Do you have debt?
Consumer debt. Student loan debt. Mortgage debt.
It’s all debt.
And debt is money that you owe.
That is all.
It doesn’t mean anything else until you give it meaning.
Did you know you can make debt mean whatever you want?
Your debt can be empowering. You can use it to your advantage. And you can feel good about your debt so that you pay it off from abundance instead of scarcity.
In this episode, I show you how to change your thinking about debt so you can get the results you want in your financial life.
Here are more of my favorite resources on debt:
- The Money Mindset That Will Help You Get Out Of Debt (blog post)
- Money Mindset For her (course)
- Money Mindset Free Course (free training)
- How To Get Out Of Debt In 12 Steps (blog post)
Full The Debt Mindset Episode Transcript
Welcome to the Design Your Dream Life podcast where it’s all about designing your life on your terms and now your host, Natalie Bacon.
Hey, how’s it going? I’m so excited to talk with you. We’re going to talk about the debt mindset today and I like every episode, I get so excited because everything that I’m talking about means so much to me and I hope that it inspires you and today I think will be no exception because we’re going to talk about debt and so many people want to talk to me about debt because I actually started my online business as a blog about student loan debt.
It started as thefinancegirl.com and I had graduated with a ton of student loan debt from law school, $206,000 total. That was from my private education at Wittenberg University for undergrad as well as going to The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law for law school. So in total I had over $200 grand of student loan debt. I was completely in a victim mindset when I realized how much debt I had, I felt like, you know, how could this happen?
I did everything right. You know, how was I ever going to be this like rich lawyer that I thought I was going to be? I really set off to start a blog because I thought that I could help other women learn about money and avoid the mistakes that I had and I figured that there was a ton that I needed to learn about money since clearly I knew nothing.
I mean, just to give you background, I really had no interest in money at all. Kind of the stereotypical feminine qualities I guess. Like I love shopping, I love all that girl stuff. I never really cared about money. So student loans, like I knew I had them, but didn’t know how much, didn’t really pay attention to it and none of that stuff until I graduated and when I graduated I thought, you know, I would just pay them off and I would be rich and it would be fine.
I was so amazed when I realized how much I had compared to how much I’d be making as a lawyer. Well, fast forward to now and everything. My whole life is so different. And if it weren’t for that debt, I never would have started this business. And it’s truly an example of your circumstances don’t mean anything until you give it meaning. And I will tell you that throughout the journey of starting a blog and starting an online business, I really shifted my mindset from scarcity to abundance where I went from thinking my student loans happened to me to knowing that my student loans happened for me. And that shift made me question what my student loans made possible and I created a six figure hope to be seven figure business along the way. So this is something I’m really passionate about, although I don’t talk about it a ton.
I want to talk about it today. And if you want more of this, you can actually go to Nataliebacon.com/moneymindsettraining. And that’s all one word, money mindset training. And you can get a seven day free training in there that will walk you through all of this money mindset stuff.
But I want to first take a step back and talk about what I mean by debt. So I think when I first learned this, it was kind of surprising to me, but also so simple going into debt is buying money. You don’t have money, so you go buy some and then you use the money to buy the item. So there’s the money that you use to buy the money and then there’s the money that you use to buy the item, but you have to pay for the money that you bought.
So when you think about it, going into debt is buying money. And there’s two types of debt that I want to talk about here and it’s not good debt and bad debt. I want to talk about debt that you already have and I want to talk about the action of going into debt in the future.
So debt that you already have as a circumstance. Like you have a certain amount of debt, you might have no debt, you might have a lot of debt and what’s a lot, right? It’s a circumstance. Whatever the number is is a circumstance. And what I mean by circumstances that it doesn’t have meaning until you give it meaning. Okay? It’s neutral. Remember, you have your thoughts, your feelings, your actions, and your results and circumstances. Your thoughts create your feelings, your feelings create your actions and your actions create your results and circumstances are neutral.
