Challenging “Your Why” of Getting in Debt

Why are you in debt?You’ve joined The Debt Movement and made a commitment to finally get out of debt.

You write down your debt totals, budget, and convince yourself that it’s for real this time.

You won’t use your credit cards to buy a new shirt/pair of shoes/jeans for the weekend because you have “nothing to wear” in your closet.

You’ll start bringing your lunch to work and stop eating out with your co-workers every day even though you know you can’t afford it.

Ahhh yeah… got this.

After a few months, the sizzle wears off.

The weekend is here and your once new shirt/pair of shoes/jean seem worn to you.  Plus all your friends have already seen you wear them.

Brown bagging your lunch isn’t cutting it and the usual sushi/Mexican/eatery your co-workers dine out sounds so much more satisfying than your turkey sandwich on wheat bread.

What does it matter if I use my credit card? I can always pay it off later….

Does this all sound too familiar? It should.

Before you can truly get out of debt, you have to address the root of your debt struggles.

This is a topic that we will address frequently with The Debt Movement because it’s that important.

Our first stab at tackling such a fun topic was in a Google Hangout.   To help me, I solicited Adam Baker from and Todd Tresidder from

These guys were amazing and shared some amazing takeaways.    They were so good that I decided to have the video transcribed so you could get the full benefit.

Transcription follows below:

Jeff Rose: This is Jeff Rose of Good Financial Cents and most importantly, Welcome to our first Google Hangout. We are approximately 10 minutes behind schedule, a few technical difficulties, but we are getting this figured out. Right now, I’ve got Todd Tresidder and Adam Baker on the line with me. Say hey, guys.

Adam Baker: Hello, everyone. Ten minutes behind schedule for the first Hangout, that is on schedule for me.

Jeff Rose: Yeah, and we actually have Carrie Smith, who’s still having difficulties coming in. Maybe she’ll jump on somewhere in the process but we’re just glad to be on live here and getting this kicked off.

Right now, The Debt Movement, we are approximately two weeks into this thing. We have almost 1,500 people signed up, almost $40,000 paid off. I’m just loving the momentum that we’ve got going on. We’ve shared some awesome stories on The Debt Movement blog. Some people just had some crazy amounts of debt that I think a lot of people would have given up hope, but they found a way, they found the determination to get out of debt.

We’re going to share more stories, but today, I want to really address, I think, is one of the most important topics when it comes to getting out of debt. This whole debt movement, paying off $10 million in 90 days, that’s a really sexy title that catches people’s attention.

It’s great if we get that number but what I really want to address is for those of you that have $5,000, $10,000 of debt and you paid it off in this 90-day period, congratulations. But then, by the end of the year, you’ve probably racked up more credit card debt or you’re buying more crap that you didn’t need to because you didn’t address the real reason of why you got into debt. That’s why I wanted to bring these two guys on here to address some of these hard topics.

This will be hard for a lot of people because, I know for me, whenever I was in debt and I was just buying stuff I didn’t need to, this is something I didn’t want to address. I needed somebody to hit me head-on, and say, “Why are you doing that?” I fought it at first. I’m sure many of you are still fighting that. That’s what we’re going to uncover today. Does that sound like a fun topic?

Adam Baker: This is the most fun topic I can imagine.

Todd Tresidder: I think you’re hitting at the core of the issue too when you go to this topic. This is why you’re opening what I think is a primary issue.

Jeff Rose: I think before we get started, I’m going to have you guys just do a quick intro, a little bit on your background, so people that don’t know you yet, your expertise and credentials in being here. Adam, go ahead and kick it off.

Adam Baker: Sure. My journey, particularly my financial journey, started about four and a half years ago. I think almost five years ago. Yup, because my daughter’s almost five. Because it started when my daughter, Megan, was born at we brought her home from the hospital. That was a very pivotal moment for my wife and I. It gave us the clarity to look at our financial situation in a way that we never have before.

We were, I forget the definite number by now, but I think it was 82. We were $80,000+ counting our student loans, $20,000 of which was consumer debt, not student loan, just pure cars, jewelry, credit cards, that kind of really irresponsible debt. We set a goal that we would pay off that $20,000 within a year, and if we did so, we would board a plane and go backpacking for a year in Australia and New Zealand which was a real passion of ours. Through that process, we benefitted from learning how to sell our things, paying off that debt with a really intense passion.

