How to Stay Motivated After Getting Out of Debt

Stay Motivated After Getting Out of DebtThere’s no shame in slowing down a little bit once you get out of debt, but there are so many people that take their foot off the gas completely! And sometimes they even start driving in reverse and dive back into debt! Why is this? And what steps can you take to stay motivated after getting out of debt?

Why Do People Go Back Into Debt After Getting Out?

You’d think that once people rid themselves of their debt, they’d vow never to go back in, but it honestly seems to happen more often than not. So what on earth are these people thinking? What is it that drives them back into debt?

1) It’s a Habit

It’s incredibly easy to buy stuff you can’t afford, and when you’ve done it all your life it’s crazy difficult to kick the habit. With the media swirling all around you, telling you how great life could be if you just buy this and have that, the habit of spending can quickly take over your life again.

2) They Never Learned the Value of Contentment

When I was furiously digging my way out of debt, I worked my butt off but I also learned how great it was to slow life down – simply by walking and bicycling everywhere. While everyone else was driving recklessly to squeeze a bunch of unnecessary tasks into their day, I rode my bike slowly, often peering up at the sky to marvel at all the shades of blue that surrounded me.

I didn’t need a car, truck, or even the bus. I had everything I needed with the $75 Craigslist bike beneath me. Once you gain this mentality, life is good always, no matter what you own or don’t own.

3) They’re Too Worried About What People Think of Them

People will make fun of you as you get out of debt.

  • You hesitate to spend money at the restaurant – they make fun of you.
  • You don’t enter the March Madness pool because it’s $20 – they make fun of you.
  • Your phone is four years old and is barely good enough for voice calls – they seriously make fun of you.

By the time you get out of debt, you’re so sick of getting made fun of that you’d rather buy something to shut them up than to move onto the next step and build up your emergency fund.

I get it, life can seem to suck when you’re digging your way out of debt, but going back in is obviously not the answer….

4) They Haven’t Yet Learned the Power of Delayed Gratification

Delayed gratification is amazingly powerful when you’re digging your way out of debt, but people often don’t realize how quickly they can build wealth if they keep that debt snowball rolling!

Sure, you might have the cash to go out and buy something, but what if you waited? What if you invested that money instead? Do you realize how quickly you could retire? Most people don’t…and it’s why they immediately dive back into debt after getting out.

Related: Will You Have Enough Money to Retire? (Use this free tool to find out)

How to Stay Motivated After Getting Out of Debt

It’s pretty easy to see why people might tap the brakes on their wealth journey.

  1. Spending money is a habit
  2. Saving up money is boring
  3. Friends and family won’t understand the sudden shift in how you handle money
  4. They don’t yet understand how close they are to extreme wealth

So how can you stay motivated after getting out of debt? How can you keep the stamina to continue onto the road to wealth?

1) Remind Yourself of What’s Important

If you dug your way out of debt, then you must have had a pretty powerful reason to do so. And you know what? I bet that reason will propel you to become wealthy as well!

  • you wanted your kids to have a better life
  • fear of retiring on Spam and tuna
  • travel the world
  • leave an inheritance to your children and your children’s children

All of the above are fantastic reasons to get out of debt, but to fulfill these goals you not only have to get out of debt, you’ve got to keep moving forward and build up your wealth!

Keep your reasons in front of you and set up your goals accordingly.

2) Find a Millionaire Mentor

Remember that guy that retired early from work? And that couple at church that lives simply, but they’ve held great jobs all their lives? These are the people that you should seek out. They’re humble and unassuming, but chances are that they have great wealth and can help you grow yours too.

Want to stay motivated after getting out of debt? Ask these millionaires out for breakfast. Inquire about their lives and how they got there, and how they amassed so much wealth that they can now do anything they please.

Let them know your situation and that you’d like to grow your wealth. Chances are they’d be happy to help! And, when you’ve got a millionaire in your corner telling you that you’re on the right track, saving money sure seems a lot more fun!

P.S. Stay far away from the guys driving brand new luxury cars and flashing fancy Rolex watches. They’re probably deeply in debt and know nothing about building wealth.