That means they’re neither good nor bad. You make a circumstance good or bad, when you give it meaning so you can make something be bad or good by the meaning you give it. Okay? So if you want debt to be bad, it’s bad because you’re giving it that meaning.
Now going into debt in the future is an action, right? That’s something that doesn’t exist yet and that you, you know, an action that you’re going to choose to take or not to take. Let’s first talk about debt as a circumstance. Debt as a circumstance. Being neutral is something that I see a lot of people, particularly with massive student loan debt, not acknowledging they think the people who I talk with and mostly it’s women who I’m talking with are making their debt means something about them. And I just want to take a minute and let you know that your debt means nothing about you.
I want to repeat that. Your debt means nothing about you, absolutely nothing about you. It doesn’t mean you’re a good person. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. I remember I was sitting with someone who I kind of mentor and she was talking to me about all of her student loan debt and it, you know, I don’t even remember the exact number, but it wasn’t six figures, but to her it was enormous and it was like crippling and she was making it mean so much about her worth. Like she had just graduated college, she was on a plan to pay it off within a few years. She was living at home with her parents to make this happen. She’s doing everything right, you know, by her own standards. But she was still making it mean something so negative about her and it was manifesting in her life to her detriment, right?
So she was taking a lot of action from scarcity and there’s never enough money and there’s never enough time and she can’t work hard enough. And really coming from this place of there’s never enough. And what that will do is that will leave you feeling terrible and you’ll take action against your best interest, which will lead to results you don’t want in your life. So the goal is to reframe debt to mean something that makes you feel good, and that doesn’t mean that you make it mean something so that you don’t pay it off, right?
You want to make it mean something that gets you the result you want. Without making it mean something bad about you. There is no upside to thinking negative thoughts about your debt. There is no upside to thinking your debt means something negative about you. I really want you to know that we beat ourselves up so much.
It is just so unnecessary. Do not beat yourself up about your debt. This was a huge shift for me. I’m a huge, you know, Dave Ramsey’s Susie Orman fan and I think that there are teachings are so foundational and important, but I think they’re the beginning. When you learn from them, what you have to be careful of is taking away their teachings without making it mean something negative about you.
So it’s, you know, one thing to learn that you know, there’s a way to have financial peace and get out of debt, but you just have to be careful about you don’t make it mean something about your selfworth. And what I hear a lot from the women who talk with me is that they’re making it mean something about them. They’re in tears about their debt and it’s making them feel shame because of their student loan debt.
It’s completely unnecessary and it’s going to end up creating negative results in your life. Your debt means nothing about you. You do not need to beat yourself up about it ever. And guess what? You can just stop that crap right now. I’m so serious. Your debt, the debt that you already have as a circumstance is just a number on a screen or on a page.
You don’t have to make it mean anything. In fact, if you don’t want to get out of that, you don’t have to get out of debt. I thought there was just this like debt and money, God who knew all the answers and was going to like punish me for not doing it the right way. And that’s not the case. There are lots of different ideas about how you should manage your money and all of those ideas and methodologies will lead to different results.
So you want to look at the results that you want and then you want to work backwards to get it. So it might be that you do want a debt free and the way that you become debt free is you need to get out of the debt that you’re in right now. But that’s it. You just have to come up with a plan to get out of the debt. All of the chatter in your head about the debt is not necessary at all. You can feel great. Like right now you can be like, yeah, I have debt. So what? It’s fine. None of your business, like you don’t have to make it mean anything. And I really had a huge shift in my life when I stopped making my debt mean something negative about me. If you get around people who don’t have debt, guess what?
They’re not talking about. They’re not talking about debt, right? It’s kinda like when you are overweight and you want to lose weight, right? You are constantly thinking about your weight and what you eat and how to lose weight and what your next meal is going to be and what your meal plan is. There’s so much chatter in your mind because you want to lose the weight, right? Guess what? Skinny people aren’t sitting around thinking about all day. They’re not sitting around thinking about food and how to, lose weight. They’re thinking about other things, right?
