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The Top 5 Mistakes People Make When Paying Off Debt

Kelley C. Long
5 min readAug 12, 2021

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As someone who has dug myself out of credit card debt a couple times, discussing the best way to get out of debt isn’t just some academic exercise. It’s sharing what worked for me, considering the fact that nobody’s perfect, myself definitely included.

In addition, in the process of working with people who are struggling with credit card debt, I’ve also noticed some common mistakes they make that if avoided, could really accelerate the arrival of their Debt-Free Day. Here are five ways people mess up their debt pay-off plans:

Mistake #1: Neglecting to address the root cause of the debt first.

While a lot of personal finance folks assume that credit card debt is the result of irresponsible behavior, I observe differently. Plus, I see NO benefit in shaming people for past behavior, since I’ve been there in that place of racking up debt, knowing it, and not knowing how to stop it at the time (or knowing, but not being willing to).

Most credit card debt stories start one of three ways:

  1. A job loss that doesn’t lead to any spending cuts.
  2. An accumulation of unexpected expenses like vet bills, travel for family emergencies, car repairs, etc. that snowball into a feeling of “whatever” as you…

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Kelley C. Long

CFP & CPA writing about money & how it fits into life based on my work with everyday people as a financial coach. www.financialblisscoach.com