Five Common Habits of People in Debt

Author: Jennifer Outram, SEO & Digital Marketing Specialist  Big Leap, LLC

Statistics have found that debt isn’t about how much money a person makes, but how much money they can hang on to and manage. You’d probably be surprised at how many of the seemingly well-to-do people you know are actually buried in significant debt, and frantically trying to fix their credit as a result. But what makes debt such a trap for some people, regardless of their careers or income?

If you did some digging, you’d probably find that they share these five common characteristics of people in debt.

1. They Are Impatient

People in debt are often impatient and impulsive. “Sleeping on it” and window shopping is not an option for these people – they want what they want, when they want it. They are all too familiar with credit card payments and financing options, so they know they don’t need to have the cash in hand to buy whatever is appealing to them in the moment.

To break or avoid this habit, get yourself into a cash-only mentality. Know the balance of your accounts at the start of each day, and grant yourself a certain amount of cash for your purchases. If you can’t pay cash for it, don’t buy it.

2. They Rationalize

This goes hand-in-hand with their impatience. When they see something they want, there is always a good reason (or excuse) to buy it right then. These people often confuse wants and needs, and because they are also impatient they don’t take the time to think out the purchase to actually determine if what they’re about to charge is a need or a want.

To break this habit, reward yourself with experiences or free/less expensive things instead of things you can purchase. Also, take a picture of anything you’re about to buy and send it to a trusted friend or family member with the caption, “Do I realistically need this?” This will give you another perspective and also give you time to realize that you probably don’t.

3. They are insecure

The first two habits are often a symptom of this third characteristic, which is insecurity. For whatever reason, many people find comfort and security in tangible belongings or what they can buy – whether it’s a nice car, house, the newest smartphone, an exotic vacation, designer clothes, or what have you.

On the surface, it may seem that these people are happy, successful, and secure, so imitating them must mean that you’ll have that as well, right? Wrong. If you don’t have the money to do so, then you’re setting yourself up for the exact opposite. Stress, financial despair, and more insecurity as you constantly struggle to keep up with the Jones’s, who are more than likely trying to keep up with someone, themselves, is what you have to look out for when you jump on this bandwagon. Stay out of this cycle.

4. They Lack Perspective

People in debt rarely have much of a savings or retirement fund. They don’t think about the future or plan for the unexpected. They often have the, “it won’t happen to me” mentality, but that’s the thing about life – it always does. Maybe they’ll be lucky and avoid anything big, but even having the funds to repair or replace a flat tire, fix a broken window, or fly to visit a sick or dying family member may not be available for people in debt.

To work on this habit, start by calculating your monthly expenses and starting an emergency savings that can cover 3 months worth of expenses in case something happens. Make sure this fund is not easily accessible so you don’t dip into it unnecessarily.

5. They are disorganized

People in debt don’t know what days their bills are due, or what amount is due. They likely have bills on auto-draft to avoid missing a payment and to save time, but often find themselves hit with overdraft fees because the funds aren’t always there.

To avoid this, get yourself more involved with your finances by manually paying your bills each month. Set reminders on your calendar and phone so you don’t miss a payment, but if you take the money out yourself and can see the balance, you will have a better idea of what your financial situation looks like consistently.

Skip the cart

Shopping carts are big and getting bigger. Seriously. If it’s just a habit to grab a cart when you go shopping, opt for a basket instead. You won’t be able to fit as much and your arm will get tired, so you’ll naturally shop and spend less. This will help you stick to your list and avoid impulse shopping, so skip the cart and reach for a basket or your own arms instead.

These tips can help you gain control of your finances and rein in your spending.

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Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley understands the difference between being rich and poor: at age nine, his family went from being multi-millionaires to broke in just one night, due to a catastrophic fire that destroyed his Dad's thriving business. For fourteen years they struggled with poverty. There were eleven in Tom's family, and they lived in constant fear of losing their home.

Driven by the desire to unlock the secrets to success and failure, Tom spent five years studying the daily activities of 233 rich people and 128 poor people. He discovered there was an immense difference between the habits of the rich and the poor. During his research he identified over 300 daily activities that separated the “haves” from the “have nots.” Tom decided to write a book to share what he learned. That book, Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals (1st Edition), went on to become an Amazon Bestseller in the United States forty times over a three year period. To give you some perspective, in order to be a true Amazon Bestseller in the United States, where you actually receive a specific Bestseller designation from Amazon, you need to be in the top 100 of all books sold by Amazon in the United States in a given day. Rich Habits did that for nearly thirty straight days, rising as high as #7, eclipsing such Bestselling authors such as Stephen Covey, Robert Kiyosaki and J.K. Rowlings. Imagine that - an unknown, first-time, self-published author selling more books than J.K. Rowlings!

Tom now travels the world, sharing his Rich Habits and motivating audiences at industry conferences, corporate events, universities, multi-level marketing group events, and global sales organizations’ presentations and finance conferences. He has even spoken on the same stage with famous entrepreneurs and personal development experts, such as Sir Richard Branson, Robin Sharma, Dr. Daniel Amen, and many others.

Tom has shared his insights on various national and international network, cable, and Internet television programs such as CBS Evening News, NBC News, Yahoo Financially Fit,, India TV, Australia, and a host of others. He has been interviewed on many prestigious nationally syndicated radio shows, including the Dave Ramsey Show, Marketplace Money, and WABC.

Tom has been featured in numerous print magazines—such as Money magazine, Inc. Magazine, SUCCESS Magazine, Entrepreneur magazine, Fast Company magazine, More magazine, Epoca Magazine (Brazil’s largest weekly) and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine—and various online publications, including USA Today, CNN, MSN Money,,, and the Huffington Post. Tom is a frequent contributor to Business Insider,, and a few other media outlets.

National publicity has garnered international media attention for Tom and his Rich Habits research spanning 23 countries. Broadcast media, online publications, and television throughout Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the United Kingdom, and Central and South America have shared his powerful message.

In an effort to help parents, grandparents, teachers and adults become success mentors to the younger generation, Tom released his second book, Rich Kids: How to Raise Our Children to be Happy and Successful in Life in 2014. This book was the self-help category winner of the 2015 New York Book Festival and Runner-up in the prestigious 2015 Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards Contest. In 2016 Tom released his third book, Change Your Habits, Change Your Life. This book provides the latest science on habit change as well as more of Tom's unique research on the specific habits that helped transform 177 ordinary individuals into self-made millionaires.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, and hold a master’s degree in taxation. As president of Cerefice and Company, CPAs, Tom heads one of the premier financial firms in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
Email Tom
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