B1 Intermediate US 4 Folder Collection
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Today we're gonna talk about [BEEP]. What did I say? [BEEP] Look I know [BEEP] is technically a four-letter
word but how are we ever gonna get out of [BEEP] if we can't even say the word [BEEP] ...DEBT!
Ha! Gotcha!
Among the subjects that people like to
talk about debt ranks right between toenail fungus and other people's dreams
your brain just doesn't want to hear it. And that emotional reaction is partly
why it's so hard to pay it off.
But there's hope!
Researchers have figured out a way to rewire your brain into taking this monster head-on.
Not only can it save your finances it can teach you a lot
about how your brain works and maybe in the future you won't have
to be afraid of the word [BEEP].
Oh, come on!
The average debt holder in America currently holds about $8,000 in credit
card debt over three cards! $26,000 in student loans
another $10,000 in car loans. That's a lot for one person to manage and they all
have different interest rates, terms and loan balances. In short it's a bit of a
confusing mess. So how do we get started?
First things first
you've got to mind the gap. The gap is the difference between what you make and
spend in a month. Without a gap there's no money available to make any kind of
progress. The two ways to widen your gap are more income or less spending.
Hopefully it's a mixture of both. Once you have a gap to work with it's time to
think of strategy.
If you ask a mathematician how to structure your debt
they'd probably recommend something like the Avalanche approach. You list your
debts by interest rates with the highest at the top and the lowest at the bottom.
You pay minimums on everything except the loan with the highest interest rate
which gets the biggest part of your gap. Once that one's paid off you use the
increased cash flow to move down the hillside like an avalanche. By the time
you get to the bottom you save the most money because you paid as little
interest as possible! It's mathematical it's logical and it
doesn't work very well...
The Avalanche approach may be
mathematically sound but it omits one important factor... your brain! Humans
aren't robots or Vulcans they're emotional beings. They get discouraged,
they get overwhelmed, they have trouble staying on course. It's the same reason
why those debt consolidation plans can be a bad idea. It may seem like you're
simplifying your life to put all of your loans into one big basket but what it
really does is create a giant hulking dead monster that feels so
intimidating your brain just gives up.
So is there a method that works with your
brain's psychology instead of against it? Well it turns out...
Julia we're in the
middle of something here.
I know I was about to put it down but then I cleared
a boss stage and upgraded the frosting on my cupcake cannon I think I can get
to the persimmon palace by bedtime!
Turns out the same mind-control techniques
found in video games can work with your finances.
Game designers strategically
dole out positive reinforcements. Clearing a board of gems, upgrading your
loot which floods your brain with pleasurable dopamine and keeps you
playing. At first these rewards are handed out easily and often to get you
hooked and then more spaced out and difficult as time goes by. It's really
effective and a little bit evil but the same brain hacking technique can be used
to pay off your debt. It's called the "Snowball Method". Instead
of listing your debts by interest rate we list them by balance. Like the
Avalanche approach you pay minimums on all of them except you focus your
firepower on the smallest balance. Once that's wiped out you roll the extra cash
down the hill to the next highest balance and so on and so on. The snowball
method ensures you easy victories early on to keep you motivated. Every time you
cross a debt off your list it's like slaying a beast and upgrading
your weapon. Your brain will keep chasing that dopamine fix even as the
levels get more challenging.
While someone using the snowball method will technically pay more overall
interest than someone using the Avalanche approach that assumes that
they're both going to see it through. But a study by Northwestern University found
that snow ballers were much more likely to actually stick with the plan and
successfully eliminate their debt even if they owed more money than the
Avalanchers. Because they gave themselves that dopamine edge...
Oh, [BEEP]!
No matter what method you use the hardest part of getting out of debt is
often just starting. And it can get lonely because, you know, people don't
like to talk about it. But with determination and planning you can turn
debt into something you don't want to think about into something you don't have to .
And that's our two cents!
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What's The Fastest Way To Pay Off Debt?

4 Folder Collection
Capalu Yang published on May 17, 2020
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