It's probably not news to you that debt has a negative impact on your life. But when I work with families, I can't tell you how many times we find money being the sneaky root of many problems. From strained relationships between mom and dad who are busy blaming each other for financial woes to kids who long for the quality time they miss as parents work longer hours to catch up. The cost of debt is really more than truly adds up. If you're in a money crunch, here's a few reasons you might want to kick debt to the curb.
Debt increases stress. According to some research, money worries are the number one cause of stress in this country. And as you can imagine, that stress does little to make your family life picture perfect. Whether parents are working more to overcome debt or spending too much time worrying about how to make ends meet, the stress that fills the home when debt is taking over hurts everyone from the tallest to the smallest.
Simple stress reduction techniques can help reduce the emotional strain, which can give you the energy boost you need to reduce your debt. Small money woes can begin to turn around withmoney saving techniques like those shared by Erin Odom in her book, More Than Making It. When large debts are looming, seeking the support of professionals like Nationwide Debt Direct can offer tools to get things back on track.
Debt strains communication. We all go into marriage with our own ideas about money. Often times young couples don't recognize how differently they view money until it's already started wreaking havoc on the relationship. When my husband and I were newly married, with a couple young kids money was at the core of multiple conflicts from who was working too much to who busted the budget that week by overspending. As small debts became bigger the stress of how to reduce monthly payments and save for fun caused more than a few restless nights.
At the time, we were "green" as my mother might say and suffered in silence. But as a seasoned wife of close to 20 years now, I know that seeking support from concerned, family members or a trained professional is so much better than letting things get worse. Agreeing to professional help can be scary, but from personal experience I can tell you that the clarity that comes from even a few sessions can do a world of good.
Debt cripples your dreams. Recently, a mom asked a question on Facebook about whether or not to encourage her daughter to take out private loans for college. Last checked several hundred comments later, the overwhelming response was no. While many romances are created in college the 1.45 Trillion dollars in debt that begins there threatens to destroy the very love that is blooming. This debt can cause people to take on jobs or work schedules they don't want or even keep them from their dream house with the picket fence.
The best solution here of course is avoiding debt all together, and it's not as tough as you might think. In the last year or so, my husband and I had some tough conversations with our now college freshman as she had to choose between a state school and minimal debt and the private school of her dreams to the tune of $14,000 a year. Knowing the damage that student loans can do, we encouraged her to seek private scholarships which provide opportunities to chip away at the rising higher ed costs. The Nationwide Debt Direct scholarship is one that boasts simple application steps and a sizable chunk of college cash. Others can be found on sites like Scholly for a small monthly fee.
With a few #smallsteps in the right direction, you can protect your family from debt disasters and protect your bright future.