Charlie Linville lives here in Boise. He is a US Marine Corps veteran who lost his right leg in 2012 when he stepped on an IED in Afghanistan. He returned home last night after becoming the first combat amputee to climb to the top of Mount Everest.
This was his THIRD attempt to scale the mountain. An avalanche shut down his attempt in 2014. An earthquake shut the mountain down in 2015.
He succeeded this time, but still had to fight the battler against freezing temperatures and 60 mph winds.
Mr. Linville did not just wake up one morning, catch a plane to Nepal, throw a backpack on and start hiking. His successful ascent in 2016 took him away from his family for FOUR MONTHS. So on top of all the training he did here in the USA before leaving, he had to plan, adapt, change plans, etc to complete his dream. It was not a one day shot!
When we look at a mountain of debt in front of us, it can appear to be as tall as Mount Everest. Most people believe they have to climb it in one straight shot. So few start the climb and even fewer make it to the top. The majority quit after a short time.
You have my permission to take your time to climb your debt mountain! Making it to the top is infinitely more important than how you get to the top. We all have different paths to get to the top.
Each of us has unique circumstances to work with. Single or married. Kids or no kids. Where you live and the cost of living. So making a statement like "spend less than you earn" is meaningless without putting it into the context of your life.
I have two "tools" for you to put into your climbing backpack. These are the compass and map for you to use on your ascent. Without these you may fall into a crevasse!
Get a copy of your credit report
You cannot climb without a map or a guide. Your credit report will show you what debts are delinquent, which are in collections, if you have any judgments against you and if you have any errors reporting which need to be fixed.
Order one free report from Free Annual Credit Report. You get one from each credit bureau free annually so I would save the other two freebies for later in case you need them.
The credit report will also show you your delinquency dates which you will need for your next tool.
Determine your state's statute of limitations
If you have some old debts, they might be too old for you to be taken to court for. This is where the statute of limitations comes in. Your debts are always collectible but each state has a law setting the maximum time for which you can be sued over them.
Go to NerdWallet and see what your state's SOL is.
A compass tells you which direction you are heading. If a debt is too old to go to court, you may direct your attention to pay a newer one first. You have control over your plan!
Once you have these two tools, then you can create your plan and timetable to pay off those debts. You will know how to allocate your income and determine if you can trim any expenses.
Retired Staff Sergeant Linville demonstrated the awesome task of climbing Mount Everest could be accomplished despite numerous setbacks and months away from home. You can successfully conquer your debt mountain if you climb it one planned step at a time.