I started writing about that journey in That was a personal blog, thus the name, Man vs Debt. It was about my journey but it quickly gained a following and I’ve been fortunate to be in a position of helping others in this journey for the last four years online in different platforms.

Jeff Rose: All right. Thanks, Adam. What about you, Todd?

Todd Tresidder: My story is I “retired” at age 35 from the hedge fund industry back in ’97. I had a lot of people asking me questions about I did it and what I understood and what I did differently. I started a financial coaching business, and in the beginning, when I started coaching, I coached debt clients. I don’t coach [inaudible 04:22] because it doesn’t make economic sense to pay the bills, it just puts people further in debt.

In the beginning, I didn’t understand that. I was coaching debt clients and what fascinated was that the get-out-of-debt clients had the exact opposite habits, traits, and personal characteristics of the clients that I was helping build wealth. That was what brought me here to this conversation in sharing those learning.

Jeff Rose: Hey, Todd, go ahead. I’m going to have you continue because when I first started talking about this debt movement and the Hangouts and whatnot, you were really passionate in talking and uncovering some of the reasons of what the psychology of people getting into debt. Go ahead and just continue where you left off. Why are you so passionate and what did you want to address with this?

Tood Tresidder: Well, I’m developing some articles for your site right now and digging in deep and getting all the details down, just covering some basic ideas, though. It comes as simple as something like self-responsibility. I noticed that my debt clients had a habit of viewing themselves as victims and taking a victim stance.

I noticed that my wealth clients, even when really bad things happen, whether it was truly their fault or not, they came from a position of self-responsibility to try to figure out how to make it better, how to improve their lives. That would just be one characteristic. I see Adam nodding his head. I’m sure he can add on to it with some more wisdom in his work.

Adam Baker: Yeah, one of the things I was going to say is that I think it’s very cultural. I think there’s three main aspects. We’re a culture that prioritizes being busy over relationships, over being valuable. We’re just busy, busy, busy. I was going to say we’re a culture of whiners, and I think that, me being included, I think that plays into Todd’s point is it’s so much easier to whine about being a victim than it is to take personal responsibility even in cases when life deals you something that’s unfair.

Even people that I know that have had a chance to play the victim card more than anyone I ever know are the type of people who take personal responsibility, are the ones that really turn things around. When we prioritize being busy, and we prioritize whining or making excuses, it’s very easy to justify behavior that isn’t beneficial to us in the long run because we’re justifying it as beneficial in the short run.

My struggles with debt, my struggles with weight, my struggles with anything that’s change-related, always comes back to me justifying something because I am busy. So it’s like, I work hard, so I deserve blank. I’m stressed out about work, so I’m going to go to fast food on the way home. I have done this, this, and this, so I’m just going to put this on my credit card because we deserve it.

That is still something I struggle with to this day, especially in my business. There’s always a justification for these expenses and we live in a culture that I feel really embraces and endorses that, so it’s very easy to get caught up and swept up in that mentality and wind up 20, 30, 40 or even 2, 3, 4000 dollars in debt.

Todd Tresidder: Yeah, what I’d like to say, Jeff, is debt is just a symptom. It’s not the problem. We can say that about weight too. The science behind it is straightforward, right? Debt is simply a matter of spending more than you’re bringing in, right? That’s how you get debt, same thing with excessive weight. Everybody knows that to lose weight, you exercise, you eat right. It’s not rocket science. We all know the truth.

The difference is putting it in action. That’s where it’s coming back to what Adam was saying and the plain of what Adam was saying is you’re dealing with human emotions, human characteristics, and habits and attitudes or habitudes about how you approach life and how you live your life.

Adam Baker: That’s another good point. We’re just hijacking this conversation, Jeff, but I think I can—

Todd Tresidder: Jeff who?

Adam Baker: I think that you brought up a good point about emotion and we both touched on this emotion aspect.

I think that we are unwilling to look at debt as an emotional problem that we all too often look at debt only as a math problem or a finance problem.

That can be helpful in some situations, maybe investing. There are some different situations. If you’re just comparing two like services to cut expenses, the numbers obviously play into it, but if you take someone who has fundamentally lived years of their lives in habits that contribute to them being in debt, I think it’s at least 80, 90% emotional.

