They say that the first step to fixing a problem is admitting you have one. Now, I’ve never had the kind of problem that necessitates a trip to rehab, but I have struggled with something almost all of us have or will deal with in our lives: debt.
I was fortunate enough to have parents that provided me with some financial education at a fairly young age (and living with no money in the Soviet Union had an impact) — note to any parents reading this: start talking to your kids about money early; it’s more important than talking to them about bullying, sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll. Having some financial education led me to consider cost as a factor when choosing a college. As a result, I limited my options to affordable in-state schools that my parents were able to pay for in full – thus avoiding the crushing student loan burden that holds so many young people today from truly starting their lives.
However, that didn’t stop me from making foolish decisions along the way. College students are fertile turf for credit card companies. I started out with a $500 credit limit, but by the time I finished school and got a full-time job, I was around $7000 deep in credit card debt. Contributing factors included a minor (but still expensive) at-fault car accident, sloth (a few months of self-imposed unemployment after being fed up with retail), and good-old-fashioned frivolous spending.
That $7k dwindled fast after a few months of full-time employment and austerity, but as any Greek will tell you, austerity bites. Hard. It’s a demoralizing slog even if there is an end in sight because hours upon hours of your labor aren’t going towards your life, or even towards taxes, but into the void. At $20/hr (roughly my pay at the time), $7k is 350 hours of work. Almost 9 full working weeks spent for someone else.
This isn’t meant to be a tale of woe, or even a cautionary tale – this is simply my story. The simple reality is that the fix is in. Countless intelligent and well-paid individuals spend their entire working weeks figuring out ways to get people like you and I to take out loans and give them more money. If you have so much as halfway-decent credit, your mailbox is probably filled with credit card offers promising huge credit lines and enticing perks.
The rigged game is also why I joined Payoff. Yes, we’re offering a loan product, but that’s not what we’re all about. We’re here to help you get out of debt (particularly credit card debt), live your life to the fullest, and achieve whatever dreams and goals you may have, regardless of the path you take to get there.
So check us out and have a chat with a real boy or girl about your debt, the worst thing that will happen is you’ll get a few ideas on how to manage it better. You might even be able to save a few thousand in interest payments while you’re at it. Or reach out to me on social media – I’d be happy to hear your story and offer advice or insights. I’ve been there, and I got out. You can too.