And this is a really good example of getting around the people who have the results that you have. It’s the same thing applies for anything in your life business as well. It’s like the people who already make six figures from their business or in their career, they’re not thinking about that.
They’re thinking about how to make more money or where they’re going on vacation. They’re not thinking about how to make six figures. They already make six figures. Right? I saw that shift for me, I wanted to make six figures so bad now, like I don’t even think about it. I’m thinking about how to make seven figures.
When you’re in debt, it’s very easy to get into scarcity and get so obsessed with it that you make it mean something about you and that you act like you have so much debt and the way that you become debt free is you act like someone who doesn’t have debt, and that doesn’t mean going out and spending more money. It means figuring out what a person who has an abundant money mindset acts like. And of course, what they act like is how they feel and what they think.
Right? So your thoughts create your feelings, your feelings create your actions, your actions create your results. Okay. I used to live in like a super rundown apartment, which was so unnecessary. I don’t even know why I did that. Um, and it wasn’t until I heard my mentor and coach say, look at where you live, look at your life. Like you created that from your mind. I remember going like, why did I create this? Like I don’t want to live here. This is terrible.
And like just like that was done, not even a question. Moved out, moved to Chicago, live in a fantastic apartment. It’s amazing. Okay. Along the way, I had to shift how I thought about my student loan debt. Now for me, I want to live a debt free life. So what that means is paying off student loan debt from abundance. It means doing a product launch and paying 15 grand on my student loan debt at once.
It means paying three to five grand a month in student loans as I earn more money. So I’m still taking action, but I’m taking it from a place of love and abundance just because I want to, not because I feel like someone is over me saying like, you have to get out of debt and you’re a bad person. If you have debt, you have to be careful too with the media. Because a lot of media that I will see about money comes from scarcity and it’s very fear driven and you know, can you still get married if you have debt, are you not having kids because of debt? Like seriously be careful with that because what that’s doing is it’s putting new thoughts in your head about what you should think about debt. So I made sure that I stopped following things on social media and including like Instagram that would kind of put thoughts and ideas into my head that I didn’t want.
And that’s not just for money, but for all areas of life. I don’t follow like the cynical accounts anymore or the um, parody accounts because I just don’t want to come from a place of scarcity anymore. So you can decide for yourself if you want to get out of debt or not. If you do want to get out of debt, you can either cut your expenses or make more money. That’s pretty much it, right?
So you have to come up with money to pay for the money that you already bought. If you decide to cut your expenses, you have to be careful to do it from abundance. Do not come from a place of scarcity because it will feel really, really bad and you’ll feel like you’re punishing yourself. Now, if you can have fun with it and cut your expenses and you realize, you know you want to be healthier and live a better life and you don’t need that cable, do it from that place of abundance.
But if you’re doing it with like anticipation of the minute you’re out of debt, you’re going to add all these things back like cable or whatever. Don’t do it that way. You know, like you, I just think the conversation about stopping paying for lattes is so silly and it’s just shows the mindset of the person creating that conversation, right?
Really wealthy people who are out of debt and just create tons of money or not like talking about whether to buy a cup of coffee, like they’re just not. So I just want to encourage you to get around people and it doesn’t have to be, you know, in your day to day physical life, it can just be books and podcasts, but whatever result that you want with money, get around them, learn from them, put them in your ear so that you’re really getting the right information.
Because if you cut expenses when you don’t want to and you come from scarcity, you’re going to be thinking you can’t afford this. You can’t afford that, and it’s a lower level frequency and you’re going to project that into the world and that’s what you’ll attract. You want to come from abundance. What does getting out of debt from a place of abundance look like? That’s the question that you need to be asking yourself. For me, it was starting an online business and it was making more money. For you it could be something else.
