How To Take The Shame Out Of Debt

Money Files

In this episode of Money Files, I am talking about debt. So many of my clients come to me feeling overwhelmed about the amount of debt they have accumulated. It’s time to learn how to be intentional with your debt and move through your shame or fear about owing money. I want you to have a healthy relationship with debt and be able to assess your debt without judgment.

While listening to this episode, I challenge you to consider who taught you about debt. Your first understanding of debt shaped how you perceive owing money now. Therefore, it is essential to understand when your feelings about debt started so you can move past the shame and create an effective money plan for the future.

Next, I want you to think about what you were able to buy with your debt. You will be surprised to realize that most of your debt was accumulated in investments like buying your home, healthcare procedures, or education. Learning what you are willing to spend money on and go into debt will empower you to make smart financial decisions in the future. 

While listening to this episode, think about your answers to these questions…

[00:01:45] Who taught me about debt?

[00:02:57] What beliefs do I hold about debt? What am I willing to go into debt for? What am I not willing to go into debt for?

[00:04:00] What do I make debt mean about my success?

[00:08:00] What has your debt afforded you? 

Tune in to this episode of Money Files to learn how to be intentional with your debt and move through the shame or fear you have about owing money.

Are you ready to start asking for help with your finances? Apply to work with me, and let’s start working towards your financial goals.


Transcript for “How To Take The Shame Out Of Debt”

Hi and welcome to Money Files. I’m Keina Newell from Wealth Over Now. I work every day with professional women and solopreneurs to help them get out of financial overwhelm and shame so they can experience more flexibility and ease with their finances. Are you ready to gain confidence and learn to manage your finances intentionally? Tune in and grab financial tips that will help you master the way you think about and manage your finances.

Hello and welcome back to another episode of Money Files. I’m excited to chat with you today and I want to talk to you about debt. And my goal as a financial coach is to always give you new thoughts about money because money is something that touches every single area of our life. And if you haven’t done the work to actually assess why you think the way you do about money or how money has shaped your beliefs, then something like debt can feel really overwhelming. I have clients who will come to me and they say, Keina oh my gosh, I’ve in so much debt and I’m like, how much debt you in for like $2,000? Then I have other clients that might come to me and they’re in $20,000 worth of debt or a hundred thousand dollars worth of debt. But debt is all really relative and there’s a lot of shame when it comes to being in debt or using debt.

But today just like I said, I want to provide you with an opportunity to think about your personal debt. If you’re in debt or maybe you are thinking about getting some debt. And you’re like, Keina you’re thinking about getting debt, yes girl, maybe you’re thinking about getting debt, but I want you to be able to have a healthy relationship with debt. So I want to help you have like a debt assessment. And so with this debt assessment, I want you to be thinking about, first, who taught me about debt. If you listen to the podcast I did a couple weeks ago with my mom, she was telling me that one of the things that she always learned was to save money. And if you borrowed anything from anyone else, make sure that you pay it back. And my family, my parents have always taught us like don’t have debt.

And I think I took that with a grain of salt for whatever reason. But I had student loan debt, I’ve had credit card debt, I have mortgage debt. Like I have these different pieces of debt, but it’s important for you to know like who taught you about debt and what did you learn about debt? And for some of you listening, you’re like, well, nobody taught me anything about debt. So at the college fair, I got a free t-shirt, I got credit cards and then I didn’t really understand that I need to pay the money back and it was at 25% interest. So it’s just nice to know like who taught me about debt? And then the next question I want you to ask is like, what beliefs do I hold about debt? So you could even make a list for yourself and think about what am I willing to go into debt for?

What am I willing to not go into debt for? That will tell you a lot about your beliefs about debt. Some of you are going to write down like, I believe that I pay off my credit card at the end of each month. Or I believe I would only go into debt for something like a home because that would be adding towards my wealth portfolio. So like there are a lot of different things that could come up for you when you think about like what your beliefs are about debt. Over the years, I will say like my beliefs about debt have shifted. I’ve used debt in my business to build my business and I’ve thought about like very strategically, like if I were to have $20,000 worth of debt and to invest in a program, like what is my goal to be able to make that money back?

And so I think about the fact that I am borrowing this money to invest in a part of my brain and we did it for college, like we borrowed money to go to college because someone told us that was a good investment. So it’s important to know what beliefs do you personally hold about debt? And then I want you to think about what do I make debt mean about my success? This is so, so important, especially I work with a lot of six-figure earners and when they look at the debt that they have, if they’re someone who has debt, and mainly when I’m talking about debt here, definitely thinking about consumer debt. So credit card debt. And a lot of people when they think about their debt, they don’t feel successful. They feel like I make too much money, I shouldn’t be in this amount of debt.

And so their debt creates a lot of shame and judgment. But it’s just really important to know that you are using a number to judge yourself. You could be in $50,000 worth of debt and I want you to know that you don’t have to judge yourself and you do not have to have shame. In fact, it leads into the next question which I want you to be able to answer the question of like, what has my debt afforded me. So when you think about the debt that you’re in, like get really clear on what was the purpose of the debt that you’ve taken on and maybe the $50,000 is all eating out, but I guarantee you it’s not. Generally speaking, when I’ve worked with people that have had six figure debt, they could say like, Keina, we went through IVF, so it was focused on actually building our family or we had some unexpected medical expenses so it could be health related, right?

