Do you have debt? If so, welcome to the club! As it so happens, I’m a member of the club too (or at least I was). Exactly one year ago, I had a $3,000 balance on my credit card. And my colleagues at ReadyForZero (all twelve of us) have similar experiences with debt, as do our friends and family.
We’ve had student loans. We’ve had mortgages. We’ve had car loans. And yes, we’ve had credit card debt.
And you know what that makes us? It makes us fairly similar to everyone else. Over the past 30 years, a whole lot of us have been sucked into the debt trap that has swept across America. The debt trap is trying to consume us, but it can only succeed if we let it.
Where We Stand Now: Total U.S. Debt
If you look at the graph below, I think you’ll agree that something needs to change:
Source: Federal Reserve
That red line shows the total amount of consumer debt (not including mortgages) in the U.S. As you can probably tell, it has quadrupled in the last 30 years! That’s a lot of debt, people! It currently is sitting right around $2.8 trillion dollars.
The reasons for this rapid increase in total debt may include stagnating wages, the relative ease of obtaining credit, the recent mortgage bubble and subsequent crisis, or the incredible rise in college tuition costs and student loan debt.
Most likely, these all have played a significant role.
So What Can We Do?
You might look at the graph above and feel helpless. That would be understandable. BUT DON’T LET IT HAPPEN! Why? Because we’re going to do something about it. You, me, and everyone else on this site.
Research has proven that people can accomplish way more than they expect when they’re surrounded by like-minded people who are working towards the same goals.
And that’s where The Debt Movement comes in.
When Jeff Rose approached us about partnering with him to help create The Debt Movement we were thrilled. If you don’t know Jeff, then you probably don’t know that he has what Mr. Money Mustache would call a king-sized optimism gun.
He has created several fantastic movements in the past because his optimism is contagious and he works hard to motivate people to do the right thing for their financial well-being (he’s a financial planner, after all!).
If you’re wondering who ReadyForZero is, we’re a startup company that is trying to help people get out of debt faster with our powerful online tool that allows you to organize all your debts into one place and construct a plan for paying them off.
Our company literally started when our two co-founders looked around and realized there was no one using technology to help people like their friends and loved ones get out of debt. So they decided to start it themselves.
We’ve been really gratified to see how our tool has given people the confidence and understanding they needed to pay off their debt – often in a shorter amount of time than they expected. And now, we’re happy to be the technology powering The Debt Movement.
2013… It’s Time for the Debt Movement
There are millions of people out there who are eager to pay off their debt. What if we got half of them to participate in The Debt Movement? What if we got all of them to participate in The Debt Movement?
We’re about to find out how big of an impact can be made by a group of people from all over the country who decide to take back control of their finances in 2013.
Maybe all of us together can change the conversation about debt in a way that will echo all across America. And in the process we’ll conquer our own debt and get our own finances permanently on track to achieve our long-term goals.
We believe that we can. And we will!
Ben Feldman and Shannon McNay of ReadyForZero will be will be writing about budgeting, paying off debt, and motivation here on this blog and at the ReadyForZero Blog for the duration of the The Debt Movement. Since they have experience with debt themselves, they are looking forward to sharing this journey with everyone!