Overwhelmed With Massive Debt? Do These Three Things Right Now.

Overwhelmed With Massive Debt? Do These Three Things Right Now.

I get a lot of emails and messages from people that are struggling with massive levels of debt. It freaking sucks. Back when I first started this site, I really didn’t have an answer for any of them other than “hang in there!”.

As I get closer and closer to the two year mark for M$M, I’ve learned a ton about who my readers are and what they need. Some people don’t like my strong takes on various financial topics, but I literally don’t care – ESPECIALLY if they keep someone from financing something they don’t need.

If you want to have an impact on people’s lives – you need to have strong convictions. Period.

With that said, you also need empathy for hard situations. Every time I see someone tell a student loan borrower that they are “getting what they deserve”, I cringe a little bit.

Sometimes people make mistakes. Sometimes they just did what they thought they were supposed to do. It shouldn’t mean they are just screwed for life.

If you are struggling with massive debt, here are three things to do:

1. Get organized

The majority of people that I’ve talked to who aren’t sure what to do with their various debts are just overwhelmed. When the phone rings constantly with bill collectors on the other side, stressed out is probably an understatement.

Here’s the real problem: it’s hard to make great decisions under that type of pressure. There are a lot of scammy companies that take full advantage of that.

This should just be taken as a temporary measure, but it may be a good idea to communicate with your creditors and discuss a plan to get in control of your debt or at least make the payments manageable. You need to get organized so you can think clearly and strategize.

However – LOWERING YOUR PAYMENT AMOUNT ISN’T A LONG TERM FIX. It’s a temporary tool, and if you can avoid it you absolutely should.

2. Be a student of the game

If you want to handle your debt (especially student loans), you’re going to have to research like crazy. No exceptions. You can’t afford to sit back and let things happen to you.

There’s a slew of forgiveness programs and payment options out there, but rarely is anything simple when it comes to this stuff. If you are dealing with federal student loans, you need to go to the Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid website and start looking around.

Also, avoid scams at all costs! The Department of Education is the ONLY entity that can consolidate your student loan debt. Any company who claims they can do it is most likely a scam.

You also need to fully understand your debt. What is your current interest rate(s)? What are the penalties for missed payments? Will your interest rate go up after a certain period of time? Know your debt inside and out so you can kick it’s @$$. 🙂

The first question I always try to ask people who contact me about their debt is what kind of interest rate they have. If I had to guess, it’s probably 70% of the time that they aren’t sure.

Do. Your. Homework.

Have a stable career? Do yourself a favor and research a lower student loan interest rate with the only refinance comparison tool I recommend on the site. It’s 100% safe and free!

3. Join a community

Whether it’s a site like this one or any number or personal finance websites out there, you should actively read and participate in something. I can guarantee you that you aren’t alone in struggling with debt. I have the emails to prove it.

Surrounding yourself with positive people that care about your situation is vital. Putting myself around mentors was the only reason I paid off my student loans so quickly, and it’s why I’ve had some business success early on too.

I truly believe that if you surround yourself with other people who are battling debt, you’ll be more likely to succeed over the long term.

*BONUS* – Start a side hustle!

You didn’t think I’d let you finish this post without telling you to start making extra money, did you?

I legitimately care about every one of my readers going through a tough time with debt. However, it is hard not to roll my eyes when I see someone tell me they don’t have time to try and make more money. Make more time.

Paying off debt isn’t easy. The world does not give a crap how hard it is for you to make payments. It’s just the reality of the situation. With that said, you can always control how hard you work or how little you sleep.

You don’t have to be a full-blown entrepreneur to make some extra money on the side or take a second job.

Question for you:

How are you trying to destroy your debt?

 

Live differently. Your bank accounts will thank me later. ~M$M

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12 comments… add one
  • Financial Panther Nov 16, 2016, 9:42 am

    Community is definitely important. One thing about student loans is that it’s totally normal. If you’re the type of person trying to pay them off, that’s abnormal. If you don’t surround yourself with like minded people, you’ll feel like a total weirdo. Although maybe that’s a good thing.

    You always figure out a way to throw in that side hustle in there! That’s exactly what I tell people to do too. Lots of ways to make money these days.

    • Millennial Money Man Nov 16, 2016, 9:51 am

      You’re totally right! Yeah the side hustle thing is so important. I really think there are so many ways to make money out there, and if you’re a millennial you probably already have the advantage of being computer savvy!

  • Christa Szabo Nov 16, 2016, 10:14 am

    Community (this one to be exact) has been RIDICULOUSLY important to my debt free plan and I can’t thank you all enough for the support!! The other big factor I’ve faced is time and patience!! I want to be out of debt right this second but true change takes time, and in the digital age of instant gratification, it’s really hard to train yourself to be patient. I’ve also read that creating a plan and sticking to it is really important and I can understand why. If you start paying debt off and then change your plan in the middle of it, it’ll only set you back. You become unfocused, forget where you are and before you know it you’re back the where you started or in even worse debt. So thanks again for all of the support and I’ll have my first report for you on Friday!!!

  • Dustin Nov 16, 2016, 1:54 pm

    Hey M$M – I am a huge fan of the site and tell everyone I know to follow you and sign up for your emails. Question for you – my side hustle is starting to earn me enough money where I can make significant dents in my two remaining debts. I haven’t seen anything on the site yet where you say which you would pay off first – car loan ($9,600 with 3% interest) or student loan ($16k, federal loans, ranging from 3-5% interest). Look forward to your thoughts!!

    • Millennial Money Man Nov 16, 2016, 2:27 pm

      I’d go with the higher interest rate first – a little different than some of the tips you see out there but mathematically it’s the better route than going with the lowest debt amount!

  • Mrs. Picky Pincher Nov 16, 2016, 3:15 pm

    Getting a plan together is the first step to getting out of debt. We were able to crush about $20,000 of debt combined last year, thanks to following our plan. We did have to deviate from our plan at times, but it was a lifesaver having a guide to paying off our debt.

    As far as destroying our debt, we’re now turning attention to student loans now that we’ve paid off our credit card debt. It’s our goal to crush about $65,000+ of loans in 17-18 months! It all starts in December, and I’m super pumped to see those loan amounts go down to $0. 🙂

    • Millennial Money Man Nov 16, 2016, 3:56 pm

      Woah holy crap – $65k in that amount of time will be awesome! I think that’s the biggest deal honestly. Just have a strategy and stick to it the best you can!

  • Claudia @ Two Cup House Nov 17, 2016, 10:47 am

    Yes!! Get organized!! This was #1 for us, once we decided to get out of debt. We figured out how to use Mint, what our debts were, what the interest rates were, and that helped us decide what to tackle first.

    • Millennial Money Man Nov 17, 2016, 3:14 pm

      Dang I really need to do a Mint review! Yeah I’ve definitely been shocked how many people don’t know their interest rate – it’s so important!!!!

  • Kate Nov 17, 2016, 1:14 pm

    I really didn’t know what I was getting into when I took out my student loans. I think I just assumed everyone did the same, sign for loans and worry about the payback later. I wish I’d worked more while in school and then lived on rice and beans after graduation to pay them off quickly! It was SUCH a relief to finish them off a year ago! I agree, doing the research and surrounding yourself with like-minded community are both key to destroying debt.

    • Millennial Money Man Nov 17, 2016, 3:09 pm

      Kate I was the same way! I didn’t know jack about money until I started hanging out with successful people. There are a ton of kids taking out loans now that had no education about them prior. Definitely one of the scariest things I saw while I was a high school band director.

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