Planning your Retirement from Z to A Part XI. “Look over here.”

Blogging Crap with Chip

Welcome back.

I hope things are moving along for you and your plans are becoming a reality. Today I’d like you to think about what you want and don’t want. It’s easy to say, I don’t want to be in debt or I want to be rich (whatever “rich” is for you). But let’s really think about it.

Who wants to be in debt? I’m sure not many of you are going to raise your hands and say, “me!” Then, why is it that so many of us are in debt? I could give you a thousand and one reasons why I was in debt and a thousand and one excuses too.

Today I asked myself a very similar question. Why am I debt free? Guess what… I have a thousand and one reasons for that too. So, what am I saying?

I’m saying that every excuse or reason we use to be in debt, we should create an excuse or reason for being out of debt. Sound crazy? Maybe. But it is possible, people do it all the time. You don’t have to be a genius, I’m proof of that. What you do need is the ability to change your focus. Instead of focusing on debt creation, focus on debt reduction. You cannot go to two different places at the same time. In other words, set your GPS to a specific address (debt freedom) and you should get there.

When I was working on building our retirement plan, I realized that if I focused my attention on our debt going down and set goals to go from “Red Debt” to “Black Savings” it would have an impact in the real world. As I mentioned before, it didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen.

A lot of people live with the fear of failure. I am constantly battling with myself when it comes to failure. I have to keep reminding myself that failure = success. Sometimes it is very difficult to believe it, especially when you’re in the middle of failure. When those days come, I go for a walk, I listen to a motivational speech, I read something good and I look back at my past failures that led to successes I’ve had.

Trust me, when you focus on debt reduction and see even a few pennies moving in the right direction, you’ll be motivated to continue. Know that those pennies will turn into nickels and soon dollars. Focus on all the successes no matter how small, then build on those. Share your successes with your family and friends, rejoice in them. And if the opportunity arises, share the knowledge and help others do the same.

I find it amazing that people are always ready to share “the great deal” they just found. How they’ll brag about saving $500.00 on a trip they just booked or whatever. But you rarely hear people brag about how they just paid off a credit card. It’s fine to encourage people to go into debt and/or spend. But God forbid you would encourage people or tell them how you reduce your debt and increase your wealth. Then you’re just bragging (in a bad way). So, better to help your friends get into debt, then to get them out. Seriously?

Think about it.

We need to talk about debt and debt reduction the same way we talk about saving 50% on a piece of clothing we just bought, that we probably don’t need. So, instead of adding $50.00 to your debt, you saved 50% and only added $25.00 to your credit card debt. Wow! Good for you! NOT!

We need to get our friends together and encourage them and help them get out of debt. Get together and treat it like a game night. Get all your bills together and come on over. We’re going to have a debt party.

First we just admit that we all have debt and that we’re here to help each other. Some of us will have more debt than others and that’s ok, we’re not here to shame each other. It’s kinda like AA.

“Hi, my name is Chip and I’m in debt.” There is no shame, no blame, no mockery. We’re all here to help each other and encourage each other and help pick each other up.

I’ve been talking about my personal journey of debt reduction with my friends and family for years. At first it was hard, I was embarrassed. But gradually I became more comfortable with it and it became a source of pride. I always told people that if I could do it, so could they. Last year a friend of mine told me that they had just paid off a huge credit card bill. They were so proud of themselves. They told me that it was hard at first, but it got more and more exciting as the balance dropped. They found themselves finding a way to add more money to the bill and eventually it was at zero. They told me that my constant talk about debt reduction, building money reserves and my retirement goals, was the biggest motivating factor. After all, they’ve known me for almost all my life and they figured that if I could do it, there was no way in hell they couldn’t. And they did, and so can you.

Go out and build your debt party group. Start your own Debts Anonymous Club. Be there for each other and stop living in this imaginary fear that failure is failure. Together we can.

See you next time.

Chip.

To be continued…

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