If you want to hugely increase the odds of achieving your financial goals – including paying off debt – consider sharing those goals with a partner.
Multiple studies prove recruiting a partner when working toward a goal vastly increases your chances of success.
For example, this study showed that “people who wrote down their goals, shared this information with a friend, and sent weekly updates to that friend were on average 33% more successful in accomplishing their stated goals than those who merely formulated goals.”
A different study from The American Society of Training and Development found you have a 65% chance of completing a goal when you commit to someone. But if you also set up a recurring accountability appointment with that person you’ve committed, you increase your chance of success by up to 95%.
How to Pay Off Debt By Working With a Partner
The ideal system for working with a partner on your financial goals has three parts:
- Recruit a partner – spouse, friend, family member, coach, or mentor.
- Write down your goals. Share a copy with your partner.
- Set a recurring “accountability appointment” with your partner to review progress (or impediments to progress). This can take the form of a short weekly email.
Choose a Partner
For many people, their partner will be their spouse. But your partner can also be a friend or family member, or even someone you consider a mentor or teacher. You might even hire a money coach.
Don’t Waste Energy on Shame
At first, you might feel embarrassed to talk about paying off debt with a partner. But shame isn’t a strategy. Shame won’t help you solve your problems or achieve your goals. Committing to a partner will.
Also, freeing yourself from debt is brave and honorable. Your partner will be eager to support you.
“Writing down specific goals and sharing them with your partner is like signing a contract. This not only increases social accountability, but it also allows your partner to think about specific ways in which they can act to support you in achieving your goals.” – HBR
Recruiting a partner is considered effective because it triggers external accountability. You can see that in the headline of the Entrepreneur article “Why an Accountability Buddy Is Your Secret Weapon for Faster Growth” or the book “The 85% Solution: How Personal Accountability Guarantees Success.”
Accountability seems like an appropriate term, especially since we’re dealing with money. However, “support” is really a better word for what you’re looking for in a partner.
Accountability might get you going, but support will carry you all the way to the finish line. As this Harvard Business Magazine article notes, “It’s easier to achieve our goals when we’re not trying to go it alone.”
The Debt Snowball Spreadsheet
Tiller Money’s Debt Snowball Spreadsheet is a powerful tool for targeting and paying off debt. Since it’s based on Google Sheets, collaboration is as easy as sharing your spreadsheet. If you’ve shared your goal with someone you truly trust, consider this level of transparency on your path journey toward paying off debt.