JW’s Financial Coaching Podcast Lesson #138-Lessons Learned from coaching: The impact of debt on our life

  • Continuing our series on lessons learned from coaching
  • Learning the impact of what debt does to our life
  • The normalization of debt in our culture
  • Actions to take the realize the impact of debt on our life
  • Quote of the lesson from Publilius Syrus

Part of the job of a coach or mentor is the ability to shed light on an area or issue that needs to be improved upon.

The Impact of Debt on our Lives

One of the common areas I get to shed light on when I’m coaching with clients is the impact of debt on that individual or families life.

It’s very rare that I work with someone who has no debt what so ever. Often the client knows how debt is impacting their lives but that isn’t always the case 100% of the time. Sometimes I work with clients who don’t realize how much stress, negativity, and financial loss their debt is costing them.

On today’s lesson I’m going to continue with a series I started last lesson on lessons learned in coaching and today’s topic is about the impact debt has on our lives.

Part of the reason why we don’t realize how much our debt is impacting us is because debt itself has become so normalized that often we can’t imagine life without it.

The problem with that line of thinking is that if we think debt is normal, we’ll never look for ways to get out of it and instead use debt as a way of life.

How it Impacts Us

But debt does have an impact on our lives. Some more so then others and most of the time debt is negative. Debt impacts mostly through the following five ways

  1. Pre commits future income
  2. Increases the amount we have to cover for our “needs”
  3. Reduces our options
  4. We’re paying interest, not earning it
  5. Opportunity cost

Recommendations to Better Understand and Quantify the Impact

With that being said what do I recommend people do to realize the impact of debt in their life?

First I recommend you take the time and sit down and write down your down. Every single one. If you have 13 different student loans, break each one out. Then list them smallest to largest as you’ll use the debt snowball method to eventually pay them off. Often when you write down your debt you get that “ouchie” moment of realization instead of having a general idea of your debt floating around in your head.

Second, then take all your debts and add up the monthly payment amounts. Separate the mortgage debt, if you have any, from your non-mortgage debt.

Next determine how much interest you are paying a year. A good quick and dirty way it to take your latest statement from Dec of the previous year and it should list the total interest paid. If you want to be more advance, take that total and divide by 365 to determine your daily interest charge.

Finally doing the three steps above should give you a better idea of how much your debt is impacting you. You can then ask yourself the question what you could be doing instead with that money each month. It is every eye opening to see how much money is going out each month and how much interest you are paying a year and it can be a good motivational tool to pay off the debt.

Other resources mentioned on the show:

Today’s quote of the lesson is brought to you by the JW’s Financial Coaching Newsletter

“Debt is the slavery of the free”. ~ Publilius Syrus

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