To Get Out Of Debt, Start By Getting Your Ducks In A Row

To Get Out Of Debt, Start By Getting Your Ducks In A Row

By |November 6th, 2013|

Yellow toy ducksYou can’t get out from under a mountain of debt unless you know where you stand.

In practicing law for over 18 years, I’ve come to realize that there’s only one trick to getting out of debt.

You’ve got to get your ducks in a row.

And that is precisely why so many people struggle with their bill problems for years longer than necessary.

They’ve got no idea how much money they owe and how much they have in the bank. In fact, lots of my clients don’t even know where all of their bank accounts are held.

No joke – it’s chaos.

And in order to get out of debt, you’ve got to control the chaos.

The Ducks Tell The Story

Your bank accounts tell you how much you’ve got coming in on a monthly basis.

Retirement and investment accounts provide a basis of understanding what you’ve got for the proverbial rainy day. And your credit card statements reveal the expenses you don’t remember when asked.

Things like clothing, food, and transportation can be found by looking at those bills.

Without this information, you’ll never be able to get a full picture of your financial situation.

Once You Know The Story, You Can Share It

If you’re going to talk with me about your debts – whether those include student loans, credit cards, mortgages or some other type of bills – I’m going to ask you questions about your entire financial world.

We’ll need to dig into where your money comes from, and where it goes to, each month. By doing that, we can figure out what’s left over to work on the debts.

If there’s enough to go around, we talk about options. And if not, then we’ve got other topics to cover.

But without a full sense of how the month plays out financially, we can’t get a sense of what you’ve got left each month (if anything).

And that means we can’t put together a plan of attack that works for you.

How Do You Know You Need Help?

Once you get all your ducks in a row in terms of your financial records, you may realize that things aren’t nearly as bad as you think.

Maybe you spend too much on your cell phone service and can switch to another carrier.

Or you spend hundreds of dollars each month eating out for lunch, so you start packing a sandwich each morning.

Once you take those simple steps, you may be able to resolve the problems on your own. And if not, you’ll have the information to get the help you need.

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About the Author:

I've been a consumer protection lawyer since 1995, working to help people end their bill problems. I'm a faculty member at the Student Loan Law Workshop, a nationally recognized speaker, and a long-time member of both the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys and National Association of Consumer Advocates.