Quiz: Are You in Denial About Your Debt?

Katie Taylor Updated on May 7, 2019

The D-word. Shudder.

No one wants to think about debt—much less talk about it. And when it comes to actually doing something to get out of it? You certainly wouldn't be alone if you found yourself pretending to live in a unicorn-filled land where your student loan balance doesn't exist. *Raises hand*

But as hard as it is to talk about, none of us are doing ourselves any favors if we can't be honest about our debt. If you think you might be guilty of spending too much time in a fantasy world, take our quiz to see if you're ready for a little reality.

1. Do you stress about money but never make any changes?

Every month you struggle to pay the minimum on your credit card bill, and the balance keeps getting higher and higher. But you’re still plopping that card down on the counter each morning at your local coffee shop.

Worse still, you know the card number by heart, so you don’t even have to pull out your wallet when you make another online purchase.

2. Are you racking up other damaging behaviors?

Every time you think about your bank account, you suddenly have a cigarette in your hand. Or a doughnut. Or another beer. Or you’re scrolling through Pinterest for the 40th time that day.

Making yourself numb with food, substances—even the internet—is classic avoidance behavior. Unfortunately, it's also a great way to pile problems on top of problems. Doughnuts aren't free, after all. 

3. Have you transferred your credit card balance more than once?

You’re on a constant hunt for another zero-percent-interest credit card to add to your arsenal.

Transferring a balance to a card with no interest rate and engaging in a methodical plan to pay that balance off can be a smart financial choice. But it's not a long-term strategy. If you’re trading credit card balances like baseball cards, you may have a problem.

4. Do you fight with your partner or friends about money?

You need two hands to count the number of arguments you and your spouse have gotten in about money in the last week. Every bill that crosses your door is cause for a serious row.

If money is a constant source of discord with your loved ones, it may be time to take a closer look at your financial health.

Imagine Life Without a Student Loan Payment... Start Saving Now!

5. Do you ignore your bills? 

You throw your bills in a pile on your counter and hope they’ll resolve themselves. When you do glance at them, it's only because you're moving them from one pile to another. 

Unfortunately for all of us, bills rarely pay themselves. Sure, we've all seen an online meme about a good samaritan who pays it forward, but they're probably not going to find the student loan bill you have shoved between a Pottery Barn catalog and a reminder for your next dental cleaning. 

6. Do you think your debt is “good” debt?

You're carrying a five-digit student loan balance, but you don't worry about paying off your student loans because those are educational. They're good debt. 

Are they? 

Sure, people with college degrees get higher-paying jobs on average. And yes, student loan debt can actually boost your credit score in some cases.

But graduates with high student loan balances may have less job flexibility, more stress over money, and more difficulty adjusting to a sudden financial change. None of that seems "good."

7. Are you totally focused on making more money to handle your debts? 

You keep telling yourself that the debt will be resolved if you could just get this next raise. Unfortunately, you've been saying that for the last five years—and you've gotten three raises. It's never enough. Your debt is still skyrocketing. 

Of course more money could be used to pay down more debt, but if that's not how you're spending the money you make, no raise or bonus will bring you financial freedom. 

How to get out of denial

So, how many of these did you answer "Yes" to? One? Two?


If you identify yourself in even one of these, do these two things right now:

1. Pat yourself on the back for taking that first step toward ending your debt denial. Identifying the problem is the first step, according to just about every expert who has ever been on a TV talk show. 

2. Make a commitment to be honest with yourself about your financial situation. 

That means no more hiding bills in a pile on your desk, no more transferring credit card balances while still paying with plastic, and no more talking about "good" debt. The best way to pull yourself out of denial is to take positive action toward reducing your debt. Start by finding out how much you could save by refinancing your student loans

Getting out of debt denial might be the smartest thing you do this year. 

About the Author
Katie Taylor

Katie Taylor is a content writer and editor with expertise in law and policy, finance, and entrepreneurship. She writes for startups and small businesses about everything from bookkeeping to telecom. Her work has been featured in The Washington Post and SheKnows.com. She is continuing to pay off law school loans and lives in Richmond, Vermont with her wife, son, and an unruly dog. Read more by Katie Taylor

Refinance and Save Today With These Lenders

#1 - Nitro Recommended View More Details

Special offers for medical resident and fellow refinance products

  • Fixed rates: 2.49% - 6.31% APR
  • Variable rates: 1.88% - 6.15% APR
  • Minimum credit: 650
View More Details
Visit Splash View Loan Disclosure

Splash Financial is a leader in student loan refinancing with new rates as low as 2.49% fixed APR which can save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loans. No application or origination fees and no prepayment penalties. Splash Financial is in all 50 states and is intensely focused on customer service. Splash Financial is also one of the few companies that offers a great medical resident and fellow refinance product. You can check your rate with Splash in just minutes.

  • Low interest rates – especially for graduate students
  • No application or origination fees. No prepayment penalties.
  • Co-signer release program - you can apply for a cosigner release form your loan after 12 months of on-time payments
  • Specialty product for doctors in training with low monthly payment

Click here to see more of Splash's offerings and to see how you can save money.

#2 View More Details

For every loan they fund, they contribute to the education of a child in need

  • Fixed rates: 2.83% - 6.74% APR
  • Variable rates: 1.99% - 6.84% APR
  • Minimum credit: 660
View More Details
Visit CommonBond View Loan Disclosure

CommonBond was founded in 2011 by three MBA graduates from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School who wanted to help their peers escape from high-interest student loan debt. Its original focus was on grad students, but it has since expanded to cover undergrads as well.

