10 Mental Barriers to Paying Off Debt

rfz_mental_barriersFebruary is here and it’s the first official day of The Debt Movement! In honor of Jeff Rose’s incredible goal of calling us all to pay off $10 million of debt within the next 90 days, we thought we should spend a little time talking about the mental barriers that keep us from getting out of debt. There’s a lot more to securing a solid financial future than simply crunching numbers on an Excel spreadsheet!

 What do I mean by this? What I mean when I say “mental barriers” is not the circumstances we find ourselves in or the things we were or weren’t taught about money. But rather, I mean the things that get in the way of our intentions becoming our goals. Whether you’re struggling to find extra money to apply to debt payoff or you’ve come up with a solid plan, you may find actual payoff hard to do. That’s because these mental barriers can get in the way – and we want to help conquer them.

The truth is, you may or may not even be aware of the behaviors that prevent you from paying off debt. But what you should know is that we all suffer from some of them at one time or another. Just like none of us are immune to debt (nope, not even the super-wealthy), none of us are immune to mental barriers. So take a look at the list below and answer yourself honestly – which ones apply to you? Then, on every Thursday for the rest of The Debt Movement, I’ll pick a behavior and discuss it in more detail. I’ll talk not only about what the behavior is, but also what causes it and how to nip it in the bud. So sit down and join us for this discussion – we just might all learn a thing or two about ourselves!

To start, ask yourself if any of these thoughts have crossed your mind:

If you’ve answered yes to one or more of these thoughts, you are not alone! I know a few have crossed my mind more than once! Now, what are we going to do about this? Click on the links in the bullet points above to find specifics on how to work through the barrier that’s most relevant to you. Or, head over to our series wrap up for a breakdown of each barrier and what to do. Together, we can work together to tackle these barriers and work to eliminate debt. So join the ride, and let’s work on this together!

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  • Great post Shannon, congrats on the launch of the Debt Movement! I do hate budgeting, but it is a necessary evil to get back on track and spot where you could improve!

    • Shannon_ReadyForZero

      Thanks Pauline! I totally agree and stay tuned for the Thursday blog posts – I’ll talk about other ways to look at budgeting so that it can feel at least a little more fun than what we’re used to thinking of it!

  • Great information Shannon! I for many years felt like what you listed in bullet 6 about minimum payments. Seeing progress is important and motivating, so it’s nice to figure out ways to see that progress!

    • Shannon_ReadyForZero

      Thanks :). And I totally agree – I struggled with that one myself before ReadyForZero! Having a visual to show what you’re doing and to know it is helping is key.

  • William_Drop_Dead_Money

    Great post, and quite profound. I’d add another barrier:

    I can afford it. I can make all my payments and my credit rating is great. So why do I need to pay off my debt?

    • Shannon_ReadyForZero

      Thanks for sharing this William! Very good point!

  • Great idea Shannon! Overcoming the mental barriers is one of the most difficult parts of getting rid of debt. Plus, all of the “debt messaging” is working against you and playing to those mental barriers. I’m excited to see your future posts on this topic!

    • Shannon_ReadyForZero

      Thanks Greg! That’s an interesting point on “debt messaging” and something I didn’t think about – I’d love to hear more of your thoughts on that :). And take a look at today’s blog post – the post on the first barrier is online now!

  • Ted Jenkin

    Remember that this paying off of debt also means your house. Forget about the math on whether you would be better investing the money elsewhere. There is nothing more liberating than paying off your house–

    • Shannon_ReadyForZero

      Good point Ted, thanks for sharing this!

  • Kevin

    I also felt the same burden before when my debts are still alive. Indulging into debts is common solution for our financial problems. Debts at the first place solve our money problems. In the middle, it causes headaches and burden to us. You are right. Overcoming a mental barrier is the hardest thing when avoiding debts.

    • Shannon_ReadyForZero

      Thanks Kevin! I’m glad that’s a burden you no longer have to bear!