Get Out of Debt Like a Debt Hero
January 2, 2013
Getting out of debt will be one of the most common goals set this year. Unfortunately, paying off debt will likely be one the most unmet goals at the end of the year.
If you’ve been struggling to get out of debt then you know all the reasons that paying off your credit card bills, car payments, student loans, or your mortgage can feel difficult, even impossible at times.
The good news is that this year you’ll have some extra help paying down debt. I’ve recently released a book called “Debt Heroes” to kickoff a collective effort to help people around the U.S. payoff a total of $10 million in debt! Led by Jeff Rose, this Debt Movement features several of the people who are in the Debt Heroes book.
What is a Debt Hero?
A Debt Hero is someone who has won a major battle with debt and shared their story with others in an inspirational and/or educational way. There are 21 personal finance authors and bloggers profiled in the book – all struggled with debt at some point in their lives and now after paying it off they’re sharing their experiences in their blogs and/or books.
How Can They Help Us?
Each person featured in the book shares what got them into debt (their Fatal Flaw), their secret to paying it off (their Super Power), and part of their story about beating large amounts of debt. At the end of each profile you can find out how to read more about their story and what they’re up to now.
The format of the Debt Hero profiles has been a hit with many readers. One of the cool things about highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of the Debt Heroes has been that it’s helped readers think about their own Fatal Flaw and Super Power in terms of their debt. Here’s part of a reader email I got from Pat, where he reflects on his own experience:
I suppose my fatal flaw is escapism and indeed I have wonderful memories of traveling to some of the world’s most beautiful places but the reality is that most of my debt was wasted chasing these few experiences. There were fantastic memories but most of the debt came from nights in bars and restaurants dreaming about travel and escape.
One of the things that it’s hard for many of the books or articles on debt to address is the personal nature of the problem. People get into and out of debt in a variety of ways depending on their personal circumstances. It’s difficult to define a debt payoff plan that will work for everyone. As you read through all the Debt Hero stories you’ll find parts of their experiences that you can relate to, learn from, and apply to your own situation.
Why Do We Need Debt Heroes?
There’s a lot of information online and in book stores about how to pay off debt but many Americans still struggle to get out from under mountains of debt. One of the reasons is that getting out of debt is not just about income vs expenses — it’s also about your mindset.
As humans, our emotions and rationalizations can get in the way and even work against us as we’re trying to pay back the money we owe.
A strong source of internal motivation has proven to be one of the best ways to overcome these mental blocks and heroes have a way of motivating us in all areas of life.
We strive to be like our heroes. They give us a concrete example of failure and success, someone who faced similar struggles and prevailed. We hold them up as an example and try to emulate their success. That source of internal motivation can help us overcome the mental challenges of paying off debt and inspire you to success.
Author Seth Godin does a good job of explaining why heroes can be so valuable when it comes to helping you make decisions:
Heroes live their lives in public, broadcasting their model to anyone who cares to look….. WWHD. What would my hero do?
Paying Off Your Debt
Of course, all the motivation in the world isn’t worth much if you don’t take action yourself. So the book also walks you through the stages of your own hero’s journey to pay off debt.
Debt Heroes looks at getting rid of debt as a process. The book looks at what you’ll experience in each stage of your journey and how you can move from one to the next. The main goals of the book are:
- Inspire & motivate you to pay off your debt.
- Help you connect with people who have already been through a similar situation.
- Give you some guidance on where to start and what to consider.
Meeting the Heroes
As I mentioned, some of the people featured in the book are also showing up to talk online about their experience with debt over the coming weeks as part of the Debt Movement. Here’s a list of the people who are featured throughout the book:
- Jackie Beck
- Lynnette Khalfani-Cox
- Anna Runyan
- Joe Foley
- Meadow DeVor
- Linsey Knerl
- Jen McDonough
- Leo Babauta
- Stephanie Halligan
- Anna Runyan
- Joe Mihalic
- Jennifer Dunn
- J.D. Roth
- Amanda Grossman
- David Weliver
- Carrie Smith
- Jason Larkins
- Beverly Harzog
- Brad Chaffee
- Mary Hunt
- Kim Parr
We love the reader emails so keep them coming! Here’s the very first email we got from a lady named Shannon who had just finished the book.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and plan to use the information to get our family out of debt. Thank you so much for offering it to us. I got so tired of taking notes, I ended up pulling out my phone to take snapshots of helpful pages.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. You are all heroes to me!
Although debt is a problem all around the world this book was really put together with a U.S. audience in mind. However, the exciting news is that it’s actually helping people around the world! I was happy to read this great reader email from a guy named Pat in Ireland:
I read and enjoyed your book and have posted a strong recommendation on Amazon. I realise that you are based in the US but much of your material is general enough for those of us who live outside the US… I know “Debt Heroes” is available on Kindle but it would take very little work to make it a worldwide standard primer. I hope you decide to do this. It has helped me and would clearly help many others.
If you want to participate in the Debt movement or apply for some of the debt scholarships it’s offer be sure to signup here.
To ready about how 21 ordinary people paid off over $1.7 million in debt check out the Debt Hero book.
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All posts by Ben Edwards