The U.S. Department of Education just announced this weekend that they're now accepting applications for federal student loan forgiveness. The official form is scheduled for later this month, but the beta site is open. If you submit an application now, they say your application will be processed and you won't need to resubmit. If you do want to wait, you have until December 31st to apply. I would recommend applying, even if you don't know if you'll be able to get the student loan forgiveness, up to $10,000, or $20,000 if you were eligible for a Pell Grant.
In the last couple of weeks, I also mentioned the U.S. Federal Reserve raising rates and also the recession that many people think is already here and others believe will be here in 2023.
In last week's blog post about the recession, I mentioned that we can use credit cards as a tool, if you're in survival mode, and in 2021, I also wrote about how if you're in a crisis, credit cards may be a tool you can use.
In both blog posts, I mention that it's not something I usually say, as a money coach.
So, what if you had used credit cards when you were in crisis, and now you're not in crisis and want to get out of debt?
If you have a little bit of extra money each month, then this is the perfect time to start paying it off. With the rise of the Fed rate, it means the rise of credit card interest rates.
According to LendingTree, the average credit card interest rate in America today is 22.21% — the highest since it began tracking rates monthly in 2019.
Yikes! Over 22%, makes it really challenging to pay off those cards quickly.
So, what can we do to pay off those cards?
Well, first, I have to warn you.
The way I talk about debts is VERY different from what's out there.
I'm the opposite of Dave Ramsey, who pretty much wants you to move back into your parents' basement and live on ramen noodles (not the real, fresh kind...the ones that costs 0.40 a pack) until you pay down every bit of your debt, which includes your credit cards, car loans and even your mortgage!
By the way, did you know Dave Ramsey filed for bankruptcy?!
I don't believe bankruptcy is something to be ashamed of (I think of it as another tool in our financial toolbox), but do you want to listen to debt advice from someone who filed for bankruptcy or from someone who hasn't?
I also have heard so many times from people who come to me and tell me how they've done Dave Ramsey's program, got themselves out of debt, and now are in it -- with A LOT more debt than even before.
I've also seen this happen with actors and a lot of creative types who may get a big check and use it to pay down or pay off their credit cards, and then in a few months, when the fat checks aren't rolling in anymore, they have to use their credit cards.
This is a never ending cycle.
That's why I want to help you to stop the cycle, so that you're never in debt again.
Last week, I talked to this couple, who were clients last year. They're both in a creative industry. The wife is an actor and audiobook narrator, and the husband is a musician and sound engineer. We were having a check up call. It's been about a year since we've worked together, and you know what they told me?
"Ever since we paid off our debts when we were working with you last year, we haven't gotten back into debt again. We use our credit cards and then are able to pay them off every month!"
Hallelujah!!! Cue the choir!
This is what I want for you.
The clients and members that follow the plan I give them don't go back into the cycle of debt anymore. They also do not feel like they sacrificed their life to pay down their debts.
So...what's the secret you say?
Well, I do have to say that for my clients and members of the Financial Freedom for Creatives Club, I give a very personalized plan because I don't believe in a one size fits all approach to debt payment. However, here's what we start with...
First, let's take it slowly! Think about it.
Does going super fast work with other stuff in life?
Studying or working super fast -- you'll probably miss some details. Super fast love making? No thank you. Eating super fast? Ugh I have a tummy ache just thinking about it.
So...it's the same with debt. No more taking big checks (like residuals or bonuses) and applying it all towards your credit card debt. This is what creates the cycle. Because what are you inevitably going to do in a month or two when you don't have that fat check? You'll probably go back to putting stuff onto credit cards.
Next, to me spiritually, debt is really another word for burden. So, I want you to take a look at what feels like a burden in your life? What feels heavy -- I want you to lighten the load.
Start decluttering your physical, emotional and mental spaces. Once you and your space feels energetically lighter, then it's so much easier to not want to fill it with buying more stuff. Because paying down debts doesn't work when you're just doing it from one side. There are two sides to it -- applying your money to pay down the card AND not putting more onto the card.
Next, it's time to forgive yourself. Since we were talking about how a lot of actors go into the debt cycle, I found this beautiful YouTube video from my friend and coach for actors, Christine Horn, on how to forgive yourself for past mistakes:
Isn't that good? Now, let's apply this forgiveness for our debts.
Forgive yourself for having the debt and write a letter to your debts. Help yourself to understand what those debts may have helped you to do. Did it help you to get through college? Did it help you get an emergency repair done quickly? Did it help you to take care of your basic needs, when you were in survival mode? Thank your debts and forgive yourself.
One of my spiritual teachers, another Christine (Hassler), has this forgiveness stem sentence exercise to use whenever you want to forgive yourself:
I forgive myself for buying into the belief (or the misunderstanding) that ___________________.
The truth is __________________________________________________.
What I know is this -- When we don't forgive ourselves for the debts, it's much harder to pay down debts.
Because the debts feel like they're our punishment.
We're punishing ourselves by having the debts, as a reminder, of "how terrible we are at managing money," or whatever other false beliefs, narratives or misunderstandings you're telling yourself.
So when you can truly forgive yourself, you'll be able to pay down the debts that much faster because you no longer need to punish yourself.
You are resourceful, creative and whole, and I believe in your ability to stop the cycle and get out of debt once and for all.
P.S. If you want a more personalized plan to pay off your debts, take my FREE Financial Freedom Method quiz to see what your money personality type may be and get a more personalized plan to pay off debts in YOUR own way. Just click on the button below. Or reach out to my team (firstname.lastname@example.org) and they can send you a link to schedule a 30 minute discovery call with me.