by - Friday, September 09, 2016

Ever wondered why you're deep in debt and can't seem to get out of it? Getting into debt is easy, but the getting out of is the tough part. I've listed the common red flags people tend to ignore making it rather impossible to free themselves from the shackles of debt.

1. Keeping up with the Joneses. Constantly comparing yourself to the standard of living with that of your friends or neighbours. This is also linked to Obsessive Comparison Disorder. You are defined by your social status always competing with everybody else and acquiring stuff signifying wealth just to look rich even if it means more debt. Your money just can't keep up with your lifestyle, but you do it anyway just to fit in. You may also want to watch this movie, The Joneses.

2. Gambling. Addiction to any kind of gambling drives you further into debt. Betting your money and depending on luck with support only coming from your primary source of income is a formula for financial disaster.

3. Medical illness. Medical costs (surgery, diagnostic tests, therapy) along with maintenance meds can be very expensive over the long haul especially people with long-term illnesses.

4. No savings. If emergency situation happens, god forbid you got into an accident, or someone in your family got sick, and you have no money to cover for those bills, it can lead to loans from your relatives, friends, or lending companies when you could've used your emergency funds if you've started one.

5. Financial illiteracy. Poor money management due to lack of knowledge and understanding on handling and making informed decisions with all your financial resources.

6. Credit cards. Credit cards can be used to your advantage, but if misused, could lead to money setbacks. Maxing out on your credit limit despite the struggle with your monthly payments. Paying only for growing interest charges is deemed financial loss.

7. Vices. Excessive use of alcohol and addictive substances, not only can ruin your life and put strain to your relationships, it can also cause financial wreckage.

8. Lack of self-discipline. It doesn't matter how much money you make, without financial discipline you will always struggle with money.

9. Consumerism. BUY, BUY, BUY is your life's mantra, and with all the sales popping out in every corner, “Buy More, Save More!” and “Three-Day Sale!” oftentimes, you buy shit you don't even need because duh, it's SALE! Makeup hoarding counts.

10. Travelling. Unless you do this for a living. Some people would give in to social media-induced hype of travelling even with the difficulty of making their ends meet.

11. Out of habit. You can't stop borrowing money. Being debt-free isn't your priority. A never ending cycle. When will you stop running in a hamster wheel?

12. Inflation. Minimum wage earners and underpaid workers facing the impending rise in cost of living.

13. FOMO. Fear of missing out on something great that may be happening elsewhere often stimulated by your social media feeds, workmates inviting you to drinks after shift to destress, go clubbing on weekends, travel to places with friends even when your budget can't make it to the next payday, and all those other crap you wanna to be a part in. I used to be like this, I always say yes to events people invite me to, drinking sesh every weekends, watching gigs, going to places with friends, whatever. I didn't say you have to stop watching gigs entirely or seeing your friends, just make sure your budget can cover for the costs and with every gig, comes beer. It's the spending here and there spiraling out of control just so you could get to be a part of something you really don't have to. Be selective in your participation, see to it that what you participate in brings you closer to your goals and is really important for you. You don't have to say yes all the time.

14. Impulse buying. I stand guilty to this. I've always had buyer's remorse when I mindless shop. This has been my weakness. Thank god, I'm less likely to impulse buy now. I talk and ask myself life and death questions, do I really need this, can I live without this (of course yes), my life's been doing fine without it yesterday, will I use this often, and use time delay. Most of the things bought simply out of impulse are unnecessary. This can also sabotage your budget.

15. Paying off debt with another debt. The act of borrowing money to repay other debts. Debts on top of debts. Is this really the life you've dreamed of? and please, make no excuses. Don't become The Walking Debt. It's not what you're destined for.

One of the crucial things you'll have to deal with first in planning for your road to financial freedom is, unfortunately, your debts.

Would you want to stay in debt for the rest of your life? Sure, you want to live a comfortable and happy life by the time you retire. Swimming in debt is tiring and mentally stressful. Have you figured out ways to be debt free or stay out of debt?

"If you aren't in debt or don't want to go in debt, the rules are very simple. Don't buy things you can't afford. No one knows your finances better than you."

- A Book About Life by David Decker

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