Have you ever felt alone in your debt and wondered if you were the only one struggling mentally, emotionally, and financially under the weight of debt? Debt is discouraging, but keeping it discreet seems to be hurting everyone. Are you ready to disclose your debt?
We are pretty open about the fact that we have student loan debt. After all, we are living in my in-laws’ basement. Not every attorney’s wife can make that claim. When our housing situation comes up, I explain that we plan to live in the basement in the boonies for a few years so that we can pay off all of our law school debt as soon as possible. Generally the response is positive. People seem to understand and even admire the the sacrifices we are making to be debt-free. I let them know that we actually really like our current set-up and it has quite a few perks.
While having debt isn’t a secret to those who know us, the actual figure (or should I say six figures) isn’t something we publish. Well, actually it is, but not to people who know us personally. As of this writing, I have not invited anyone we know in real life to read this blog. I plan to change that soon.
We have made it a point to be transparent at SixFiguresUnder.com, thus the “Personal Finance Made Public” in the header above. While those we know in person don’t know exactly how much we owe [update: they do now], I feel like we are no longer debting in secret since we are giving the world access to our financial details.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of disclosing debt:
Cons of Disclosing Debt
- Depending on how you acquired your debt, you might feel ashamed or embarrassed.
- Some people are harsh judges and share unwanted criticism and advice. You might want to steer clear of sharing with folks like this.
- If you are the type of person that worries about what others think (even though they don’t say anything), you might feel that others are judging your every financial move.
Pros of Disclosing Debt
- You are being honest with yourself.
- You have a new cheerleader (assuming you are telling the right people). Hopefully you have someone who will encourage and support you. It’s great to share your successes and struggles with someone.
- You have a valid excuse for not spending money. When friends raz you about being cheap or not going out with them, you have a solid reason for turning them down. Let them know that if they would like to make your loan payments, you would be happy to join them.
- You have accountability. Hopefully in encouraging you, your friends and family will occasionally ask how your fight with debt is going. Knowing that you will have someone to report to can help you rein in that spending monster.
- You will find out that you are not alone. Debt is more common than we like to let on in our keeping-up-with-the-Joneses society. Disclosing your debt may make others brave enough to ‘fess up and face their own debt.
It’s your turn!
- Have you dared to disclose your debt? Why or why not?
- What sort of reaction have you received?