There are dozens of sources giving strategies for managing credit card debt and for avoiding it entirely, as well as for preventing fees and penalties. However, most of these miss the effect of credit card debt on the holder, and how stressful it really is. This article takes a look at this important aspect of credit card debt, and some possible ways to cope with it.
Nearly everyone who has debt is stressed about it, at least on some level. Debt is blamed for millions of hours of lost productivity each year, and seems to be one of the leading causes of suicide. Students and graduates are especially vulnerable, as debt is growing amongst them faster than in any other group.
However the average adult also owes many thousands in debts – and since that's the average, it means that there are many people who owe more. Take some consolation in this, as you can know that you're not alone, and there's always someone worse off than you.
Debt Stress Symptoms
Stress causes a great deal of inconvenient and often painful side effects, including such symptoms as headaches, not being able to sleep, feeling depressed and irritable, and being forgetful and unable to concentrate on what you're doing. To make sure these symptoms are in fact caused by stress, check with a doctor.
Dealing With Debt Stress
Stress caused by debts is often considered to be embarrassing or even shameful. People with great deals of debt usually prefer not to talk about it for fear of looking like a failure. This strategy of don't ask-don't tell is hurtful, however, as it makes you much more stressed. It is especially important that you talk to your partner, as that is the number one person who can support you and empathize with your stress.
As such, the best thing to do then is to find two people, each with a different role. One can advise you and help you manage your debt, and one can be a counselor. These two roles should be filled with a professional who knows what they're doing in financial matters, as well as a psychologist or psychiatrist, or some other kind of counselor.
Using your financial advisor, find out how you got that debt to begin with. See if you can find old credit card statements and trace where your money went. Use this knowledge to develop a very conservative budget and begin paying off your debt. Even just the act of organizing can be a strong aid in reducing debt stress.