How Paying Off Debt Is Like Going To The Gym.

Every year the 2 biggest goals people usually have are to pay off debt and go to the gym. Usually after the first month you stop going to the gym and by the end of the year you probably still have the same amount of debt, if not more, than you started with! Why is that? Well there are 2 things that have to do with it and those are ….will power & behavioral economics. You might think that these are one in the same but I’ll dive deeper into each one of these in the next paragraphs. So how does going to the gym compare to paying off debt?

First, let’s talk about will power. Will power by definition is: “control exerted to do something or restrain impulses”. This is a crucial part in achieving any goal. However, many people lack will power. So let’s go back to the gym scenario. we say we’re going to wake up early and workout, but come 7am we hit the snooze button and tell ourselves we’ll go tomorrow!

That’s why people like working with a partner or personal trainer. It helps hold you accountable. Same thing goes for paying off debt. Banks now have bill-pay to make it easier for you to make your regular monthly payments. However, when it comes to making EXTRA payments we’re still burdened with the decision making of using that extra cash to go out with friends or using it towards your debt. Most, would go out with friends but now there are tools like Qoins that can help keep you accountable. Which brings me to our second point…behavioral economics.

If you had the choice of taking $50 today or $100 in a year which would you pick? Most would pick $50 today. Why? Because we as humans are wired for instant gratification. This was a popular case study that was done by Green et al in 1994, to show just that. Have you ever wondered why you start to see a lot of gym advertisement in late December and early January?

Yes this type of ad is even done in the UK.

Gym’s understand that many will inaccurately perceive their future reality, yet still sign up. It’s also the same reason you will continue to pay every month even when you know you won’t go to the gym everyday.

Same goes for credit cards. Many credit card companies advertise 1–5% cash back because they know people will focus more on that bonus, rather than the interest rate or annual fees. Many understand that if you make a purchase on a credit card and make minimum payments you will actually be paying way more in the long run. Yet we still go for the immediate gratification.

Paying off debt is like going to the gym… we say we’re gonna go and we say we’re going to pay off our debt but we don’t. I guess it’s safe to say that there really is a correlation between the two, and credit card companies & gym’s know just how to advertise using these 2 methods. Have any other examples that debt can be related to? Add your thoughts below!