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When you start your debt-free journey, one of the first things you want to do is have a list of all the debts you owe. Listing all your debts will help you know how much debt you owe and ensure you are not overlooking any debts such as collections or charge offs of debts you may have forgotten in the past. In this post, I will go over how to find all your debts.

We will discuss:

  • What is a Debt?
  • How To Find All Your Debts?
  • Target Debt Balance

What is a Debt?

A debt is money you borrow and owe back to a company or someone. This can be in the form of a personal loan, student loan, car loan, credit cards, collections, etc. Debt can be a favor, an item, or service, but in this post, we are going to cover the money aspect of debt.

How To Find All Your Debts?

The best way to get a list of all your debt accounts is by getting a copy of your credit report. Your credit report will give you a list of all your debts, the creditor contact information, and the outstanding balance on each account.

There are three credit bureaus you can receive your credit report from, and that is Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. It is important to get a list of all debts you owe from each credit bureau because some lenders do not report to all three credit reports. For example, you may see a debt you owe on Equifax and Experian, but it does not show on your Transunion Report. This way, you can catch all your debts without having any surprises later.

There are free and paid versions to access your credit report. Below you will find free and paid methods to access your credit reports.

  • Free Versions:
    • Annual Credit Report: You can obtain a free copy of your reports from all three credit bureaus yearly at Annual Credit Report. You are entitled to a free credit report from all three credit bureaus each year by law, so take advantage of checking your credit report yearly.
    • Experian: You can also obtain a free copy of your Experian Credit Report every 30 days for free without having to input your credit card information.
    • Equifax: You can receive six free copies of your Equifax Credit Report yearly. No credit card information required.
    • Transunion: As of now, due to the COVID-19, Transunion is offering free weekly credit reports through April 2021. This is a good offer due to Transunion not offering any other free reports besides the free annual report you get every year.
  • Paid Versions:
    • MyFico: At MyFico, you can get a copy of all three of your credit reports every three months for $29.95, or you can get your reports monthly for $39.95. This service also includes credit monitoring, which alerts you of changes in your credit report. For example, if you are late on a payment and a creditor reports this information to the credit bureaus, MyFico will alert you of the information. This service is excellent, so that you can stay updated on your credit reports.
    • ScoreSense: ScoreSense gives you a copy of your credit reports every month for $39.95. You can get started with a 7-day trial to see if ScoreSense is for you and cancel at any time. Along with your reports, you will also receive daily credit monitoring and $1 million in identity theft insurance.

MyFico and ScoreSense also offer monthly credit scores for each credit bureau and help you understand your credit scores and how to improve them. I will be explaining this in great detail in another post. Our primary focus in this step is to get a list of all your debts.

Target Debt Balance

Once you have obtained all the debt you owe, you are going to list your debts from the smallest amount to largest amount and add your debts together to determine your target debt balance. An easy way to do this is by using an Excel Spreadsheet and filtering your balances from smallest to largest.

Your target debt balance is the balance you are working to pay off to become debt-free. Do not be discouraged by this amount. It does not matter how big or small your target debt balance is; all that matters is how you plan to tackle your balance and get those debts paid off so you can experience financial freedom.

As you are working towards paying off your debt, it is important to understand that you should not take on any other form of debt at this time. This includes not using your credit cards or taking on any other loans. Taking on more debt only adds to your target debt balance and prolong your journey to paying off your debt. You have to learn to discipline yourself to determine if a purchase is a want or a need. A want is something that you desire to have, and need is something you need in order to survive. Ask yourself, “Is this a want or need?” every time you are faced with a decision to purchase something or remind yourself why you started this journey to help you stay on track.

In Summary

Understanding how much debt you have will help determine where you stand and how you are going to tackle your debt. This is a step you do not want to skip because you will need this step completed in order to complete the next step, which is methods of tackling your debt.

Motivate and discipline yourself to not add to your target debt balance. Remember why you started your journey and ask yourself if its a want or a need before you purchase.

If you have any questions about any of these steps, please reach out to me below or by my contact page here. I look forward to talking to you.

“Debt is the slavery of the Free.” – Publilius Syrus

“Becoming debt-free gives you the option to live your life your way, and not have to deal with paying off any nonsense.” –Unknown

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