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Financial Therapists: Look at Money Beliefs to Disrupt Debt Cycle | Personal Finance

Lesson 2: Focus on where you want to go

Though debt can feel overwhelming, it’s crucial to adopt a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset, says Wasserman. A growth mindset means believing that things can change and you can be the one to change them.

“Take that statement of ‘I’m always going to be in debt,’ and change it to ‘I have $15,000 in debt, and I’m going to be out of debt in the next 24 months,'” she says.

Wasserman also advises identifying your goal and creating a visual, everyday reminder of that objective. For example, if you want to get out of credit card debt to build your credit score and eventually buy a nicer car, find a picture of the vehicle, place it in a frame and hang it by your front door.

This can help you stay motivated as you work toward your goal.

Lesson 3: Ditch the shame

Few money problems come with as much shame as being in debt. Other people will shame you for what they perceive to be poor financial choices, and you’ll likely shame yourself.

But shame doesn’t work, says Kahler. In fact, it can derail you completely.

“Shame says, ‘You’re defective. You’re screwed up. You’re a bad person.’ And nothing in that is going to motivate a change in behavior. It’s just more evidence that you can’t do this,” he says.


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