Family Debt Stress
Researcher Jeffrey Dew conducted a study and found that couples who are in debt, spend less time together and fight more. This makes them more stressed and less happy. These couples even argued for longer than other couples and these arguments are more likely to lead to violence.
One of the leading reasons quoted as being a cause of divorce is disputes over money. Debt stress can destroy families. So, how can your family deal with the stress that comes from heavy debt?
‘couples who are in debt, spend less time together and fight more’
The Blame Game
Couples who have debt often think in terms of ‘your’ money and ‘my’ money; ‘your’ debt and ‘my’ debt. When one partner has more debt than the other then often we begin the blame game.
Fighting over where the debt came from doesn’t make the debt go away. Instead, it just makes you both unhappy. Rather, consider fighting debt as a family project. Even the kids can be informed (to a reasonable degree) and asked to be part of the solution. One father whose son asked him for a new bicycle was sad that he could not afford it due to their financial situation. After he explained to his son why they could not buy a new bicycle, he was able to give his son a second-hand bicycle that belonged to the boy’s grandfather. His son was soon riding around happy and content.
IDEA: Take time regularly to have a family finances meeting once a month. Serve a fun meal and keep the tone light and non-confrontational. Keep the meeting short.
Too Much Debt
Sometimes it can seem like your debt is overwhelming. It may seem that no matter how much you pay the interest keeps you from making progress. You may feel trapped.
‘Sometimes it can seem like your debt is overwhelming’
Create a list of your debts. Focus on either the smaller ones or ones with the highest interest. Try to earn a little more (as a family) each month so that you can add a little extra to your payments. If you have not already reduced your spending then look for ways to do that quickly.
If you are not making progress don’t give up. It might be time to get help from a professional NCR registered Debt Counsellor. Many credit providers drop or cut out interest rates when dealing with consumers through debt review meaning you will actually be paying down your debt and not just the interest portion.
Debt On the Brain
Has your whole life begun to revolve around your debt? That’s not good. It should be important but not the most important thing in your life. You are more than the debt you owe to other people. You have personal value. Your family is important. Your friends are important. Helping other people is important.
IDEA: Make a list of all the things in life you really value (which money can’t buy). Once you have the list make a choice to spend a little more time each week on these things.
Can Overcoming Debt Make Your Family Stronger?
Dump the blame game. Get help from a professional if you are struggling and focus on the really important things in life.
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