Debt Doesn’t Mean You’re a Bad Person

How often have you heard of people covering up their debts? Or even worse, going into more debt buying things they don’t need to prove to people that they’re “not in debt.”  Too often, this shame someone feels drives them into further debt and causes havoc in other areas of their life.  I’m here to tell you there is another way!

Being in debt does not make you a bad or irresponsible person! I mean, if it did, then anyone who is making payments on a car or house is deemed a “bad person.”  More specifically though, I’m referring to serious consumer debt.  I feel that often times, people who have spending problems cover up their debt or feel ashamed about what they’ve done.  If you keep following a pattern of consumer debt and doing nothing about it, then yes, you are irresponsible!  But, it’s all about how you deal with your debt.  If you realize the damage you’re doing to your finances and do something about it, you learn a tough lesson and move on with life.

If you’re reading this and feel ashamed, you’re not alone!  Excluding homes and cars, roughly 50% of the United States have some sort of consumer debt.  Whether that’s electronics purchases or fancy clothes, 50% of Americans are making bad choices with their credit cards.  Instead of following the herd, be different and get rid of your debts!

Don’t hide it

Debt trapIn movies, we often see characters who do something terribly wrong then try to hide what they’ve done.  What ends up happening?  Often times, they end up making worse choices, and live a life of guilt.  This can be applied to consumer debt.  You don’t have to have a weight on the back of your shoulders.  Even worse, you don’t want your debt to be your stumbling block for even worse decisions.  I don’t know about you but living ashamed of one’s debt does not sound like fun to me.  Instead, you really need to put it out in the open.  Get your friends and family involved.  The worse thing you could do is not ask for help.  You’d be surprised at how many people around you genuinely want to help you.  If you were ashamed to bring it up, your debt could potentially get worse and worse.

Change course

It’s all about attitude.  As long as you are willing to work on your debts, you’re headed in the right direction!  Like any struggle or bad choice in life, if you take responsibility for your actions, you are one step closer to resolving pain in your life.  It’s almost like a detox.  You have placed so much poison (debt) into your life, that now you feel overwhelmed.  You wouldn’t keep feeding yourself poison now would you?  Of course not!  Instead, you need to detox, take responsibility, and make paying off your debts a personal goal.  I love personal goals because only you can make or break the goal.  The ball is in your court, what you do with it is up to you.

After reading this, hopefully you don’t feel ashamed about your debt.  Having consumer debt does not make you a bad person!  However, if you choose to ignore your debt and keep piling on more debt, I believe that shows the type of character you have.  Don’t go down that path.  Choose the right way and pay off your debt.  Start a budget, live within your means, and you will conquer your debt in no time!

To the readers, what’s your story?  How have you dealt with the issue of consumer debt?  Comment below with your thoughts!

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Published or updated May 26, 2013.


  1. It’s funny, but many on many personal finance blogs you will feel the exact opposite tone. So many times I have read posts and comments that made me feel like people who took on debt were being chastised, judged harshly, and even ridiculed.

    I can understand why some people may be ashamed about their debt situations. As an example the people across from my parents, living in a gated community, have a Mercedes and a Range Rover in the driveway yet their clothes look tattered and worn and they supposedly cannot afford to pay to have their roof power washed or their house painted to keep up with HOA standards. To me, that is an embarrassing situation and I would have trouble telling people if I were them. But there is nothing embarrassing about getting in over your head due to unexpected things like medical issues or loss of job (or even worse loss of a family member).

    • I think a good many of us get into some sort of debt problem at some point in our lives. We do it. We make mistakes. But what’s important is to take action on it. I’d much rather hear from a friend how they screwed up and they are working towards fixing a problem than see them try to pretend a situation doesn’t exist.

      Keeping up with the Jones’ puts a lot of pressure on a family. We judge ourselves against what we see around us. But when what we see around us may not be true, well, then trying to keep up can be dangerous.

  2. Exactly, Glen. I’m a big fan of personal accountability myself. A good many people put on some sort of facade. My response to the comments people make about what others are doing has been “So? How does that affect me in any way?”–I simply don’t care anymore.

  3. Serious consumer debt does not make one a bad person, but I would say it does make them irresponsible in most cases. Responsible spending means living within your income, except in very extenuating circumstances.

    • Without a doubt there is irresponsibility when accumulating debt (in many cases), but what then? Folks need to understand that it’s OK to make mistakes and you can dig your way out of your mistakes. Pretending things are OK when they aren’t won’t help you. Better to step up and admit your debt and take action on it.

  4. Debt can happen to anyone, that is a simple fact. The hard part (and most important part) is facing the fact that you have a problem with your debt and getting the help that you need. Personal budgeting is a great way to begin. The key is to set a personal budget that you can stick to – there is no point in setting a budget that’s designed for you to fail – you cannot deprive youself of ALL the little extras because you’re in debt-everyone needs a little treat now and again. There is plenty of free information on the web to get you started on a debt plan, but there is no substitute for a face to face meeting with a professional.

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