Of all the companies we reviewed, CommonBond has some of the best customer service. The company prides itself on being easy to reach by email, phone, or live chat. It offers networking events, expert panels, insider newsletters, and even has a program help borrowers who lose their jobs to find new ones. CommonBond also makes you feel good about choosing to refinance with them by donating money to an education nonprofit for each loan they write.

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance review

  • Unemployment protections - If you lose your job or decide to go back to school, you can delay your payments for up to 24 months.
  • Social promise - For every loan they fund, they also contribute to the education of a child in need.
  • Hybrid loan option - Offerings include a 10-year hybrid loan with fixed interest for the first five years, and variable interest for the final five.
  • Referral bonus - For every friend you refer who refinances their loans with CommonBond, you’ll earn a $200 cash bonus.
  • Qualification - Borrowers must have graduated at least 2 years prior if they want to apply without a co-signer. And borrowers in 6 states – Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, South Dakota, and Vermont – cannot currently refinance through CommonBond.

Get a personalized review of your refinancing options with CommonBond today.

#3 View More Details

SoFi is the leading student loan refinancing provider. 

  • Fixed rates: 2.49% - 6.94% APR
  • Variable rates: 2.25% - 6.59% APR
  • Minimum credit: 650
View More Details
Visit SoFi View Loan Disclosure

$30 billion+ in refinanced student loans. SoFi has some of the lowest interest rates and, unlike the other lenders we reviewed, there's no maximum on the amount you can finance. Some state restrictions may apply.

  • Serious savings: Save thousands of dollars thanks to flexible terms and low fixed or variable rates.
  • No hidden fees, no catch: No application or origination fees. No pre-payment penalties.
  • Fast, easy, and all online: Simple online application and access to live customer support 7 days a week.
  • Access to member benefits: SoFi members get career coaching, financial advice, and more—all at no cost.
  • 98% of surveyed members would recommend SoFi to a friend

Save thousands on your student loans and pay off your loans sooner. Find your rate.

#4 View More Details

Ability to apply for cosigner release after 24 consecutive payments. 

View More Details
Visit NelNetBank View Loan Disclosure

Give Your Life’s Journey a Jump-Start.

If you’re ready to put student loans in your rearview mirror, Nelnet Bank student loan refinancing offers low rates and flexible terms to help you start getting ahead.

  • VARIABLE RATES: 1.95% - 5.62% APR See Disclaimer
  • FIXED RATES: 2.48% - 6.62% APR See Disclaimer
  • AUTO DEBIT SAVINGS: We’ll knock .25% off of your interest rate when you enroll in auto debit. See Disclaimer
  • NO ORIGINATION FEES: No application, origination, or prepayment fees on Nelnet Bank loans.
  • HARDSHIP PROTECTION: Hardship forbearance helps protect against unexpected loss of income. See Disclaimer

See How Much You Can Save: Estimate your savings with a student loan refinance from Nelnet Bank.

#5 View More Details

Works with 300+ community lenders for higher approval chances

  • Fixed rates: 2.95% - 7.63% APR
  • Variable rates: 1.90% - 5.25% APR
  • Minimum credit: 660
View More Details
Visit LendKey View Loan Disclosure

Connecting student borrowers to a network of over 300 community lenders with low interest rates. By partnering with these lenders, LendKey is able to give consumers direct access to the best rates available from the most borrower friendly institutions. As the servicer of all loans obtained through its platform, you can rest easy knowing your personal information will be safe and that the best customer service team will be ready to answer your questions from application until your final payment.

LendKey Student Loan Refinance review

  • Lightning fast rate check - 2-minute rate check with no impact on your credit score
  • More lenders, more options - see the best offers from over 300+ community lenders for higher approval chances
  • Life of loan relationship - With LendKey, your personal information will never be sent or passed on to third parties. Their customer service team is with you from the moment you land on their website until you've completely repaid your loan.
  • Unmatched benefits- Community lenders put people over profits and offer unique benefits like cosigner release after 12 on-time payments, interest only repayment options to keep monthly payments low, the largest unemployment protection period in the market, and more.

Get a personalized quote from LendKey now.

#6 View More Details

Best for borrowers who want to customize their repayment schedule to pay off debt fast.

View More Details
Visit Earnest View Loan Disclosure

Using technology, data, and design to build affordable products, Earnest's lending products are built for a new generation seeking to reach life's milestones. The company understands every applicant's unique financial story to offer the lowest possible rates and radically flexible loan options for living life.

  • Commitment-free 2 minute rate check
  • Client Happiness can be reached via in app messaging, email, and phone 
  • No fees for origination, prepayment, or loan disbursement
  • Flexible terms let you pick your exact monthly payment or switch between fixed and variable rates
  • Skip a payment and make it up later
  • Online dashboard is designed to make it easy to apply for and manage your loan

Click here to apply with Earnest and to see how much you can save.

#7 View More Details

16 different loan term options – more flexibility to pay down your loan faster

  • Fixed rates: 3.24% - 5.54% APR
  • Variable rates: 3.34% - 5.69% APR
  • Minimum credit: 680
View More Details
Visit CollegeAve View Loan Disclosure

College Ave Student Loans offers major help and minor stress. We’ll help guide you through the process to find the right loan term and interest rate for you and the family budget.

  • Fast rate check: Get your new rate in 60 seconds 
  • Instant credit decision
  • Super flexible terms: 16 loan terms available from 5 to 20 years
  • No fees to apply

Click here to see more College Ave offerings and to start saving today! 


I reduced my student loan payment by $152 per month, by refinancing thru Nitro:

Save Money Now