Mastering the art of avoidance — and living to regret it

You know what’s easier than dealing with a problem? Avoiding it. So when I recently discovered I had a tooth that was becoming increasingly sensitive to just about everything, I did the logical thing — I ignored the pain and hoped it would go away.

Shockingly enough, the pain didn’t magically subside. I casually mentioned this to my sister one day who responded with a matter-of-fact “Go to the dentist.” While that sounded like fairly reasonable advice, I had an equally reasonable and rational response: “I don’t need to go to the dentist! I’ve never even had a cavity in my life!

Famous last words.

I should have realized how ridiculous it was when I said it, and part of me did. I know now that I was more afraid of facing the truth than I was of anything else. I didn’t want to hear bad news. And I didn’t want to have to deal with the consequences of that bad news. But at the time, the overwhelming fear of the dental chair led me to concoct absurd justifications in an effort to avoid reality.  

So finally after months of nagging – which quickly turned to harassing – from my loved ones, I begrudgingly made an appointment with my dentist. And boy, am I glad I did. As it turns out, I didn’t need a filling after all!

Nope, I needed a root canal.

Do you know what’s worse than a root canal? Nothing! Do you know what’s more expensive than a root canal? Perhaps getting my teeth plated in gold and encrusted with diamonds.

To top it off, my dentist told me what I knew all along. If I had taken action at the first sign of the problem rather than ignoring, avoiding and making excuses, the solution would have saved me a lot of pain and a lot of money.

When you think about it, this moral can be applied to just about every aspect of your life – especially your finances.

Avoiding your financial reality because you’re afraid of facing the truth may seem like the easy way out, but just like a cavity, debt doesn’t magically disappear. And ignoring it will only make it harder to handle.

So whether you are in the midst of a financial crisis or you feel like you just need a financial check-up, do something about it. Don’t let fear keep you from facing the truth.

Come to think of it, there actually is something worse than a root canal: living in constant fear and worry.

So contact a counselor today for a free debt and budget evaluation. Trust me, you won’t regret it. But you know what you will regret? Avoiding it.  

Jessica Horton is a former copywriter and community manager at MMI.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.
  • The National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER) is the nation’s oldest and largest higher education finance trade association. NCHER’s membership includes state, nonprofit, and for-profit higher education service organizations, including lenders, servicers, guaranty agencies, collection agencies, financial literacy providers, and schools, interested and involved in increasing college access and success. It assists its members in shaping policies governing federal and private student loan and state grant programs on behalf of students, parents, borrowers, and families.

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  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.