Survey Poll: How Am I Going To Get Out Of Debt?

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Survey Poll: How Am I Going To Get Out Of Debt?

Today’s poll/survey asked the question, “What is your plan for reducing debt?”

Once again, the results were a little bit surprising – and concerning. All data is presented in the infographic below.

Click here to read Choice #7 for the best way to get rid of your debt AND not hurt your credit rating.

About The Survey Data – Sources

We asked 3123 United States residents from all States how they planned to get rid of their high interest debt. All those polled had to have debt in excess of $10,000. That was the only real stipulation for our case study. We wanted to hear from people whose debt was spiraling out of control – not people who have their personal finances in a healthy state. We wanted hear from consumers who were under a lot of stress because of their debt.

The types of debt could be any kind, student loan debt, car loan debt, credit card debt, mortgage debt, etc., etc.

All surveys were administered here at and three other sister web sites polling the same survey, and the survey was taken in January 2015.

Survey/Poll Question:

“What is your plan for reducing your debt?”

Survey/Poll Answer Choices:

  1. Get a second job: Poll Result = 15%
  2. Get a better job: Poll Result = 13%
  3. Get more education: Poll Result = 12%
  4. No plan yet: Poll Result = 41%
  5. Make a budget: Poll Result = 6%
  6. Debt relief program: Poll Result = 3%
  7. Change lifestyle altogether: Poll Result = 2%
  8. Get money from family member: Poll Result = 2%
  9. Win money: Poll Result = 1%
  10. Not going to do anything: Poll Result = 3%

Detail On Debt Reduction Survey/Poll Choices

Survey Answer For Reducing Debt #1

The poll answer choice in the survey was;

Get a second job.

15% of those surveyed said their solution would be to find more work. A second job and/or a third job. Just another source of income. This is a tough choice, and it brings with it a lot of negative effects on the individual. Especially if they have a family. They can end up suffering from fatigue. They can be absent from their family life, and they are not getting the required recuperation before their next work shift.

In some cases respondents had three jobs on the go because all jobs were part time work. And the big problem with that is they have very few benefits. This is of course why many employers only allow part time work – just so they can stop paying employee benefits. This brings to mind the infamous George Bush conversation with a lady who was working three jobs, and he told her what she was doing was “uniquely American”. See audio clip below.
I think what the president was trying to convey was that Americans have grit and tenacity in the face of adversity – he was trying to give people in this lady’s situation a pat on the back. Of course it back-fired and became a viral comment because it came across like the American middle class is in shambles compared to other western developed countries where the average family could still support themselves with a single income.

Since then though, all western developed countries are struggling with the same problem, and if you want a decent standard of living, with a some “wants” paid for and not just “needs” paid for, you need a large single income per household, or two moderate sized incomes.

A “second job solution” may be one of the fastest ways to increase your income, but in the long run it’s certainly not the best way to go. For a very temporary solution that’s fine, but you need to have a better long term plan waiting in the wings, or on it’s way to fruition.

Survey Answer For Reducing Debt #2

Get a better job (higher paying job).

Survey answer choice #2 was to get a better job and it came in at 13%. This can have an immediate positive effect on your finances and debt if you can simply quit your existing job, and start a higher paying job right away. Then there isn’t any down time in the interim well trying to get re-hired. It happens all the time though, as people try desperately to improve their financial situations.

The problem getting a so-called “better job” is that usually our readers meant a “higher paying job”. The higher paying job can sometimes be a much worse job when you take in other considerations besides the money (the salary or hourly pay). The new job might result in the employee having to commute hours every day. The new job may be more stressful, in a less secure field, or environmentally unfriendly to the worker. They could end up working with people that cause them a lot more stress because of their attitudes. The job might be unionized, or non-unionized, which could be good or bad.

Furthermore, to get that higher paying job you may have to re-educate yourself, or upgrade your qualifications significantly. This takes time.

The best way to make this leap of faith is to find a way to re-educate yourself while still working your current job. After you have all your qualifications upgraded, then find that new job, give your current employer their two weeks notice, and go on your way.

Personally I thought the percentage of survey takers would have been higher than 13% for this choice. It wasn’t. The most common choice is concerning – read on.

Survey Answer For Reducing Debt #3

Get more education.

The third choice of the survey was to “get more education“, and 12% made this choice. This choice goes hand-in-hand with the second choice – getting a better job.

The biggest difference is HOW to get more education, WHAT kind of education, and WHERE to get the education. Do you go to University, a community college, an on-line course, or night school?

Every person wanting to pursue this avenue should be commended for trying to educate themselves and increase their monthly income. However, every person is in a completely different situation. It depends on how much education you already have, and how much money you have to pay for tuition and fees.

Then there is the time factor. It’s very difficult for a single parent to make ends meet with a single job. They need to pay for a roof over their heads, the children’s needs and wants, taxes, food, transportation, etc., AND find time to get back to school. It takes focus and determination for sure.

It’s certainly a viable option if you can tough it out, keep hope for the future, and get organized.

Survey Answer For Reducing Debt #4

No plan yet.

The fourth answer choice on the survey was “no plan yet“, and the tally was 41% for this answer. This was a surprising survey result because it showed how many people are truly floundering financially. All of these readers have serious debt-to-income imbalances and they claim they don’t know how to change their situation for the better. Perhaps if they read these survey results it will help them come up with an answer that works for them.

This shows that many people are simply living day to day and don’t want to be burdened with the challenge of increasing their income and getting their debt under control.

The key word here is “YET”. By selecting this answer to the survey, at the very least they may have a future plan to tackle the debt and their personal money issues.

