Americans are more in debt now than in any previous decade. There is more than one way a person can accumulate debt. Most people end up deeply indebted from a very young age, even before they can start working, because of student loans. Later in life, people may go into debt because of mortgages, credit cards, and personal loans. In the modern financial system, it’s very easy for the average income earner to become entrapped in debt.
While there are wider, societal reasons as to why people may end up in debt, there are also very personal reasons. Individuals can’t do much about complex, nationwide reasons why debt accumulates. But they can certainly do something if they are personal reasons. If you, like most Americans, are in debt, here’s how to prevent becoming further indebted and achieve financial freedom:
Start Paying Your Bills
The simplest way to get rid of debt is to start paying all due bills on time. It’s not always financially feasible for everyone, but that should not always be an excuse. If you think you are unable to make a payment on time, call the creditor and tell them so. You can avoid hefty late fees in that regard. In any case, you should come up with a budget to prioritize paying back any money you owe. Letting debt pile up only makes the amount you owe swell up more.
Start Investing and Saving Instead of Borrowing
Want to buy a new car or some other expensive gadget? Instead of borrowing all that money from a loan shark, think about investing in advance. Don’t borrow to buy, save and buy. Investing is the best way to make sure you have plenty of funds in the future to buy things you want. Your investment returns would come in most handy during your later years. In fact, the retirement years are highly financially vulnerable. Investing now and saving ahead would protect you from spending your sunset years in serious debt.
Learn About Stock Trading Rather than Getting A New Credit Card
Getting a new credit card is financially risky. If you are into that type of risk, focus it on something that gains you lucrative returns, such as stock. The stock market is infamously volatile, but with the risk comes the possibility of lucrative returns. Learn to trade stocks to earn monthly passive income so you don’t have to borrow money using credit cards. In fact, it’s best to wean off credit cards now and think pragmatically about future finances.
Don’t Fall for Personal Loan Schemes
Personal loan schemes like payday loans are the reason most middle-class Americans end up in very serious debt. Unlike loans given out by legitimate financial institutions like banks, personal loans come with interest rates that can be as sky-high 100 or 200 percent. Borrowing even a small amount like $100 has the potential to land the borrower in tens of thousands of dollars in debt by the following year. Therefore, don’t take out these payday or installment loans. Instead, save in advance for emergencies or borrow from an employer, friend, or family member.
Being debt-free and financially independent are not unachievable goals. Start to shift your financial habits from borrowing to saving. Learn to invest and devise a retirement strategy. When that happens, you can not just be debt-free, but financially secure as well.