Everyone that I’ve worked with, everyone I’ve talked to, if they don’t face the emotions, if they try to make a spreadsheet to solve their problems, only a spreadsheet that they think is going to solve their problems that always fails. Some people use spreadsheets to help them, but if they don’t address the emotional aspect like you said in the intro, Jeff, they’ll end up falling right back into the habit as soon as life gets busy or hectic or something happens.

Todd Tresidder: Yeah. What we’re talking about here is keeping Jeff out of the conversation. What we’re talking about here is a permanent cure versus as Band Aid cure. It’s great to pay off the debt, the tools are well-known. You’ve got debt snowball versus debt avalanche. You’ve got what Adam teaches with sell your crap and you’ve got all the different pieces in there. The tools are all well-known. It’s well-documented. It’s not rocket science, as I said earlier.

The real key is the personal change because that’s what affects the permanent change.

Jeff Rose: That’s good. That’s a good Tweetable talk. I know for me, I can remember … for those that don’t know my back story. My father was horrible with handling money. I charged credit cards my entire life. He used to buy computers so he could donate his old computer to the church and that was his type. At the time, I thought that was right. That were some of the traits and habits that were instilled in me.

I can remember in 2004, before I was deployed to Iraq. This is when big screen TVs were becoming more popular. I wanted a 42-inch big screen TV for my apartment. I was making less than $20,000 a year, but I had this sense of entitlement because I’m working hard and I deserve this TV.

I remember talking to my girlfriend, now wife, “I’m going to go do this. Best Buy’s got his deal, 0% financing.” She’s like, “Why? You don’t need it. You can’t pay cash. You’re just going to be making payments on it.” I remember her trying to talk to me like that, and I was like, “You’re crazy. I don’t agree with you at all.” I just sat on it for a few days and I was like, “You know what, I think you’re so freaking right.”

I just sat on it for a few days and I was like, “You know what, I think you’re so freaking right.” That was a few different times that she challenged me, but it took a few times for her calling me out before I finally realized she’s on to something, which is weird because I’ve always just bought stuff.

Even now, it’s like, if I want to go buy a $20 t-shirt, I always think twice about it, which is funny because that should be nothing to me, but again, I still think about every single purchase that I make. But that takes time.

What do you tell someone? How do you … you can’t tell somebody just one time. I didn’t want to listen the first time. How do we train these people? How do we keep reminding them or how do they keep reminding themselves to hold themselves accountable?

Adam Baker: I would say, for me, there’s two ways that people are motivated. I didn’t come up with this. This is just universal knowledge, at this point. They either move away from pain or towards pleasure. As humans, it’s been documented that those are two ways that we change. A lot of times, our approach to finance is to move away from pain. Thus, if the person continually telling you, “Oh don’t do that you’ll just have payments.” Or “I don’t think you should buy that TV.”

In your brain, the reptilian part of your brain is saying, “Buy the TV. It’s going to be awesome, dude. Buy the TV. It’s going to be awesome.” A lot of people would ignore advice when it’s talking about moving away from pain. I think people need to see both of sides of that.

The most empowering way I usually phrase it for people is I encourage them to stay lean so that they can take advantages of more opportunities for them.

I will say, “Look, you can get that nice apartment that overlooks the city. You can buy all those nice things and the TV, the cool couch, you can just setup this pad, you can do all this, or you can stay lean. You can not have as much crap in your life, you can not go into debt for everything, have all these overhead with the payments, have all these monthly bills, and then when a new opportunity comes up in your life, you’ll be really able to seize that opportunity.”

Without getting too fu fu, I’ve really been thinking about mortality in general. We really do have one shot. It’s overused so much, but we have one life to live, and for me, it’s all about being able to capitalize on amazing opportunities when those come into your life.

The number one fundamental problem with debt and excess consumerism, to me, is not even that it hurts the earth, that it’s wasteful, that it’s not really going to solve your problems, which are all true, but the real thing is that it restricts you from being able to really seize opportunities that come into your life.

I try, at times, to have those signs of the equation. Yes, those payments are going to be extra payments. No, you don’t really need that TV. But, Jeff, think of it this way, and if you didn’t have that TV, if you didn’t have all those extra payments in your life, what could you do that you wouldn’t be able to now because of all of that stuff?

Todd Tresidder: Yeah, so—Oh, I’m sorry, go ahead, Adam.

Adam Baker: Go ahead, Todd. I was finishing up.