I would encourage you to use the questions technique that I talk about in another episode. Ask yourself questions at night. How can I make more money to pay off my debt? How can I offer more value to the marketplace that will help me get more money so I can pay off my debt?
You know, one of the fastest ways to earn more money to pay off your debt is to sell things. I love minimalism. Light. I would say I’m not a true minimalist. I have an apartment with, you know, a blender, a coffee maker, and a toaster oven as I look around. But I, I do keep things very clutter-free and I sell things all the time and I’m constantly asking, would I rebuy this again? Would I want it?
A great way to, to simplify your life, to have a clutter free home and to make more money is to sell things. So take what is valuable and offer it to someone else in exchange for money. That’s what we do. Sell what you bought, sell the car. Sell whatever else is in your house that you can come up with. So having more money and less things can create more abundance in your life.
But again, do this from a place of abundance because you want to simplify. You want to feel good about it. You will really know if this is coming from abundance or scarcity based on how you feel. Scarcity feels yucky. It feels like there’s not enough. There’s never enough. You’re constantly stressed. You’re constantly worried. It’s like a tense motion. It’s a worried, it’s, it doesn’t feel good.
Abundance is curiosity, creativity, love, excitement, and notice that it has nothing to do with the actual debt. Debt is a circumstance. It’s just numbers on a page. And this is really hard because if you’re really into getting out of debt and you’re really into money, it’s so easy to follow. Tons of personal finance gurus out there and they’re coming from scarcity. So you just want to be really careful with what you’re learning and what you’re feeding your mind because I just want to offer to you that you don’t have to believe at all.
You can just make up your own beliefs and it can work for you. And that’s literally what I’ve done in my life. I know someone who was a former acquaintance who had about the same amount of debt that I had when we were closer and he had about god, it was like $130,000 of student loan debt at the same time. I had that much debt. I knew him professionally and he made his debt means something about him. He couldn’t get another job. He couldn’t live on his own, he couldn’t move out of state. He he like without questioning any of it, his student loan debt was the reason for his life and when you give your power away like that, you will never come up with solutions, right? So you can do that and that will literally create results in your life. You will stay in that job that you don’t like.
You will stay making the same amount of money, you’ll stay living with roommates and you’ll probably stay in debt. Now flip that on its head and do what I did like what does this make possible? Right? That’s what I did with my student loan debt. And now I have a six figure business, almost seven figure business and I paid off a ton of student loan debt, massive amounts of student loan debt that will be gone soon.
So I really, really want to challenge you that no matter how much debt you have, you need to think about other ways you can pay it off. Um, then you’ve been thinking about now. So if you make a hundred grand as an attorney and you have a hundred grand in student loan debt, you need to think about other ways you can make more money. You need to start focusing on creating value in other ways, not through your job.
Your brain is going to fight you on this and tell you it’s not possible. I don’t want you to listen to it. That’s normal. You have to create new neuropathways for your brain to start thinking and possibility. It’s okay if your brain is not used to it yet. Just start practicing. What does this make possible? Start looking for other examples of people who’ve done it right. So people like my example, a lot of other entrepreneurs and other people who have, my beliefs are good examples of this. But the reason that people gravitate towards me and will, they’ll tell me this is because they like that I started with the debt cause they think that means what I’m saying is true. So it’s true no matter what, but it just happens to be that. That’s my story and I’m happy that it resonates with the people that it does.
And if that’s, you use it as inspiration so that you can start thinking about how you can get out of debt. Just be creative, be very open. I would say you never know. There’s always people looking to hire. There’s always opportunities to sell, more things to create side businesses. There’s always opportunity, always, always, always opportunity. You just have to be on that level of, of frequency and looking for it.
Going into debt is a different thing. So we’ve kinda been talking about debt as, a circumstance getting into debt is an action and that’s also a decision that you have to make. So it’s something that you need to decide if you want to do. Do you want to be someone who gets into debt in the future? Do you want to make that mean something? Do you want to get into debt only if it’s an investment for yourself, meaning something that provides a return or do you want to say no debt, no matter what?
