Do you know anyone with a debt problem?  A colleague presented the following case regarding a young couple with a debt problem to me and asked for my input.  Since debt problems come up frequently, especially with younger clients, I thought sharing their story might help someone else in a similar situation.

The Debt Problem

“I have a couple, married a year ago with a baby. She has a school loan of $80,000 and he brought in $40,000 in credit card debt. All savings of $20,000 has been depleted by baby in hospital. They both have jobs, paying a total of $75,000 and trying to get second jobs. Suggestions? I've never run into this sort of debt problem before in clients. Thanks!”

The family dynamics in this case are pretty intense.  Having a baby has its own level of stress, both emotionally and financially.  When you compound it with a budget already strained by debt, I can only imagine what else is going on.  I am going to walk you through my process and as I do, please think about how you would advise this couple.  If this was your son or daughter (and your grandchild) how would you want them guided?  Unfortunately, having a debt problem is common.  Before I can dive into “advice mode”, I need to do a little digging.

Discovery Questions

couple getting help with debt problem

If I had this couple in my office, here’s what I would ask them:

  • Prior to getting married, were you both aware of the other’s debts and assets?
  • What purchase(s) caused the credit card debt problem?
  • Was it a one-time purchase or need?
  • What are the terms of the school loans? Can they be deferred?
  • Have you applied for a forgiveness loan program?
  • If $75,000 is their combined gross income, what is their take home?
  • Have you done a real budget?

Recommendations For Solving The Debt Problem

After gathering some important data, I would map out some options to help them discern the best course of action to solve their debt problem.

  • Getting a second job to increase income and accelerate debt payments might be a good idea for one of them. With a new baby at home, I wouldn’t recommend they both work two jobs.
  • Before we explore the possibility of increasing income with a second job, I would take a very close and detailed look at their net income, expenses, and look for ways to reduce anything that isn’t a necessity.
  • If their numbers still show a need for improvement, pursuing a side hustle for additional income may be the best alternative.
  • Before I decide if a side hustle is the best option for solving the debt problem, I want them to walk me back through how and why the credit card debt is so high. It is very important to understand the couple’s story before making a recommendation.
    • Does (or did) the husband live beyond his means and buy things he couldn’t afford?
    • Was the credit card debt problem caused by a financial crisis (illness, loss of job, accident)?
    • Is this a behavior that is likely to continue?
    • Regarding the school loans, what are the terms?
    • Could they request forbearance?

Support Through Money Coaching

Like any problem, there are usually two sides to every story.  Understanding the dynamics and the systemic behavior that created the debt problem is key.  Traditional Financial Planning approaches the problem by recommending a save more and spend less strategy.  Money Coaching® takes a deep dive into the unconscious patterns, beliefs and behaviors around money and unveils the root cause of the money problems.  We often find a person’s unconscious money patterns, beliefs and behaviors prevent them from fully experiencing their true potential.  The combination of Money Coaching and Financial Planning helps them move beyond restrictions caused by limiting beliefs and build a healthy relationship with money.

How Money Coaching Helps With Debt

Financial Planning shows you what to do to reach your goals.  When you add the Money Coaching process, you learn what’s held you back, what needs to change and most important, HOW to change.  Clients are inspired to take action.  They love feeling empowered and in control of their money.  They know what they earn, spend, share and save.  This powerful process helps them eliminate their debt problem and attain financial freedom on their terms.

You know, money is nothing but a tool. It is one that most of us use every day. Even with all that practice, many feel a lot of stress and anxiety when the subject of money comes up because we were not taught how to use it or talk about it.   By becoming aware of the beliefs and behaviors that held them back and learning how to change, clients have the tools they need to create a positive change to their money story.  Their potential outcome is greater personal satisfaction, increased abundance, and confidence in their financial future.

I want to hear how you would advise this couple!  Please email me at tnicklas@wealthcoachforwomen.net.  To learn more, click here to arrange a time to talk by phone.  Please select the option “Miracle Money Conversation”.

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