Todd Tresidder: Well, finish it up.

Adam Baker: I was saying something like, so I like to play both sides of that equation. I was just putting a little in cap on it.

Todd Tresidder: Cool. Sorry, I thought you were done. I’m going to play off what you said, actually. Going forward with what you said and adding to it saying, where I come from with people is there’s no right or wrong. It just depends on what you want. If you want to prioritize lifestyle over financial security and the experience of life, and you want to live with debtors and credit card payments and all these things, then have at it. I’m not here to judge. I’m not here to say what’s right or wrong.

My experience though is that’s not what people want they’re not approaching their finances consciously. They’re not really seeing the implications of their decisions. That’s where I come in. I try to help them raise their consciousness around their decision process and connect it back to their deeper values, which is, I think, what Adam was saying. Adam’s really addressing this issues of deeper values and what’s really important in life.

When you help a person connect their financial decisions that they’re making every single day, it’s not like it’s the big one. Sure, they’re important. The big decisions will make or break you, but it’s all those little decisions done throughout every day. When you connect those, those have big implications. When you align those with your values and where you want to go in life and what’s important to you in life, that’s how you cure the debt monster. It’s a consciousness thing. People just aren’t conscious of what they’re doing.

Jeff Rose: And this is why you guys are on the Google Hangout today.

So, if we just break this down for these people that are joining the movement. What do you guys say is … everybody had their first step. What would you say is their first step if they truly, truly want to become debt-free or just have a different control on their situation? What is step one?

Adam Baker: I’ll go through a couple of the first steps because I think … it’s a dangerous question to always answer step one is this, but for many people, how we start … I developed a course that helps people, and how we start is we always start the entire first week, all five days we spend on mindset. This is what we start off the conversation with. I’m not going to go too much more into depth with that, but you really have to get your mindset right about why you want to get out of debt.

There’s a little exercise that I do that’s trying to take through people three levels deep. Normally, I’ll say, “Jeff, why do you want to get out of debt?” You’ll be like, “Well, I just don’t want to have the payments.” Or “I want these nicer things.” Or whatever. It’s very surface level. Then I say, “All right, probably not. Try again. Go a little bit deeper. And you’ll say, “Well, it just puts a lot of stress in my life and it would feel so much better to have it out.” I’m like, “Okay, that’s a little bit better, but go one more level deep.”

Usually if you can get people to go three or four levels deep, you’ll find the real answer. “It’s ruining my marriage and if I don’t stop fighting with my wife about this, I’m going to lose the people I love the most.” “It’s keeping me from traveling and my cousin just got cancer, and I’ve realized how fine my life is.” You get these really emotional empowering answers that people are too scared to dig for. Everyone that I’ve worked with, we start out on that same process, getting the mindset of why you’re doing this – the real reason that you might be afraid to tell other people, and adopting that and proclaiming that you’re going to go at it.

Once that mindset is set, the next foundational period is awareness, specifically, laying out all the debts, digging in all the data, and starting to track your spending. Those are some topics that scare people, but once the mindset is set, we need to have awareness of the situation and we need to have awareness of the numbers – money coming in, money going out, total debts, and we start to organize those debts and how we’re going to pay them off. It’s a two-prong approach but it always starts with mindset and then works into the numbers.

Todd Tresidder: Yeah, and again, I’m agreeing with Adam. I have different terms for it but the steps and the basis for the decision is the same, which is I start with the processes called commitment, which is helping the person really commit to the process of getting out debt, because it’s going to take effort. You have to be committed to it. You have to really want it. I that what Adam is saying is finding that why, that want, the reason why you really … why you care enough to put out the effort to make it happen.

Then the second step, I use a different term for it, but it’s the same thing. I call it the plan, engineering a plan. The thing I’m really big on when I do that is I make it so real that the person can see how it works. I try to … that’s why I call it ‘Engineering a Plan’. It’s not just some platitude, some neat thing. We get it down to brass tax, the things you can sell to make a quick hit to your debt, how you can restructure your daily finances, your spending. How the dollars flow through to create the debt snowball right on the calculator. The whole thing, it’s engineered down to the dollar so that they can see if they actually do it, they actually get the result. Saying the same thing, just different words.