Or do you want to say that certain debt, like an investment maybe in to education or online courses or something is okay to go into debt for but not okay to go into consumer debt? Like what’s okay, I talk about this and Money Mindset School, it’s my money mindset course. It’s moneymindsetschool.com and I teach you how to create a money philosophy and the reason this is important is because you will be bombarded in your life by different beliefs from different people. And I’ve already mentioned that with like the media stuff, but what happens is you just start to believe what other people tell you is true without really thinking about it.
Like I didn’t really think about getting out of debt from a place of abundance before someone told me about it. I didn’t really realize I didn’t have to make my debt mean anything about me until I learned that debt was just a circumstance that I can just make it mean whatever I want.
So creating a money philosophy is really important because it’s like your anchor, it’s like you start the day with that and that’s like your tree, right? And your money philosophy is your tree. And then by the end of the day, maybe all of these like weeds grow up around it and you have to pull all the weeds out and then start the next day with that.
If you don’t pull all the weeds out, you’re going to have weeds around the tree and eventually that is going to look like the weeds itself. So does that make sense? It’s like you have to make sure you’re holding onto your tree. You have to make sure that you’re sticking true to what you believe. And that doesn’t mean you can’t change it down the road, but it needs to be intentional. And not just based on what someone told you. And this is what I teach when I teach people now how to stop caring what other people think.
It’s really, really powerful when you intentionally create beliefs, especially around money because other people can just have beliefs and like they can just be wrong, right? And what makes someone wrong? It’s your belief that they’re wrong because they don’t agree with your belief, right? And that’s fine. That’s the beauty of being humans.
Like we’re all gonna have different opinions and what’s true, right? Whatever you think is true. So I’m telling you that you can make your debt mean whatever you want. You can go into debt in the future or not go into debt. There are benefits, in my opinion, to living a debt free life. That’s part of my money philosophy. But I do it from a place of abundance. I don’t do it from living in a crappy apartment and being super frugal, like that’s not me. And I want to encourage you to really be authentic and honest with yourself.
So many people want to make a ton of money and they want the fancy things, but they feel like it’s not okay to say that. And I’m telling you, it’s really, really hard to attract a ton of money if you’re not comfortable saying, I want to attract a ton of money.
People will like secretly, they want all the fancy things and they want to make a lot of money, but they feel like they can’t say that. You can just want a lot of money. It doesn’t make you like a bad person. It doesn’t mean that you don’t want to help children and saves the world. It’s just money. It’s not something that you need to give more meaning to. Other than that, it’s part of life and it’s a tool and it can provide a lot of freedom and a lot of different ways. So I really want to encourage you to think about what you want to make debt mean to you.
Don’t make it mean anything about you as a person. Don’t listen to people who tell you things about debt that you don’t believe or that you don’t want to believe. Create your own money philosophy and create it from abundance so you can feel really, really good about your debt.
I am so grateful for my debt, you guys. If I did not have student loan debt, I never would have started a blog. I never would have become a financial planner. I never would have become an entrepreneur. I literally like created my business out of my student loan debt. I would never give my debt the power over me that it had over me years ago when I thought that I couldn’t do things because of it. I thought it meant something about me and thank goodness my journey and learning about personal development and money transition from kind of a scarcity money management thinking to more of the abundant money creation thinking.
And that has really become true in my life because your beliefs will create the results that you have in your life. So if you don’t have the results that you want in your life, look at what you are believing to be true about the world and start to shift those beliefs to support the results that you want. I talk about this more in the seven day free training that you can get at nataliebacon.com/moneymindsettraining. That’s all one word. That’s all I have for you this week. Make it an amazing week and I will see you next time.
Thank you for listening to the Design Your Dream Life podcast. Subscribe to the podcast to get the latest episodes sent directly to you. To learn more about designing your dream life visit NatalieBacon.com.