The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Columns

February 2, 2013

'Big Joe' Clark: A smart way to eliminate debt and see success

Many individuals have set goals and objectives for themselves in the form of New Year’s resolutions. Though some of us have already slipped and forgotten entirely, there are some of us out there who are still relatively focused. Two of the most common resolutions were to lose weight and cut debt. I have experience with both and, believe it or not, they have amazing similarities in terms of behavior patterns and success stories.

When people go on a diet they typically dive right in full speed ahead.  Success comes quickly but then begins to wane and eventually something has to give and our old nature begins. When people try to get out of debt they tend to do it with the same attack plan as dieting. Generally they have debt in more than one place — credit cards, a car or two, a house, etc. The burden of looking at your financial affairs is like looking at your body in a full length mirror right after a Thanksgiving feast. You may have enjoyed the meal but the pain is setting in and something has to give.

Similar to a diet when we attack debt we tend to do it with an attitude of the last charge.

“This is it! I am done forever!” You will have more emergencies and more challenges and to ignore that is to fail to understand all great generals lost a battle or two on the way to winning – or losing — the war. We must be diligent, determined and yet dialed into life enough that we can emotionally deal with the things out of our control.

So here’s the battle plan. I have used it personally, taught it to numerous groups including my senior class at Purdue and have seen it flat out works. Make two lists of your debts. On one side list the lowest balance down to the highest. On the second list record the highest interest rate down to the lowest. A big part of dealing with this is simply being aware and facing the facts. We often tend to make above the minimum payment on everything which feels good in the moment but never gets us anywhere near a point of celebration or success.

Find the common debt near the top of the page in each of the two lists. Perhaps you owe $600 on a credit card which is your second lowest balance but it is at 21% and the top of the ‘interest rate’ list. Make the required or minimum payment on everything else and attack that item. Being in debt holds us captive to making other decisions and is hard on the soul and families alike. We need a victory! You can pour all your excess cash into that payment until it is gone like dust in the wind. Success!

You can make see great success by following this pattern and eventually be debt free. It won’t come over night.  You will have bills and challenges that pop up but now you have a battle plan. If you are results motivated and follow this method, you will likely can succeed.

Joseph “Big Joe” Clark, whose column is published Sundays, is a certified financial planner. He can be reached at bigjoe@yourlifeafterwork.com or 640-1524.

1
Text Only
Columns
  • OPN - Mootry column mug [Duplicate] [Duplicate] Primus Mootry: There is a poet in each of us April is National Poetry Month. Throughout the country, colleges and universities, elementary and secondary schools, libraries and various publications have hosted poetry readings or featured unpublished poets.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • underwood mug [Duplicate] Scott Underwood: Nightmares from high school proms past I wore a salmon-colored tuxedo with a cummerbund and tails to my senior prom. I was 6-foot-6 and 175 pounds. A beanpole.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hayden, Maureen mug Maureen Hayden: Judge in gay marriage decision no activist

    When U.S. District Judge Richard Young recently ruled in favor of a lesbian couple seeking recognition of their out-of-state marriage, opponents of same-sex unions called him an activist judge who was unilaterally trampling the law. The label didn’t resonate with those who know Young well.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Charo Boyd mug [Duplicate] Charo Boyd: Social Security goes green on Earth Day and every day For years, Social Security has been at the forefront of offering convenient, easy-to-use, and secure online services. We, along with those we serve, have saved a lot of paper, shipping costs, and fuel — and cut back on a lot of carbon exhaust and pollution — by going online instead of doing things the old-fashioned, less efficient way.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tim Kean: Can we have a 'A New State of Mind?' I have recently read some great articles about people coming together to make a difference in the lives of children facing food insecurity. The collective effort of a group can provide some much-needed food to kids who may not have a meal when they return home from school or during the weekend.

    April 19, 2014

  • SPL - PT041014 - Ken de la Bastide column - Ken sig Ken de la Bastide: County may eliminate Data Processing Board

    Action two weeks ago by the Madison County commissioners to close Data Processing Board meetings to the public might run afoul of the Indiana Open Door law, and a local resident is considering filing a complaint with the Public Access Counselor’s office for a determination.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Timmons, Theresa mug Theresa Timmons: Dinosaurs run amok at mamaw's house I love my new job as a grandparent. It includes playing imaginary tennis with imaginary tennis rackets, making elaborate tents in the living room, and hair-pulling.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Stringer, Maleah mug Maleah Stringer: Volunteers needed to spend time with shelter animals Shelters can be extremely stressful places for many animals, particularly those who have been in a loving home. This is why we want people to come into the shelter and spend time with our animals — to help keep them adoptable so that when the right person comes along they are ready.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bailey, Jim mug Jim Bailey: Wages were much less back then, but so were prices If you have any questions about what economists mean by inflation, just look at yesterday’s buying power. Those old western movies talked about wages of $1 a day. That wouldn’t even buy a burger at a fast food joint today by the time sales tax is added in.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Clark, Big Joe mug [Duplicate] 'Big Joe' Clark: Understanding the risks within fixed income investments Many retirees associate the concept of taking “risk” with the equity markets. However, as 2013 demonstrated, there is also principal risk in the fixed income arena if an untimely liquidation requires you to sell bonds and generate income.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
AP Video
Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' Obama to Oso: We'll Be Here As Long As It Takes Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Helium debate
Helium
Front page
Poll

Do you plan to attend any of the local Little 500 Festival events in May?

Yes
No
What events?
     View Results