3) Understand the Power of Compound Growth

When you were first getting out of debt, finding out about the debt snowball was a life saver! After paying off your first debt, that payment got applied to the next debt, which then snowballed to the next debt once that one was done!

Related: How the Debt Snowball Really Works (Free Tool Included)

Many people don’t realize it, but that debt snowball can keep rolling and turn into your wealth snowball! Your first investment produces monthly earnings that can be used for the second investment, which produces more money that snowballs into the third investment. These steps produce money at an exponential rate!

Check out this rental property wealth calculator to see how quickly money can grow and snowball! It may take you a full three years to save up for your first rental property with cash, but thanks to the income they produce you’ll be able to snowball your way to 9 rentals in just 11 years – all with cash!!

4) Learn to Love the Simple Life

Remember earlier in this post where I talked about riding my bike slowly and staring up at the sky? It may sound a little ridiculous, but you’ve got to learn how to get there too. If you don’t find yourself loving the simple things and being content with life, then you’ll never grow your savings beyond a few thousand bucks. To be truly wealthy, you should be able to grow your savings account to $100k without thinking twice about that next boat, car, or house. You should just be perfectly content where you’re at!

This is how teachers, janitors, and general laborers find themselves with millions of dollars in their old age. They live simply while still loving life and investing the difference.

It’s not rocket science, it’s just learning to love your life instead of someone else’s.

Stay Motivated After Getting Out of Debt

If you wanted to travel from San Diego to Washington D.C., you wouldn’t be all that excited about halting your trip in Wichita, Kansas, would you (no offense to you Shockers out there)? Of course not! You’ve only made it half way to your goal!

The same is true for your wealth journey.

If you want to be wealthy, then getting out of debt isn’t enough. In addition to ditching your debt, you’ve got to:

  • Keep driving toward a new goal
  • Find a mentor that challenges you
  • Discover what’s possible with an investment calculator
  • Keep living simply

Are you ready to become wealthy? Will you stay motivated after getting out of debt??

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6 comments to How to Stay Motivated After Getting Out of Debt

  • Hey Derek,

    Good post. I’m on the staying motivated side of things and I’m in a (good) situation. I’ve been asking this on other sites and have wrote a post on it, but I’m still struggling to figure out the best options for me…

    I have about $20k in cash, contributing to a 401k for the company match, and have a mortgage at 2.625%. I have PMI, but would have to pay down $30k to get rid of it. Also, I can save about $3k a month. I think contributing to an IRA would be best at this point. I don’t think paying down the mortgage would be wise even if I could get rid of PMI…

    Thoughts?
    Erik @ The Mastermind Within recently posted..Who Says Houses Aren’t Good Investments – Erik’s Story 2

  • […] How to Stay Motivated After Getting Out of Debt from Life And My Finances […]

  • Anthony

    Good morning Erik,

    Have you ever heard of Dave Ramsey and the Baby Steps? If not, I’d advise you to check them out and see what you think about them. Once you’re out of all non-mortgage consumer debt you save up your fully funded 3-6 month emergency fund, then you start investing 15% of your income for retirement. Once you’ve hit your 15% mark, then you start saving and investing for your children’s college fund(s). If you don’t have any kids then you go straight to Baby Step 6, throwing all additional funds above the 15% and college funds at paying off the mortgage early. Many people who have gone on the show to do the debt free screams that have paid off houses mentioned paying them off in about 7-10 years (which is what people who have gone through the program have reported doing).

    Considering you appear to be a numbers person, you may want to investigate the program to see if the steps as laid out would work for you as expected. If you do that, you may find that you’ll be getting rid of a lot more than just PMI and just might love the results.

    On a separate note, at $3K/month, you’ll max your IRA (preferably Roth IRA) before you know it and will still have plenty to max your 401(k) with more left over.

    Happy Friday!

  • I think people get back into debt simply because of their mentality towards money. Most of us are used to feeling down and negative about our financial situation, so when we are finally out of it and doing well, we’re lost. We’re a creature of habit and it’s a habit to feel uncomfortable with money.

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