I’ll cut to the lede: talking about debt is a downer. The weight of debt — whether financial or another form of an IOU, maybe to a family member or a friend — can be heavy at times, or even something that we carry with us for years. Debt can be controlling, suffocating, overwhelming — and the reality is that most people are in some form of debt. So where is the light at the end of the tunnel?
I learned a big lesson about debt when my husband and I bought a house a little over a year ago. When we closed on the house and the mortgage balance hit, it felt like we were signing away our lives. Add in the student loan payments, car payments, house maintenance, credit cards and other bills, and it felt like the numbers could have the potential to overpower us. Budgeting became a necessity, not an optional practice or a forgotten new years resolution. The side hustles were taken more seriously. And yeah, the $5 lattes needed to be fewer and far between.
I started to experience burnout from the weight of debt, and I know I’m not alone. The mental impact that my generation experiences from debt, finances, loans, and the general economy can be a lot to handle. Many question if they’ll be able to buy a house one day or pay off their student loans. We question if kids are in the picture due to the cost of raising children and childcare. We question how we can make our paychecks stretch to cover rent, bills, meals. That’s not to say that older generations don’t also have these concerns (some of these worries never go away), but my generation is at a time in our lives when we’re ready to embrace our independence yet struggling to find the means to do. We burn out trying to find ourselves and not drown from our finances — whether through working overtime, side hustles, or multiple part-time jobs.
Sometimes I look at our corporate world and have a hard time finding a way to be optimistic, but I realized all of this taught me a lesson that I would’ve never learned without this struggle — I earned these things and I should be proud of how hard I worked to get here. Eighteen-year-old Becky would look at 27-year-old Becky and be proud that she has a roof over her head and a big yard to begrudgingly mow. She would give me a pat on the back for the college diploma hanging on my wall (actually, it might still be in a bin somewhere…moving woes!). She would be happy that I have a job that I love and a car that takes me to and from the office. She would cry tears of joy at witnessing all our loved ones attending our wedding and not have a single regret — because all of it was worth it. And she would probably tell me to just get that $5 latte.
Join us this month as we talk about the weight of debt and how to get to the other side of it. We hope you learn something — even it’s just that you’re not alone if your stresses and struggles!