Monday, May 20, 2013

Need Motivation to Pay off Debt? Read these Articles

I’ve been seeing more and more articles these days -- and have even written a few of my own -- about paying down and paying off debt.  For as much as people like to complain about not being able to pay off debt or not knowing how, there are wonderful examples all over the Internet to help educate us.  Here are a few -- including a couple of my own -- that I find include some valuable takeaways regarding debt and how to combat relatively large amounts of debt in fairly reasonable timeframes.

Our Debt Stories
Between the two of us, my wife and I managed to pay off not only my smaller amount of student loans, but hers as well -- for a total of right around $50,000 -- in about three years.  Beyond that, we’ve managed to own our home outright just five years after first becoming homeowners and otherwise stay debt-free through our having two children and my becoming self-employed.

Here are three articles that I’ve written about how we managed such feats doing not much more than living below our means and paying off debt as quickly as we felt comfortable.

Joe Mihalic: $100,000 in 7 Months!
The other day while on CNBC.com, I ran across the story of Joe Mihalic and his quest to pay off $100,000 in student loans.  Given, Joe is a Harvard Business School grad making pretty decent money; still, I think that there are some valuable lessons of what to do -- and not do -- related through this story.

Joe discusses his successes and failures in paying off his student loans, why he decided to make such a push to pay them off quickly, and how he managed to do so in just seven months.  He’s even managed to make his story pay by way of his blog, NoMoreHarvardDebt.com and an e-book, “Destroy Student Debt: A Combat Guide to Freedom”.

The Baileys: $92,000 in 5 Years
The Baileys’ story might be one that’s a bit more relatable to many people.  While the numbers may be a bit more extreme, the situation -- debilitating credit card debt -- is a common storyline among many families these days.

Their story, which I stumbled upon while at dailyfinance.com, relates some of the trials and tribulations surrounding the paying off of approximately $92,000 in credit card debt in just five years.

The articles sums up with some advice from the Baileys for those with credit card debt:

“"First, sit down and do what we did: Add up everything you owe," says Bailey. As hard as it may be to face the total -- be it $9,000 or $90,000 -- it's important to know where you stand and to face the problem before it gets even worse.

Also recognize the emotional toll the debt can take: "Being in debt is like being in prison. You can't do what you want when you want to do anything," Bailey says. And then think about what it will be like when you are debt-free. For Bailey, "It's an incredible feeling to be as generous as you want to be to help others in need."”

These are just a few of the many, many success stories out there regarding paying off debt.  While such stories might not fit everyone’s personal financial situation, they can provide valuable information as to some of the basic strategies involved in tackling debt.

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