Since I’ve been helping people with money troubles, since 1994, one constant has existed, people don’t like the debt advice they get. This is not a reflection on the quality or appropriateness of the advice they get but a reflection of a conflict between what they want to hear and what they do hear.
The denial to accept sound advice given often leads people to do counterproductive things, have them tilting at windmills, and wasting a lot of time they could have otherwise used to recover.
For example, if someone says they don’t want to go bankrupt, and yet that is the most logical course of action, what will the outcome be? That person will first be mad at the adviser, feeling they don’t know what they are talking about because the advice they were given was what they did not want to hear. They will not follow the advice and instead will drain what little cash remains, will enter a repayment plan they can’t possible maintain or do nothing as they search for a magic answer.
The magic answer lies not in the tool or solution that is suggested to break the bonds of debt, the magic lies in finding the right solution that allows the person to overcome their financial problems in a way that helps them to achieve their goals.
Most people in debt, when they come to the realization they are in financial trouble, search for a solution they perceive will allow them to neutralize the pain of debt without any inconveniences in life. The very first reaction people have is the desire for a loan to get out of debt.
What people fail to realize is that the debt is not the problem, it is the symptom of an underlying problem. If someone was to get a loan to pay off their debt, and never addressed the underlying issue of overspending, under-earning, or whatever it was that lead them to the moment of problem debt, the cycle will simply repeat itself.
The best debt advice to give someone in trouble is not what they want to hear, it is the truth based on experience and expertise as a debt advisor. Even if a person is in an emotionally charged moment in their life, in debt stress and worried about what to do, the most appropriate action by the debt adviser is to provide them with the best advice they can, regardless for personal gain of the debt adviser or the organization the advisor works for, and do it with care, compassion, and sometimes a little tough love.