Take responsibility for your debt

There is disturbing lack of accountability in the world nowadays. Everything is everyone else’s fault from the guy who hit your car to the woman who served your lunch at a restaurant. It spills over into all areas of life, including our finances. 

We have now been reduced to just accepting the average consumer can’t make good choices and shouldn’t be responsible for those choices.

I remember when I got my first credit card. I didn’t know anything about credit cards and even when I had questions, I wasn’t proactive enough to ask about them. I used my credit cards in ways that it wasn’t supposed to be used and paid a heavy price for that. My credit card debt cost me four years of hard work and cutting back, but I got out of it.

I quickly learned that I had no one else to blame but myself. It was my ignorant approach and attitude towards money that messed me up.Once I figured out how to fix the problem, which was me, I had to work to being debt free.

It wasn’t the credit card companies’ fault for giving me the card. If I didn’t want the card, I should say NO. But I thought I was adulting and honestly it felt good. But not for long. I learned that taking responsibility for that financial mistake was the first step toward my financial independence. I never wanted another credit card again until later. I now use credit very responsibly.

READ ALSOWhen using a credit card, it’s all about priorities

The present pressures of our economy has seen so many people borrow money in tremendous amounts. According to a Debt Rescue’s internal statistics, more than 10 million people in SA struggle with debt. The report shows that more than 51% of indebted people are women and most of the debt was caused by personal loans (94%), credit cards (84%) and store cards (76%).

I see many South Africans are happy that Cyril Ramaphosa won the ANC elections and many are looking forward to him being the next president of the country. People think Cyril will fix our current financial troubles as a country. I don’t know. Maybe he will, maybe he won’t. All I know is our personal debt problems won’t magically disappear.

Maybe you were young and foolish and didn’t know how to manage your debt. Maybe you got laid off and you struggled to pay everything you needed to. There are so many ways end up with so much debt.

We all have made mistakes with money. There is nothing to be ashamed of. What is disturbing is when an adult is hellbent on blaming someone else for that mistake.

The hardest part for someone with a victim mentality is making the realization that they create their own world, that they are responsible for what happens to them – not anyone or anything else – Unknown

I know that admitting fault for anything is a difficult thing to do, It gets even harder when the bills are stacking up in front of you. But the more time you waste pointing fingers rather than taking action,  the more power you give up to make a change.

Even the smallest of debts may snowball into a major headache down the road, and you’ll be kicking yourself for not dealing with it when it was manageable.

So, stop buying into the lie that there is always someone else to blame and there is someone else to depend on.  Your finances are your responsibility.

It’s important to recognise that your current debt is merely a reflection of bad thinking and bad habits in your past. If you are serious about your debt problem, you have to change your spending habits and your overall approach to money. And this starts in your mind. Right believing produces right behaviour. You can’t change anything without changing your thinking first. That’s why I keep stressing the importance of financial education. Credit companies will continue being manipulative, but you can protect yourself through education. I have learned about personal finance in so many different ways: books, blogs, podcasts, talking with friends, and even TED Talks.

As a borrower, you have certain responsibilities to the companies issuing you credit. Upholding these responsibilities is your responsibility to your creditors and also helps you maintain a good credit score. Be familiar with your basic responsibilities when using credit: By taking responsibility for your debt, you can break free of the debt cycle.

Who are you blaming for your debt problems?

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