THE TWO SIDES TO CREDIT
These days credit can be a real life saver.
When you experience an emergency, access to a line of credit can help you afford essentials, when you need them most. With proper management, many people are able to make regular use of credit with no issues.
The problem is that your brain produces happy chemicals when you buy nice things.
This is why it’s easy to fall into the trap of shopping, to help us feel better. More than that, your brain will tell you that if one new thing makes you happy, then surely two new things will make you feel even better. What started out as a casual ‘pick me up’ can eventually lead one into a deep hole of crippling debt.
DEBT IS STRESSFUL
These days credit allows us to have what we want, when we want it.
The problem is, that we can nosedive into debt, just to enjoy these things now. By the time you finish paying that item off, it may be long gone, along with that happy feeling.
What normally follows taking on many new debts, is years and years of having to pay those debts back, while being harassed by collections agents.
The stress of being deep in debt cannot be minimised, it damages relationships and ruins lives.
CAN YOU BE ADDICTED TO DEBT?
Back in 1968, the first ‘debtors anonymous’ meetings were held in the same building which was hosting ‘alcoholics anonymous’ meetings.
The organisers of the small meetings quickly came to realise that people in America were actually addicted to spending money they did not have. This was the early days of gaining access to credit cards and similar forms of debt. Later the organisers of those meetings, and others realised this was a growing global issue.
HOW YOU CAN YOU BECOME ADDICTED?
Many people begin their debt journey with retail credit. They do not intend to be in debt for long, but have been told to try it, much like an experimental first hit of a drug.
Later, they move onto some more advanced forms of credit like a credit card. They have now become a regular user. While, at first, they are able to keep their credit use under control, soon the debt starts to grow. Soon they are using their credit card for every day spending.
Next, they move onto the heavy stuff like personal loans. Eventually, they may need to take on new loans, to simply pay back older ones. The loans might start to get smaller and smaller and need to be repaid over a shorter and shorter time period.
By this point, debt is a real problem that is impacting your family life, your sleep patterns and your social life.
Eventually, nervous credit providers will begin to say “no” when asked for more credit so, the consumer turns to family members and close friends until those lines of credit also dry up, due to unreliable repayments.
Next, it is the journey into the waiting arms of unregulated informal loan sharks.
ARE YOU ADDICTED?
As mentioned, millions of people use credit and are able to manage it well. And we all feel good when we buy ourselves something shiny & new, that’s normal. These days, credit providers are desperate to hand out credit. Access and responsible use thereof is not a sign of an addiction.
If, however, you are ashamed that others will find out how much debt you have, you are losing sleep over your debt, if you have been drinking to manage your debt stress, if you do not want to check your bills and statements but still want to try use more credit, you may be addicted.
Do you find that the easiest way to solve a problem is to throw money at it? Have you gone so far as to lie to a credit provider about your monthly spending, or about how much other debt you have when applying for more credit? These are warning signs.
DEBT REVIEW CAN HELP OVERCOME DEBT DEPENDENCY
Being addicted to anything is a real challenge. It can dominate your every waking hour.
Fortunately, with well planned management, a good support structure and avoiding triggers, many people have been able to break all sorts of addictions; including debt addiction.
When people enter debt review, they receive professional help in better managing their finances and putting a realistic repayment plan in place. They get the essential professional and emotional support they need, and are often able to slowly mend some of the relationships at home and with friends that have been under serious strain. This helps them develop a wider support structure.
By not having access to more credit (credit providers are scared to lend to people with a debt review credit bureau listing) while under debt review, consumers are also able to focus on shrinking their current debts rather than shifting their ever growing debts around.
But just because you are in debt review, doesn’t mean the urge to splurge or use credit is going to disappear overnight. You can be in debt review for months and months and still not have reduced your craving to access that sweet, sweet credit. The addiction can lie dormant, waiting to reappear for months.
A sure sign of debt dependency or addiction is trying to use credit to solve every problem that comes your way.
So, a person who is in debt review may face an unplanned situation like a car breakdown. Immediately, they feel that the only way to deal with the situation is to get more credit so they can pay for the needed repairs immediately, but is that true?
No, they may be able to borrow a vehicle from family, catch a ride with friends for a while, and make use of public transport or Uber while they save towards the needed repairs. They may even be able to arrange for a friend who knows a lot about cars to assist them in effectively sorting out the problem.
There are often other solutions available, but debt addicts can only focus on one: Access to more credit!
DESPERATE PEOPLE LEAVING DEBT REVIEW TO TRY SCORE MORE CREDIT
When people enter debt review, they experience the wonderful relief it can bring. They get support, have a plan in place and are relieved to no longer be harassed by collections agents.
But debt review takes a long time and challenges can come along, and temptation may be thrust in their face in the form of empty promises of more credit. Big holiday sales events and marketing can leave almost anyone drooling over new and shiny products.
This is when some people in debt review make a huge mistake. They decide to try leave debt review, without having a really good heart to heart with their Debt Counsellor. They do not get all the information about what they are about to do, and can really get themselves into a world of hurt and broken dreams all over again.
Remember, once you have begun debt review, you will have a listing of the debt review at credit bureaus. This listing will only be removed once you have paid up all your debts (other than a home loan).
The process of getting out of debt review is a slow one. Debt review is a legal process done via the courts after all. There is no rushing it, and it can only be successfully done with the help of a professional Debt Counsellor, once your debts are settled.
Please, please do not let anyone tell you to stop paying your debt review, or that you could qualify for more debt. Really, do your homework about such empty promises before you throw away all the good the debt review has done.
IT’S A FIGHT YOU CAN WIN
Reducing our dependence on debt and regaining control of our finances can be a real fight. We have to fight against not only our own bad habits, but also the world of marketing that surrounds us. But it is a fight that you can win.
They say the first step on the road to recovery is to admit that there is a problem. With programs like debt review and support and help from professionals, friends and family, you can cut your dependence. Many who enter debt review, are able to power through the tough times, sticking with the process and turning their lives around.
For those who may have, in the past, had a real addiction to overspending or an addiction to debt, it can be a game changer. Debt review can help these ones to sleep well at night and to look forward to a debt free future.
So, think about your reliance on debt. Have an honest look and see if you might be addicted to debt. If so, the good news is that you can not only get out of debt, but learn to cut your dependence on it.
You can beat your addiction to debt.