Breaking out of Credit Debt, Student Loans, and Financial Distress
Your loans and credit are as high as a mortgage, so you still can’t quite relax or enjoy your money the way you planned. Imagine giving away $5,000 and loving it every minute of it! What if you could pledge $2,500 to your favorite charity and not worry about it? That’s exactly what we did on Giving Tuesday for our favorite local charity and raised matching funds! Not bad if you consider I was once bankrupt! My husband and I are not completely debt free yet, but once you reach a certain level of income, it’s still important to give back and find a balance while you crush your financial goals. There are so many high performing professionals – managers, business owners, healthcare workers, and others, who love their career, but can’t seem to break out of debt. They are struggling with credit debt racked up during undergrad, or related to care giving responsibilities. If this sounds like you, don’t worry. There are ways you can get the financial freedom you deserve.
Visions from Before College
Before college, you probably thought about all the money you would make after getting your dream career. You would be happy, content, travel, and even be excited to pursue your career. Then, life happened. Throughout college, your credit card and student loans covered meals, plane tickets, books, review courses, and other necessities. Now, you have a pile of debt to tackle. At the time, you thought the debt was worth it. After graduation and starting your career, you would be able to pay it back, no problem right?
Wrong. Things didn’t turn out to be so easy, did they? That is alright, because you can finally free yourself from the chains that are wrapped around your ankles. You went to school to have a career and financial freedom. You can still achieve that goal.
Getting Stuck in Financial Chaos
Have you finally gotten into the career of your dreams? You are making that great salary you always wanted, but you still can’t get ahead. There aren’t enough people who are getting free from their financial restraints. The trouble is that many high-performing professionals went hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and no one accounted for taxes, car repairs, unexpected expenses, and the wardrobe it takes to look put together each day. Let’s not even talk about the interest rates compounding as you read these words.
You might have credit card debt, student loans, vehicle loans, or personal loans. After working so hard to get to where you are, you thought you deserved a luxury car or a high-end home. The payments on everything are becoming unbearable (the money barely hits your account before the payments come out). You can do something about it, though. You can free yourself and live the life you envisioned before college and before you went into debt.
Achieving Financial Freedom
You started off by saying you were going to attend college, graduate, and live a fabulous life. That vision of your life can still happen. You just need to create a budget. You should know where your money is going. Maybe you will do that by working with a financial advisor, CPA, or simply use an app or spreadsheet. It is going to take some commitment, effort, sacrifices, and most of all motivation, but you can get there (get to where you have a retirement plan and enjoy your lifestyle today, also). If you want to start benefiting from all your hard work, there are some steps you can take.
Shred those credit cards. The number one step to achieving financial freedom is to destroy your credit cards. (I do agree with having a card with perks or points for emergencies, but only if you use restraint). If you keep using them, the interest rates will keep you trapped and you will keep impulsively buying online.You can empower yourself by cutting them up and paying them off. You won’t have freedom until you do this.
Bring in multiple sources of income. If you only have one source of income, your company could fold, close or change. They could change your pay structure, perks and incentives any time. Ownership of the company or anything could happen. Those things are out of your control. You could be left with no income at all without any notice. If health insurance is attached to that source of employment and you lose it, that changes things as well. It could require a large out of pocket cost unexpectedly. Diversifying your income allows you to have flexibility, security, and better financial freedom.
Paying off debt. Meeting with a financial advisor or similar professional for accountability is one of the best things you can do to achieve financial freedom. If you want to be debt-free, you must pay off debt. It sounds simple, right? Well, without a plan to pay off the debt, you will keep moving backwards. Take a look at your finances, stop thinking you have it covered, and make a written plan with dates and deadlines. Don’t ignore bills that are piling up. Take action.
Create an emergency fund. After you destroy your credit cards and pay off your debt, or even while you are doing those things, you should start creating an emergency fund. No, this isn’t a fund, you can use when you want to buy that fancy new dress that just went on sale. It isn’t a fund that will cover going out to eat the next time you travel for work. This is an emergency fund, built up to cover at least 3 to 6 months of your expenses. If something happens, and life always happens, where you need extra cash, this is where you get it from…not from credit cards.
Control your finances. After you have a plan to pay off your debt, controlling your finances is going to feel good. You will have a plan that allows you to stay debt-free. You don’t need to rack in more debt to move to the next level of your career. There are other solutions.
Empower yourself. By reminding yourself of why you started down this life path, you can feel empowered. You can keep chiseling away and telling yourself that financial freedom is what you want and need. The process can be tough, but as long as you don’t give up, you can achieve your financial goals. Join a supportive community of high performers just like you for a place to share your #WINS at DrToniMDVIP.com.
Pay off your debts, so you can live the life you envisioned before you started chasing your dreams.
Check out my latest Youtube video – WHAT IF. Work instead of worry | MOTIVATIONAL and follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook – @drtonimd
About Dr. Toni A. Haley
Toni A. Haley, MD is a bestselling author, speaker, and certified executive coach for high performing women. She is also the founder and CEO of Williams Wellness Group. Dr. Haley is sought after by clients for her 25 years of experience in finance, healthcare, and wellness. Her proven strategies have helped hundreds of women break through personal and professional barriers, such as Perfectionism, Martyr Complex, and Imposter Syndrome. She is a proud alumna of Morgan State University and Ross University School of Medicine. Dr. Haley has committed her career to empowering women to achieve greater prosperity and wellness.