Or we needed to keep a roof over our head and we actually had a roof on a credit card or we had to do an HVAC system. But I just think it’s really important to get really clear on why you have debt and what has debt afforded you. And so when you’re able to look at your credit card debt or look at any type of debt you have with that lens, it’s going to help you create a path moving forward, especially when you’re thinking about paying off your debt, when you’re thinking about whether or not you’re comfortable using debt. One of the things that I’ve talked to clients with on my consults is I’ve told them I’ve had clients who have put coaching on a credit card and I know one of my clients, she actually messaged me before we started working together. And she said, Keina, I don’t have any money. I have a lot of consumer debt, but do you have any problems with me putting coaching on a credit card? 

And I said, not at all. Do you know why? I’ll tell you. I don’t have any problems with her putting coaching on a credit card because I also know like this is an investment. It’s like getting a degree in personal finance for her. And I knew that I could help her with her emotional state that she was in. I knew that I could help her make her money back from coaching. I knew that I could help her create a clear financial system so she could spend money drama free and I knew that she was going to be able to pay off the debt that she had and we were going to be able to have a clear deadline for when she was going to be debt free.

Like I knew all of those things. And so I also know she was going to spend the money regardless. Either she was going to spend it on coaching or she was going to spend it on something else. And so like her mental health and her wellbeing was at stake. And for instance, I also had to talk to a client, her husband needed some dental work and she’s like we don’t have the money for this dental work. And I said, well, why won’t we just find out a way to finance the dental work and figure out a plan to pay that back? And she’s like, Keina, I never would’ve thought about that. I’m like, well that’s just because like in society we hear like you can take out debt for a car, you can take out debt for a house. Like those are acceptable measures in which you can use debt.

And I would say like making sure I keep my teeth, that’s something that I want to be able to do. And so is it the most ideal plan to put a root canal on a credit card? Maybe not, but it’s a conscious decision. And so the difference is when I’m having clients think about debt in different terms is like what conscious decisions are you making or what has your debt afforded you? Because we’re actually able to shift the narrative about what debt means for them in their life. So if you’re in a situation where you are maybe assessing things for yourself with your credit card debt or whatever it may be, I want you to think with two statements. I’m borrowing someone else’s money so I can fill in the blank. I’m borrowing someone else’s money so I can learn how to sell coaching.

I’m borrowing someone else’s money so I can get Keina to help me with my finances so I never have to worry about this again. I have borrowed someone else’s money so I could have great dental health. I’m borrowing someone else’s money so I can have transportation to work. So just being able to think about why have you borrowed someone else’s money? Why are some reasons that you’re maybe thinking about borrowing someone else’s money? And as you do this exercise, you’re going to start to think about like, hmm, interesting, I’ve borrowed someone else’s money so I could eat out. And I will tell you for myself, that one doesn’t feel as good. It doesn’t seem like an investment. And so maybe that’s something that when I’m working with my clients and we’re thinking about like, is that aligned with your values? That probably isn’t aligned with your values.

You maybe don’t want to be spending money out on food that you don’t have readily available to you. And so I just want you to know that your choice to put something on a credit card or to choose to engage with a payment plan is it can be a conscious decision. I’ve had a couple of clients joke with me that I’m like, no, you can’t use Klarna, which is not my stance as a coach. My client Taveana, we were joking one time that she had been delivered from Klarna. And the caution that I say, I wouldn’t even say the problem, but when I’m talking to clients about the Klarna and about the Affirms, generally speaking, what’s happening for people when they’re using a Klarna or they’re using an Affirm is like they don’t have the money available, but they’re like, oh, it’s only going to be like five payments of $20.

And they forget that last week they committed to five payments of $20, and then let’s say three weeks down the road they’ve committed to another payment of a hundred dollars with Klarna. And because they don’t have a financial system, they’re not able to know, like, they’re not conscious of when this money is coming out of their account. And because they’re not conscious of when the money’s coming out of their account, they put themselves in a financial pickle. So hear me clearly. I don’t think that using Klarna’s, visas, chase any payment, delayed payment methods. They’re not necessarily bad, but it’s being able to think about like consciously, what am I doing? I’m borrowing someone else’s money for what reason. Have I considered how I can put this into my overall life? So this episode is really twofold. One, I want you to think about who taught you about debt.

What are your beliefs that you hold about debt? What have you made debt mean about your own success? But I also want you to consider like what has debt afforded you? And it’s important to know your answer to all of these things because it really impacts what you’ll allow yourself to invest in. It will help you think about how you’re going to create your plan for paying off debt. Especially if you’re in that place where you’re like, Keina, I want to be done with debt once and for all. And so when you know and you form an opinion about debt for yourself and you’re very clear on what that is, then you are going to be able to move forward in the way that you desire to move forward. In terms of how you desire to manage your money. People use debt all the time.

There are a lot of wealthy people that are to your right and to your left wherever you are, and they’re using debt. The difference in between maybe how they’re using debt and you’re using debt is that they’re choosing to be intentional about their debt and they’re using their debt to invest in themselves or they’re using the debt to create more money. So just think about that. So thank you for tuning in to today’s podcast episode and vowing to assess your own debt in your life. And until next time, have a great week. 

Thank you so much for listening to Money Files. If you’re ready to take the next step to reach your financial goals, head to and let’s get started.

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