Survey Answer For Reducing Debt #5

Make a budget.

The fifth choice on the survey for reducing debt was to “make a budget” and it came in at 6%. It sounds like a somewhat lame choice because so many consumers can never seem to stick to a budget in the long run – but making a budget is a good start, and part of choice #7 – “Change lifestyle altogether“.

Depending on the individual, it’s possible to severely cut down on monthly expenses, and still have a decent quality of life. If you can cut down your spending and keep your sanity, then you start making payments against your debt in the long term.

However, I believe that making a budget is easy – the hard part is STICKNG to the budget! This is where people get themselves back in trouble financially speaking. The most common mistake with a budget is in the creation of the budget. Too many people make their budget (and that’s fairly easy), but they don’t account for all their expenses. They overlook many of their day-to-day spending habits.

If you make a 100% realistic budget and stick to it – it’s a huge step forward to a brighter day.

Survey Answer For Reducing Debt #6

Debt relief program.

Surprising again – only 3% out of those polled said they would reduce their debt, or get rid of their debt altogether using a debt relief service. How a debt relief service works is a good choice if you don’t see any hope of paying down your debt. Maybe your job pays too little, and you have completely run out of avenues for finding some money to pay down your personal liability.

What a debt relief service does is negotiate with your creditors to pay off your debt with a single monthly payment over time. Your credit rating can be damaged by this route because you end up paying your individual creditors only pennies on the dollar – only a percentage of what you owe them going in. But it most cases our readers’ credit scores were abysmal anyway. They were heading towards a bankruptcy anyway.

What debt relief does is stop all the collections calls immediately. Your creditors have to go through the debt relief service company if they want to recoup some of their money.

Survey Answer For Reducing Debt #7

Change lifestyle altogether.

This answer choice on the survey was to “change their lifestyle altogether“, and it came in at only 2%. NOT A GOOD SIGN!

This is by far the BEST way to change your financial situation for the better, and in turn get rid of your debt once and for all.

You choose to take action using multiple choices from the answers available on this survey – and more.

  • you re-educate yourself
  • make a budget and stick to it
  • you find a different way of earning money
  • you make sure the new way of earning money is something you love doing
  • you stop past time activities or hobbies that cost money
  • you replace the activities and hobbies with activities that MAKE money
  • some stop spending money on cigarettes, alcohol, and recreational drugs
  • you change your diet for the better and get regular exercise
  • your better health gives you more energy and a clear mind which allows for creativity
  • some get out of bad living arrangements
  • some get divorced

All these lifestyle changes might work for you, but when it comes to getting rid of debt altogether I personally found that quitting past time activities that COST money, and replacing them with activities that MAKE money is critical. Just as critical as finding a way to make money that you truly enjoy.

When you find a job (or small business) that you love you, will want to work and look forward to work. In your spare time you have something else you love to do AND IT MAKES MONEY TOO! With this double whammy you can change your financial situation for the better rapidly. Within a year of doing these two things you will see a radical lowering of your debt.

Eventually you will be shocked at how much more money you are making, and how much less money you are spending.

Survey Answer For Reducing Debt #8

Get money from family member.

Ah yes, coming it at 2% in our survey for reducing debt was “get money from a family member”. This was answer choice #8.

These people have family members that happen to have cold cash they may be willing to give (or lend) the person in deep debt. If you have someone in your family who is capable and willing to bail you out, then consider yourself lucky and move on. You will still need to change your habits though or you will soon be in debt again – and then that family member is not likely to bail you out again.

However, if you can completely change your spending habits (and your earnings) for the better, and your loved on can pay off all your creditors, you are off to a new start. This is not my favorite choice because this can hurt your pride. Your self esteem may get damaged with this solution, and you will need some sense of pride if you ever want to be financially solvent the rest of your life.

Survey Answer For Reducing Debt #9

Win money.

And this one was 1% – “win money”. Glad to see this was rather low, because you have to really be dedicated and disciplined to pull this one off. Those people that have taken the time to completely absorb the art of gambling, MAY be able to earn money winning money in the tables and/or slot machines. However, the vast majority of us will lose to the house most of the time.

Some people see the answer to their debt woes in the lottery, Super Ball, or whatever. Odds are heavily set against you on this one too, but for some it’s a fun thing to do. Personally, I don’t like relying on luck. I want a sure thing.

You often hear about lottery winners who win millions and within a few years they’re flat broke and busted again. This is because they simply won the money and never did learn how to be responsible with managing money. They didn’t learn how to live within their means.

Survey Answer For Reducing Debt #10

Not going to do anything.

And then there is the sad choice – #10 choice of the survey being, “Not going to do anything“, coming in at 3%.

These people have given up and they don’t care anymore. They don’t see any hope of ever clearing off their debt, and they just ignore all the symptoms of a high debt balance. These folks often end up claiming personal bankruptcy.

There are many reasons for adopting this defeatist attitude. The most common we see are addiction, old age, long-term unemployment, divorce (very often multiple divorces).

The old saying, “never say die” is something these folks don’t believe. My personal favorite saying is, “When in doubt…..charge!”[tweetthis]The old saying, “never say die” is something these folks don’t believe. My personal favorite saying is, “When in doubt…..charge!”[/tweetthis].

Survey Conclusion

So in conclusion we can see that the vast majority of Americans who are stuck with bad debt don’t really have a solid plan of attack in regards to getting rid of it for good.

I hope you enjoy the infographic below – feel free to use the code embedded below to put this infographic on your web  site. All the best to you – and good luck!