4 Reasons You Aren't Escaping The Debt Cycle
While the reasons vary and debt in and of itself is not an indicator of a person's character, cyclical debt is highly problematic.
Unlike a single instance of debilitating debt caused by inexplicable bad fortune, cyclical debt is the yo-yo dieting of the financial realm. Individuals make poor money management choices, suffer the consequences, file bankruptcy, do OK for a bit, and then find themselves in the same position seven years later.
This pattern is unequivocally different than that of someone who has just had bad luck and didn't learn from their experiences. Cyclical debt is much more serious. It typically implies some form of inaction on the part of the indebted, but those involved still feel clueless as to why they remain in the debt cyclone.
Here are just four reasons the cyclically indebted find themselves time after time avoiding unknown callers who could be collection agencies, scrimping at the end of the month to try balancing bills and putting food on the table and unable to answer why money is tight.
1. You Lack Time Management
No, not that type of time management — although that can lead to problems as well — this category involves not balancing the past with the future in the present moment. If you live your life always looking backward or worrying incessantly about the future, you distract from the in-the-moment decisions you make. By thinking about other times that are not this very moment, you inevitably lull yourself into inaction.
However, the catch is to not live only in the moment. The balancing act involves recognizing what has happened in the past just enough to let it give direction to how you want your future to unfold, enough so that it guides your present actions.
Set your gaze to the future, but make sure to carry the lessons from the past as you decisively place one foot in front of the other in the current moment.
2. You Embrace The ‘Me/Us Versus Them Mentality'
Isolationism is often a debt downfall. By separating yourself from everyone else and attempting to take on the world alone, you forget that other people can be assets as well. There's a difference between being independent and stubborn, just as there is a difference between accepting help and being helpless.
3. You Excuse Yourself As Inconsequential
This "I'm just one of a thousand other identical snowflakes" mentality is the opposite of the "me/us versus them" mentality. This line of thinking ignores your uniqueness by allowing it to be overshadowed by everyone else's similar uniqueness. It overlooks what you as an individual bring to the table and the potential a single person has toward making a real and tangible difference.
4. You're Lazy
If you know what needs to be done and have the resources — which everyone can access with enough gumption — but still find yourself in an out-of-control financial environment, you may just be too lazy to escape. The resources are out there. By really wanting it, pooling together the tools necessary to get out of the debt chasm and getting down and dirty with your money habits, anyone — absolutely anyone — can stop the cycle of self-abuse that is staying in financial duress for decades on end.
So What Now?
These four reasons people can't escape cyclical debt fit nicely within Zenger/Folkman's analysis of bad habits that inevitably lead to bad decisions.
If you recognize any of these decisions as habits, please reach out. There's help available, and you can stop the debt cycle.
Whether you reach out to a financial planner or take the reins and try to tackle it alone, you have what it takes to make the necessary changes.
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