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First Steps Out of College Debt

Last week, I posted to social media that the first step to getting out of college (or any) debt is to depend on God. Rather than repeat everything I already said, you can see the post at https://www.linkedin.com/posts/russellhstevens_saynotocollegedebt-payingcollegeloans-prayerforguidance-activity-6892967868787757056-x_11. My post ended by suggesting that you pray about your debt and how God can help you get it paid off.

Hopefully, you started with that step and prayed. After praying (which, by the way, shouldn’t stop), your next step is to figure out what you owe. As an accounting professor with a background in industry accounting, it never ceases to amaze me that many people have no idea what they owe. I don’t know if it’s because they don’t want to know, or they just haven’t taken the time to sit down and write it down.

The reason that you may not know isn’t important. But I’ll guarantee that your creditors don’t care whether you know how much you owe or don’t. They want their payments. And they will take steps to get their money if they need to.

So, let’s figure out what you owe. This may take some time if you haven’t kept good records. First, you need a place to write down your debts. I recommend the Debt List, created by Larry Burkett. You can download a copy of the Debt List at https://saynotocollegedebt.com/files-and-videos/ about halfway down the page. It’s available in PDF or Excel formats. There’s even a video to show how to complete the form.

Once you have the form, put the debts on it as you discover them. The best way to do that is when the bill for each comes in the mail (or online). The bill should show the creditor’s name, the amount still due, the next payment due, the payment due date, and the interest rate. It may show the payoff date, but that’s not important at this point.

Loans that don’t have monthly payments are a bit more difficult. You may need to pray for good memory to remember that you owe your Uncle Bob a couple of hundred dollars that he wants back soon. Try to get everything written down on the form. I’ve seen the look on a person’s face when the carefully developed plan for paying off his or her debt goes in the toilet after discovering a forgotten debt that was left out of the plan. The frustration can be overwhelming.

I’ll write more on this as this series progresses. I’ll also be posting to social media between these blog posts. Those posts will mostly be part of this series as well. If you want to catch them, follow my SayNoToCollegeDebt FaceBook page or my SayNo!ToCollege debt LinkedIn page. All my blogs and between blog posts go to both of those locations. Please forward this to anyone who would benefit from reading it or anyone who would benefit from the upcoming posts. And thanks for reading.

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