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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Got Debt? Got Stress? The Debt Stress Syndrone

Got Debt?  Got Stress?  The Debt Stress Syndrone

Every person in financial distress has his or her own unique story. There are lots of different paths that can lead to my door. But there is at least one very common trait that I see in a lot of my clients.

They are stressed.

It is relatively rare to see someone with serious financial issues who doesn't have something else going on as well. They often have personal troubles such as a recent divorce. Even more often, they have health issues that helped contribute to their financial troubles.

I'm not a therapist but I recall hearing the term "stacking" to describe how one tough situation can affect another. Years ago, a brother of a friend had Type 1 diabetes that he was struggling to control. He changed jobs to a much less stressful position and suddenly his diabetes was much better.

Debt can have the same effect as a stressful job. The stress that comes with unmanaged debt can exacerbate existing health conditions. More often than not, consumer clients tell me in their initial meeting with me that they have: (a) gained a lot of weight recently; (b) lost a lot of weight recently; (c) are in therapy for depression; (d) have ulcers or other gastric issues; or (e) have some other serious health issue.

There is a term coined for the effect that debt stress can have on the rest of someone's life: Debt Stress Syndrome. Here is a little primer on Debt Stress from CBS News with a video presentation here.

I am a restructuring professional, not a doctor or therapist. People like me can't treat your heart disease or your depression.

But we can help with your debt.

Odds are that just talking to a restructuring professional will help. I can't count the number of times that a new client has said to me, "I feel better just having talked to you."

Why is that?

Because understanding your options can help bring clarity and certainty to your thought process. If you have some idea about what is involved in addressing your debt, it won't seem so scary.

So make the call. It probably will make you feel better.

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