A lot of people consider debt to be a temporary entity. For them, it’s something they can fall back on during the hard times and kiss it goodbye as the golden days make their arrival.

But is your debt permanent?

Suppose you are about to retire. You have a secure job, but you’re still paying off your student loan debt. In such a scenario, your college debt has stuck with you for the entirety of your life. Just the thought of carrying a large amount of debt to your deathbed would give anyone goosebumps. But don’t worry, you’re not alone in this fight against your insurmountable debt.

According to a survey conducted by Northwestern Mutual, 14 percent of the participants expect to keep paying off their financial obligations throughout their lives. 

Lifelong debt has more adverse effects than otherwise expected. Rather than it being useful either to get a college degree or to buy a home, it has become a major burden. Debt oftentimes puts a borrower into a perpetual cycle. As a result, interest adds up and the borrower is buried in more debt.

Americans are saddled with debt and forced to live paycheck to paycheck. According to the Federal Reserve, total consumer debt in the country stood at $12.7 trillion in the first quarter of 2017. Unsurprisingly, it has broken all records, even from 2008 when consumer debt peaked. The student loan debt in this country is now a whopping $1.3 trillion. On average, American households owe $37,300 according to the Planning and Progress 2017 survey conducted by Northwestern Mutual. Moreover, 1 in 10 people owe more than $100,000. Twenty percent are forced to use between a quarter and half of their income to make debt repayments.

How to pay off debt

Learn to differentiate good debts from bad ones — Sort the various types of debts you owe from your balance sheet. Mark the ones you deem to be essential for you and the ones that aren’t. For instance, a mortgage with low interest rate that you can claim on your taxes is a good and essential debt. If feasible, throw a few extra dollars at your mortgage and try to pay off your principal loan amount at the earliest, and enjoy an appreciating asset. Having debts like these shouldn’t be of too much concern for you as compared to credit card debts, payday loans, and other costly debts. Credit card debts are unsecured, meaning revolving debts and steep interest rates.

Similarly, other high-interest debts like private student loan debts are non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. They can keep you trapped in the vicious cycle of debt and deplete your financial resources in the long run. You can seek credit card debt help or consolidate your student loans to resolve your financial problems.

Deal a big blow to your debt — This one piece of financial advice is touted by all the seasoned debt experts. If you’re determined to eliminate your financial obligations and accomplish a debt-free life, then you’ll have to make big changes. You can’t let the debt dragon grow beyond your control, you must nip it in the bud. A high amount of interest will accrue on accumulated debt and it’ll rock your financial stability in the future.

Choose whatever strategy works for you and create a master debt repayment plan. If you need assistance, like many do, consider using a  debt consolidation or settlement company. To learn more about what these companies do click here. 

Once you have a smart, effective debt relief plan make sure you continue to follow a budget, automate your monthly savings and debt repayments, and avoid taking on any new debts. Extra cash? Increase your debt payments as much as possible and get rid of your financial obligations faster. If you can manage to accomplish these feats, then you’ll be able to break the debt cycle. 

Andy Masaki is a blogger at Penny Less Dad and financial writer associated with the Oak View Law Group. He is a debt expert and a member of several online forums where he shares his advice as well as tips to lead a financially independent life.