When you have debt, it’s easy to feel embarrassed around loved ones. It’s not something you want to proudly share with family or friends. Debt is often viewed as a personal failure, and no one wants to announce they made a mistake with their money or financial decisions.
However, you don’t want to go it alone, either. When staring at a looming mountain of debt, it’s easy to become discouraged or feel overwhelmed. Instead of feeling alone, turn to one or more of these sources for debt support:
Online And Offline Debt Support Groups
Meeting with other people who have overcome their financial problems as well as those who are still struggling can help. People who have been there and understand exactly what you are going through can be a terrific source of encouragement and advice to get you out of debt.
Debt coaches and counselors not only listen and provide sound advice, but they also direct you toward a strategy that can free you from debt. These professionals review your financial situation, listen to your challenges, answer your questions and offer tactics to pay that debt off. Their strategies typically involve establishing a budget to pay bills and address debt.
Some credit counselors also offer financial education and workshops that improve your financial literacy so you don’t make the same mistakes in the future. Through the strategies and education you’ll gain through this type of debt support, you are bound to feel a sense of relief.
Mental Health Professional
Although a mental health professional might not have expertise in debt or personal finance, they can provide you with coping strategies for the depression and anxiety that often arise from debt. They may also help you understand the behaviors and beliefs that led you to create the debt, so you know where to make future changes.
Look for a therapist, psychiatrist, or psychologist who fits your needs, perhaps through a referral or practitioner recommendation.
Although you may often associate a financial advisor with being flush instead of in debt, a financial advisor can still offer useful advice about changing your money behavior. Like a credit counselor or coach, a financial advisor can provide a proactive strategy to support your efforts at paying down debt.
A financial advisor will start by looking at how to stop the financial hemorrhaging that has you accruing debt. By examining cash flow and your overall financial health, a financial advisor can help you create a plan to restructure your debt. Simultaneously, you can work with a financial advisor to consider long-term positive financial moves like investing, saving, retirement and estate planning.
A mentor is a good source of debt support because they tend to be objective and proactive. At the same time, a mentor can provide a friendly ear during an emotional time.
Based on their experience and knowledge, a mentor’s role also involves directing positive changes based on specific goals. Your mentor wants you to succeed and will be your cheerleader when you reach those goals.
Act Sooner Than Later
While your debt problem might feel paralyzing, ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. Hiding your debt from friends and family may even be adding to your stress. That’s why it’s important to leverage these support resources and start committing to changes that will help you manage your debt and build your wealth.
John Boitnott has been writing for TV, print, radio and internet companies for 25 years. He’s written for BusinessInsider, Fortune, NBC, Fast Company, Inc., Entrepreneur and Venturebeat, among others.
Feature Illustration: Laura Caseley For The Money Manual