The financial industry wants you to get bogged down in complicated details. That way, you’ll feel overwhelmed. You’ll also overlook the simple solutions right in front of you. “Experts” sometimes “forget”--- or at least overlook--- the obvious in their effort to promote intricate investment schemes.

Simple works, as any couch potato investor will tell you. Paying off debt is the Occam’s razor of financial planning. It is the simplest, most certain path to better financial outcomes.

We all know consumer debt is a bad idea. But it’s fun to look for the highest-yielding investment portfolio. It’s not as much fun spending less or working more to pay off debt quickly.

But as long as you have credit card debt, you haven’t saved as much as the balance on your portfolio or bank statement suggests. If this is you, you may feel alone, but here in the U.S. you aren’t…38.1 percent of households carry credit card debt.

In Germany, though, you would find yourself to be an outlier. If it’s too late to adopt their attitude toward accumulating debt, you can still apply the German work ethic to paying it off.

It’s not easy or glamorous, but paying down principal is the key to getting out of debt. It means real progress in saving and investing, and every dollar paid off is an increase in your net worth.