Jeff Rose: So let me bring up a commonality. By day, I’m a financial planner. I meet with clients, we do financial plans. We talk about risk and we put this financial plan together, and then six months goes by, the market takes a dump, and all of a sudden, they’ve forgotten everything we’ve talked about. They want to come in for another meeting. They need to be refreshed, to remind them of the strategy.

With this debt movement, since we’re trying to help so many different people, they do this mindset, they go through this change, they realize this is what they want. What kind of exercises, what kind of tips do you give people so that they can always be reminded of what those goals are? People have such a short term memory. How do you keep them on track?

Adam Baker: I’ll start again because we have this little flow, I guess, that’s going.

Jeff Rose: It is a good flow.

Adam Baker: I’ll keep this good flow. I set these things up and then Todd delivers these Tweetables and really punches them home. So he’s the spiker in the volleyball game.

But in all seriousness, the number one determining factor I found in long term success and in short term success, honestly, is the people that you surround yourself with on a daily basis. That’s a little bit of a sellout answer because I think you were looking for tangible tips, but this is really where I would have people focus. One thing I’ve learned about this area is I like to have three levels of these people. I work a lot in threes. I don’t know why. I guess maybe it just suits me.

First of all, you’ve got to find people that are on your level, that are peers, that are in the trenches with you, as I like to call it. This is why programs like Dave Ramsey, who I respect, he has the Financial Peace University. I think the keys to that course is actually the fact that people go and meet other people in real world scenarios. That’s one of the benefits of that program. There are other instances of that online, communities that you can join.

A big contributing factor to my success was blogs, right? I think everyone can say that same thing. I got involved with other personal finance bloggers who were starting with me four or five years ago, and that was my community more than an in person community. I really trusted in those guys and I was really inspired by them, and fought back with them – I inspired them and they inspired me and there was this real camaraderie. Engaging people in your life when you can, and learning how to communicate with the people in your life about what’s important, we’ll really get that foundation.

I also like to have mentors. Someone who has gone through the process and that you can look up to, maybe that’s Jeff Rose, maybe that’s Todd, maybe that’s someone in your life that you know that really cares about you and someone that you can look up to and get advice from.

I actually have a third layer that really helps me. maybe not everyone is built to use it, but I like to give back as soon as possible, meaning that I like to have people that I mentor in the process, as soon as I’m starting to make progress. This is a little controversial. Some people are like, “Who are you to be trying to help this person? You’re in debt.” But if I’m really committed to getting through it, and I’m a couple of weeks in the process, there are always people who are wondering what they’re going to do tomorrow about their finances, how they’re going to make it right.

Sometimes, helping people give back or turning them on to blogs or passing along what you read or just sitting down and teaching them a skill that you learned, you learned how to budget, you pass that on. To me, that really rounds out the people that I surround myself with and I learned as much from the people that I try to help than I actually help them. I always encourage people to get mentors, people on your level, and just start introducing people into this life as soon as possible.

Todd Tresidder: Okay, so playing off the same pattern here.

Adam Baker: Yes, spike it.

Todd Tresidder: If we’re looking for controversy, Adam and I are creating it. We’re pretty much in agreement on how to go about this. Again, I just have different terms for the same thing. I call it building structures and environments. The way I term it is, How to Achieve Any Goal with the Least Amount of Friction.

You create structures and environments that literally pull you toward the goal. Adam describes some. You can have a mentor or coach. You can join a mastermind group like he was talking about. I know nothing about Dave Ramsey’s work, but you were using that as an example so I’ll use that. You can join a mastermind-type situation. You can create accountable to a spouse if the spouse is on the other side of the table or friends that you can trust actually hold you accountable.

These are all examples of creating environments or structures that hold you accountable to your goal, keep you moving forward, and keep you from having large setbacks or downtimes, because you’re not going to be perfect. You’re embarking on a new journey, you’re trying to learn things. You’re going to make mistakes. The key in succeeding is to pick up as fast as you set down and get back into it again and take it to the next level, make higher highs and higher lows, recognizing no one’s perfect and we’re all going to have setbacks. One of the best tools for that is environments and structures that hold you to your goal and keep you persisting.

That also ties into the plan, by the way. That’s part of the plan – is to design those environments and those structures so that they match your life. Everybody’s different. Not the same environments or structures is going to work for the same people. You have to look at a person’s life and you have to say, what is it that’s going to make this person really hold accountable?

