Debt often provides the freedom to achieve specific life goals, like going to college or buying a home. But when your financial obligations seem mountainous, and you're struggling to keep up with payments, it can feel like a 1,000-pound weight bearing down on you. And that's not good for your health.
Numerous studies and polls have shown that people who report elevated debt levels tend to suffer from a range of stress-related physical ailments, including migraines, muscle tension, and ulcers, and digestive tract problems. People with high debt are also more likely to develop heart problems or have a heart attack. The National Institute of Health (NIH) found that individuals who perceive themselves as owing high levels of debt have a 1.3 percent higher than average diastolic blood pressure–a small difference that could nevertheless significantly increase their risk of hypertension or stroke.
Your mental health is likely to be affected as well. A 2012 survey of 10,000 people in the U.K. found that those having difficulties paying off loans are more than twice as likely to experience mental problems, including depression and anxiety.
Although it may feel impossible, there are ways to get your debt under control, reduce your stress, and improve your health. Here are three key steps to take.
- Create a repayment plan. Make a list of the debts that you owe and create a plan of priority for repayment. Many people choose a “high-interest rate” approach where they pay off debts with the highest interest rates first while paying a minimum on the others. This method helps you pay down debt quickly and reduces the amount of overall interest that you pay. But others prefer to use a “snowball” method. In this approach, the debtor pays off the smallest loans first, then uses the money freed up to help pay off the next largest loan. While this approach takes longer, you'll see the elimination of individual debts faster, giving you a psychological boost.
- Change your spending habits. Permanently getting from beneath overwhelming debt is difficult without making a serious shift in how you spend money. Take a hard, honest look at your monthly expenses and determine which expenditures are genuine “needs” rather than “wants.” Next, create a budget that substantially reduces or eliminates the “wants.” Commit to using that money that you save toward paying off your debt.
- Seek a Loan Modification. If a significant percentage of your debt consists of loans, consider obtaining a loan modification. As the name implies, loan modification is a change in the terms of your loan. The change could take the form of reducing the amount of monthly payments by extending the length of your loan term, lowering your interest rate, or switching from an adjustable-rate mortgage to a fixed-rate loan.
If you have any questions about loan modification or need assistance with the loan modification process, contact an experienced New York loan modification attorney today to learn your options.