Running Into a Moose Is Kind of Like Financial Distress

Except you don’t run from your financial woes.

A moose is an impressive creature, but it can be downright terrifying when you run into one on a hike.

These beasts can run at speeds up to 35 mph (56 km/h) and easily weigh over a thousand pounds. Seeing one off in the distance is cool. Coming face to face with one is something else.

Sinking in debt leaves a similar feeling in your gut. You don’t know if you will make it out in one piece.

You probably saw warning signs and missed or flatly ignored them in the distance. Then one day, your financial troubles were right there in your face.

In both cases, you have good reason to be fearful. Debt, like that big old moose, can really mess you up.

Here’s where the similarities stop.

In the case of the moose, the common advice is,

do not stand your ground.

In fact, it’s also advisable to run from a moose. You don’t want to run from a bear or a cougar, but running often deters a moose.

Debt, on the other hand, is unavoidable. Once you dig a hole, you must take action to get out. Running will do no good. You will get hurt much worse if you fail to stand your ground and take action.

Debt is scary and not easy to defeat.

I dug a big ol’ hole in early adulthood. My debts included credit card charges and interest on things I didn’t even have anymore. Yet, I had to pay for them.

Between credit cards, student loans, and a car loan, I owed nearly $30K. My job paid $14K per year.

There was nowhere to run. I was worried that I would never be able to overcome my debts.

It was also clear that I wouldn’t beat debt without taking action.

In my case, I found a better job, cut spending, and focused on paying off the debt. The process took years, and my fears about debt remained with me throughout the journey.

There were even times when I felt like giving up. The progress was brutally slow at times.

You won’t defeat a moose.

In the case of the moose, you just need to get the heck out of the way. The animal doesn’t care about you; it just doesn’t want you in its space. Especially if you encounter a mama mouse with babies.

Unlike your long, drawn-out battle with debt, the confrontation would only last seconds. Save yourself the pain, get behind a tree, or run.

Fight or Flight

In both scenarios, the fight-or-flight response is triggered.

“During the response, all bodily systems are working to keep us alive in what we’ve perceived as a dangerous situation.”

Carolyn Fisher, PhD

Often, when it comes to money issues, our response is incorrect. So many of us choose to flee over fighting. This is evident when you look at the financial state of Americans. The average person has more than $6,000 in credit card debt and cannot cover a $1,000 emergency expense.

Few make the wrong choice when it comes to a moose.

Perhaps we hastily choose flight in scenarios, even when it’s not the best. Theo Tsaousides Ph.D. suggests a valuable freeze moment to assess the situation before making the fight or flight decision.

It’s this critical time of assessment that we must choose to fight for our financial freedom. Debt significantly hampers life, and we need to fight to gain control.

Financial Problems and Moose are Both Scary

Seeing a moose off in the distance is an amazing experience. The same can be said about looking back on the debt you crushed on your financial journey.

You’ll probably feel terrified when debt or a moose is right before you. It’s at this moment that you have to make a critical decision.

What are you going to do?

Freeze to assess the situation and realize the probable outcomes.

If you stand your ground, that moose will run you over.

If you run, that debt is not going to go away.

Fight the battles you must and flee the beasts you cannot beat.

Debt is a monster. A monster you CAN beat.

Your financial journey won’t be easy, and you may even feel like giving up at times. But when you defeat debt, you will begin to realize how powerful you are.

Just don’t get too cocky. That moose will still run you over.