For some people, some negative ones work really well, like you have to give money to some cause you absolutely despise if you jump off the bandwagon, and you commit to that. That’s a negative but that works for some people. Again, it’s just creating structures that will pull you toward the goal.

Adam Baker: Jeff, I think that … Todd was talking, I was reminded of many people in the language learning community will tell you if you ask the question, what is the number one way to learn a language? Do you know what it is, Jeff?

Jeff Rose: No.

Adam Baker: It’s immersion.

Jeff Rose: You have to be around people that speak it.

Adam Baker: Yup, exactly. It’s immersion. You want to learn Spanish, go to Guatemala or wherever. You try and learn it and be immersed in it. I think that’s the same kind of things that Todd was talking about with his structures and environment. It’s the same thing with people. The books you read, the things you interact with on a daily basis, the people in your life, those are going to influence you the most. If you can set that up to be immersive of your goals, whenever you fall, you’ll be reminded and brought back up, just like Todd said. That’s a good analogy that I was thinking of as Todd was talking.

Todd Tresidder: Expanding on what Adam said, that’s actually how I approach almost any goal. I’ll start off in immersion. I will just dive into the subject and just learn everything I can about it and try to wrap my head around it in an effort to, again, build my plan, right? Because I have to build a plan based on proven principles that work, and that’s what we’re sharing here today. It’s proven principles that work to get out of debt.

Adam has a course on it. He’s taking a lot of students through it. You have background in it, Jeff. I have background in it. These are proven principles. We’re not making this stuff up. These are the proven principles that would get you out of debt, keep you out of debt forever. So this is like quick immersion, if you will.

But I would dive in, I would learn about it, fully wrap your consciousness around it, and then build those structures that will pull you toward it. Once you go through the immersion, you’re still going to have setbacks. It’s still going to happen, so you’ve got to build those structures to keep you moving forward.

Jeff Rose: I think maybe just one more question and I seem like I’ve had some close friends that I’ve had experiences with where let’s say you have a couple, and one of them has been fully immersed – they’ve been reading Dave Ramsey and they’re talking to their friends. They want to get out of debt. But then you have the other spouse who isn’t onboard, who still wants to buy the toys, who doesn’t want to pay off the credit cards, who thinks that everything is fine. How do you address that? How do you help one spouse try to change the life of the other spouse? Any suggestive tips?

Adam Baker: Yeah, well, we spend a lot of time with this when we walk people through, because this is one of … there’s two things that immediately jump to mind. First of all, you said, how do you change someone’s mind? You don’t. you can’t change them. The thought that you can is usually the number one problem. Two is … I forgot what two was going to be, but I will walk you through it.

The first thing we do is we say that you have to recognize that you cannot change that other person. The second thing and part of that is you have to realize what is your environment in, what is their environment in? You might be living under the same roof, but if you’ve been reading all these books and courses and blogs, you’ve had time to get excited and amped up – maybe years of time to get this point to where you are. That other person, you can’t expect just to be now I’m ready and turn on. You have to let them warm up to the idea just like you did.

The way that I always encourage people to lead this, I’m not a relationships expert, you can ask my wife about that, but the way I encourage people to approach it is how does this make you feel? Express to them why this is important to you, how it makes you feel. All too often, these money issues can easily escalate into “you buy this, you do this, I do this, I keep us here, you do this, you’re the reason for this” and instead, if you just say, “again, this is my big why. I thought about it. I want to help take back control of our finances because I want this, this and this for our family, and this is important to me because of this, this and this.” Because you can argue over the semantics of who did what and why is the reason for what but you can’t argue about why this is important to me.

If I tell Todd, “Todd, this is important to me because of this.” You can’t argue with that. This is important to me. But if I say, “Todd, the reason that you and I are in this partnership situation is because of your bad business decisions or something”, then Todd can argue that, but if I say, “Todd, it’s important for me to solve this problem because I want to do this, this and this.” Todd can’t argue with it. He can have a different set of feelings but he can’t argue with that. It’s really about keeping the focus on yourself.

I say you can’t use the word you, your or mine in this type of conversations. Some rules, the TV can’t be on, nothing can be plugged into the walls in the room you’re in. We have some really fun semantics. You can’t be tired and it can’t be right after work. When you set these fun ground rules when we’re walking people through, but the joke is, express what’s important to you and realize that you can’t change another person because that seems to be the two biggest fundamental problems. Either it lead to an argument or it’s my husband won’t do this.

