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Why is it Taking So Long (Debt reduction)

One of the more interesting analogies I like making is that Weight Loss and Debt Reduction have a great deal in common. They are both are very hard for a lot of folks to succeed. Simply answering the question, “Why is it taking so long” is not easy.

If you have put on a lot of weight over time, it is hard to figure out how to lose it again. The same thing happens with debt.  It is rare that someone suddenly finds themselves in debt. It takes a while to build up a lot of debt to the point where you get upset about it.

A more interesting way to look at this is that losing weight and reducing debt both take a long time. However, your progress with both are actually (usually) quite different.

If you try to lose weight and find a successful way to do it (via exercise, diet or a combination of those), typically you lose weight quicker at the start of the process than you do as you approach your ideal (or goal) weight. If you are trying to lose a lot of weight this is actually even more obvious, but this is what I have seen when I have lost weight as well.

Simplified Graph to show how weight and debt reduction take different paths to the same end point

Why is it Taking so Long ?

With Debt Reduction, getting instant gratification is a lot harder to do.  If you are attempting to pay down debt and you are close to living “pay cheque to pay cheque”, finding that extra cash to pay it down is a lot harder.  At the start of your debt reduction plan, your debt will not be dropping quickly. However, if you persevere and remain constant with the money you are paying your debts down with (if not increasing it a little), you will actually start paying down debt at a much faster rate. This portion of most reduction schemes must be one of the reasons folks abandon their debt pay down plans. The frustration with why it is taking so long.

I still think losing weight and Debt reduction are both really hard to do. I am saying that if you are trying to reduce your debt, keep in mind that at the start of your process you may get frustrated, but if you stay with it things should get better quickly. There is a reason it is taking so long.

Most things that take a while to do, are worth completing.

Feel Free to Comment

  1. Great analysis. I think you’re right — debt repayment accelerates because you can get ahead of interest payments while weight loss decelerates simply because the first ten pounds is really low-hanging fruit. Another interesting correlation is the connection between weight and net worth (inverse). I think DQYDJ wrote about it but if it was somebody else apologies.

  2. Good comparison — especially when it comes to seeing the pay-off. When I was paying of my student loan (line of credit) it went much faster towards the end. The lower it got, the more I was motivated to pay down extra. Finally it got to the point where I could pay off the balance in a lump sum. It felt great!

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