspire them with your journey and teach them financial literacy. Educating your kids on how to handle money well is one of the greatest lessons you can give them in life. It teaches them the value of hard work and to appreciate what they have. It shows them how to use their resources wisely and how to live within their means. Teaching your kids about money helps them understand generosity, budgeting, goal planning, and living a life focused on priorities.
4. You Change Your Family Tree
In his book, “Teaching with Poverty in Mind”, Eric Jensen discusses the 6 types of poverty: situational, generational, absolute, relative, urban, and rural. Generational poverty “occurs in families where at least two generations have been born into poverty.”
The good news is that just because a person was born into generational poverty doesn’t mean they can’t escape that cycle. You can break the bonds of debt and change your family tree. You can be the one who gains financial knowledge and applies it to transform your family, both now and in generations to come.
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5. You Become More Altruistic
Just as you can’t draw water from an empty well, you can’t be generous with your money when you have no money left. Getting out of debt allows you to focus the income you make on your priorities instead of on your bills. You can give generously to charities, or give money freely to those in need.
Not only can give freely of your money, but you can also give of your time and financial wisdom. Once you get out of debt, you have developed a skill set you can use to assist and inspire others. You can help a struggling friend develop a budget or encourage a family member who is walking the path to financial freedom. You can share your story with others and motivate them to launch their own debt-free journey.
Debt-free Living Transforms Your Relationships & Perspectives
Getting out of debt transforms your finances, improves your health and relationships, and refines your life perspectives. While it certainly isn’t easy, the journey is always worth it. I’ve never met a person who worked to be debt-free that regretted it.
It’s time to cut the ties that bind us to debt, stress, and dissatisfaction to pursue a life of wealth- a life rich in relationships, experiences, and priorities.
Download the free goals printable to help you set, track, and achieve your financial goals!