Lastly, I know I’m talking a lot, but lastly, this is one of the justification and excuses people use. A lot of people get pissed off at me when I tell them that it’s usually just an excuse. This is leading example.

Todd Tresidder: I like to lead up on them. You’ve got to [inaudible 30:29]

Adam Baker: What you might be saying about your husband or your wife or your girlfriend may be true. It may be factual, even. But it’s not the reason you’re in debt, and it’s not the reason blah blah blah. And you’re using it as an excuse to keep yourself trapped. It’s a good excuse, but you’re using it to keep yourself trapped and that you’re in control.

By learning how to communicate better and by learning how to lead by example and approach this the right way, you can help elevate the rest of your family and the other person in your relationship. Again, it comes back to Todd’s personal responsibility even within a relationship. I think it’s very important. All right, I’m done. This is a juicy topic. I’m out.

Todd Tresidder: So here’s your tweetable. You can’t change a person but you can help them change themselves.

Jeff Rose: Tweet it.

Adam Baker: He had time to think about that.

Todd Tresidder: I know. That’s the thing, Adam. You’re playing right into me. You give me all the chance to think.

The idea here connects back to helping the spouse understand the role they play and what do they really want out of life and out of the relationship together. Most spouses don’t debt and they don’t want a contentious relationship. Nobody wants that. Seeing the implications … for my wife, she’s never had an interest in another diamond after seeing blood diamonds. That’s an example. It totally violated her values. Whether it’s true or not, I don’t know, but she just connected with that and really saw the message in there and she never wanted another one.

In terms of her consumption patterns, she’s very environmentally focused. Her consumption patterns are very consistent and congruent with that for the most part. I have not figured out how to get her to turn off light bulbs in the house. That one I haven’t figured out. I don’t know how she disconnects the two. I go around, I turn them off, and I talk about polar bears dying because of it, but it doesn’t go anywhere. The kids think it’s funny but I don’t get any bonus points for it.

I think what you can do is you can try to really help the spouse connect or help another person connect with their values and what they want. In effect, you’re not changing them, you’re just helping them raise their consciousness and connect some dots they’re not connecting. Again, it goes back to how we opened.

Nobody wants debt. Nobody wants creditors hounding them. Nobody wants to feel encumbered to the debt monster. People want good things for themselves, so this is really an issue of just awareness.

Adam Baker: While Todd was talking, I thought of one more thing. That’s if you can’t, try to teach them through somebody else. It never works well. Both my wife and I tend to be confident people, I’ll just say that. You guys can read into that as you will.

Todd Tresidder: It’s tweetable.

Adam Baker: It sometimes takes a while for us to willingly accept being taught by the other person, right? I’m just being honest. If I come to Courtney and I’m like, “I’m going to teach you how to budget. You are wrong. You need to step up your game.” That’s not going to be a very good conversation in my house. But, if I get Courtney to … if I want us to budget, and maybe I am the leader in that area, if I can get Courtney interested in it through another source, like a third party.

This is great for Join The Debt Movement. Maybe you can just do that together. You can just send them information about it and say, “Would you consider joining this?” Allowing a third party or a book or a blogger or anything that allows them to get interested where it’s not just you preaching to them has helped my relationship over the last few years.

Jeff Rose: All right. Before we wrap this up, I just want to give a quick shout out to Mandy Knight, to Maddy Grant, to Julie Spockus, and then Joshua Brown, who invited his Middle School Financial Literacy after-school program to the hangout.

Adam Baker: We’ve been family friendly so that’s very good.

Jeff Rose: Yeah, I probably should have read that before we started the chat but I think we’ve been good. Josh, I apologize if there was any slip ups, but you guys have shared a wealth of information. I’m actually going to work on having this transcribed because I think there’s a lot of good content that I feel I don’t have the time or patience to watch this whole thing out, but I think there’s good information, some good take aways. What are some last closing thoughts for people with The Debt Movement, encouragement, and just approaching their mindset in getting out of debt? Let’s switch it up. Todd, you go first.

Todd Tresidder: Oh no, no, I don’t want to lead. My tweetables [inaudible 35:25]. There’s two steps to the process. As we were pointing out throughout this presentation, there’s two steps: one is the actual physical mechanics of getting out of debt, which is what the Debt Movement is really about at its core, is help you get out of debt in a 90 day timeframe, and then there’s a longer term picture which is this whole shift of consciousness which is the permanent debt repair.

Just be aware as you approach this that you’re really dealing with it on two levels. You’re dealing with it on the mechanics of getting out of debt now. All these things like selling your stuff, not your CR or whatever, but now [inaudible 36:01] selling your stuff, selling and getting your expenses down, raising your income, all the basics, that’s one aspect of it. That’s the mechanics. The other part is all about you, what’s inside of you and that’s the long term solution. Make sure when you approach this you’re dealing with both.

Adam Baker: Yeah, again, I’ll confirm what Todd said. This is really a personal development journey, whether you like to look at it at that or not. It’s how you can change your habits that can be applied to many areas of your life – not everything perfectly, but it’s the fundamentals of changing anything that are really at play here. Those are the fundamentals. The debt movement is going to help you with those fundamentals as well.

Once again, it’s a big why. Understand why you’re really going through this. Surround yourself with the people and environment that’s going to make it a success, and the last thing that I’ll leave people with is you have to get into action. I’m not even sure we talked enough about doing. We talked so much about the emotions and planning but I think getting into action and taking action, joining the movement, starting to track your spending, taking that first step, once you have that mindset, it’s just as important.

It’s like that lean startup model that’s a business term, but it’s the same thing where you will learn as you go. It’s not something that you figure out. You study for six months and you’re like, “Now I will start my debt journey.” It’s a learn as you go program, so start now. Anytime you read something that applies to you, start with that and continue to learn. Continue to evolve things in progress. Start taking action today toward your goals.

Todd Tresidder: All right, one final thought, because I always have to follow Adam, I can’t just not follow out.

Adam Baker: Do it. Jump on.

Todd Tresidder: The carrot here is much bigger than just getting out of debt, because as I opened with the characteristics or the patterns that people have that are in debt are the mere opposite, not just financially, but in terms of life habits and attitude, what I call habitudes, of people who build wealth. When you’re making those fundamental changes in yourself to get out of debt permanently, you’re also building the foundation for building wealth. This isn’t just about getting out of debt. This is about long term wealth and financial security.

Adam Baker: Love it.


Jeff Rose: Guys, I appreciate you coming on and spending your time with us this afternoon and just helping the participants of this debt movement out, so I’m excited to have you guys on board. For all those that joined us live, for all those that are watching this afterwards, this is just the first of many Google Hangouts. We’ll bring on some more experts. We definitely have set the stage high. We got applause for this one, so that’s awesome. I appreciate you guys coming onboard. Thanks, everybody, for joining us, and we will see you all soon.

Todd Tresidder: Thank you, Jeff, for hosting.

Adam Baker: Thanks, Jeff. Yes, thanks for all your work, Jeff. We appreciate it.

Jeff Rose: Anytime, guys. I appreciate it.

  • Aidelis Duran

    Thank you Jeff, this is really awesome!!!

    • jjeffrose

      Thank you @google-82daeb4f6dc641a5327891a24f530601:disqus !

  • Nicole Hogarty Macias

    Wow. This quote really hit home for me. I know this because it made me feel annoyed and uncomfortable which usually means I am learning something about myself: “I noticed that my debt clients had a habit of viewing themselves as victims and taking a victim stance. I noticed that my wealthy clients, even when really bad things happen, whether it was truly their fault or not, they came from a position of self-responsibility to try to figure out how to make it better, how to improve their lives.” This is so incredibly true. My mom died tragically when I was in college over 10 years ago. Naturally, as a college kid with no notion of how to support myself I struggled to make ends meet and I did go into debt. Since then, I’ve blamed ALL my debts on these things that happened “to” me and not on the choices I made. Sure, I’ve had animal illnesses, floods, and some tough life events but I have also made some choices like travelling, the clothes I buy, the restaurants I dined at, etc. I did those things because I thought to myself “hey, I’ve been through a lot, I deserve this” You both say something similar about that being so common in our society. Clearly I am not alone! The good news is that I’m starting to be able to take responsibility more and it becomes clear how much of my debt really is psychological. Sure enough with therapy (and not a financial planner) I am starting to see my debt dwindle and my happiness level grow. It’s nice to have someone affirm the things I’ve been working on.

  • Matt Lacy

    That is one great article, thanks for sharing it Jeff.