I have talked to hundreds of people about the topic of debt and their plans to pay it off. The one thing that I have found is common among most of them (probably 95%) is the belief that they will be in debt until they die, and all they can do for now is manage it.
I cringe every time I hear that type of thinking, because it implies that you are fine with living as a slave to your creditors with no hope of escape!
Debt Is Not Forever
My wife and I have been greatly impacted by our debt. I know what it’s like to feel like this is a normal part of life, but it isn’t. There are many reasons why I hate the attitude that our lives should be funded by debt and we shouldn’t work to get out of it, but here are three that really hit home for me.
The Purpose Of Debt
The main purpose of debt is generally to buy something that you can afford, but don’t have the money at the moment. For example, let’s say that you have to buy groceries on Monday but you don’t get paid until Friday. A “good” (obviously, this is somewhat subjective) use of debt would be to buy your normal groceries on Monday using a credit card, and then paying that amount back on Friday when you get paid. Of course, there are other ways to handle this (moving money from savings would be ideal), but you get my point.
Another responsible reason that people go into debt is for an investment. If you are fairly certain that the rate of return on an investment will be greater than the rate of borrowing, then taking on debt in order to make or increase an investment may make sense.
The idea of investment doesn’t just mean stocks and bonds, but it also can mean an education, healthcare, or anything else where the return is greater than the cost of the debt.
Because of the short-term and strategic nature of debt, it is inconsistent with sound financial living to stay in debt for life, being satisfied with losing money month after month. Therefore, debt is not forever!
The Bondage Of Debt
I’ve written before about the terrible bondage/slavery associated with debt. I am not able to do most things that I want to because of the cloud of debt which hangs over my head. Because so much of our paycheck goes toward debt repayment, we can’t just fly down to visit my wife’s parents whenever we want, for instance.
We would love to have a 2nd car so that my wife could take care of things and/or visit people during the day, but our master (debt) won’t let us. The same is true about our giving to church, investing, and even building up our business – we want to be free to pursue our ambitions/convictions in these areas, but then ‘Massa Debt’ tells us NO!
Because being in debt can, in many ways, be compared to being imprisoned or enslaved, it is unwise to take a cavalier approach to borrowing and owing money. To go through life never knowing the joy of financial freedom is a fate that many people accept, but you don’t have to be one of them! Tell yourself that debt is not forever!
The Testimony Of Debt
Even though a large amount of Americans have debt and many accept it as a normal, unavoidable part of life, they still look down on someone who has it. A person with massive debt often appears to be irresponsible, lazy, and undisciplined.
Oftentimes, it isn’t even a deliberate association, but more of a deep-rooted subconscious thought. Having debt – especially for a long period of time – makes it seem as though you are immature, and unable to fight the impulse to spend money that you don’t have.
Because of this, people with long-term (or excessive when compared to income) debt are turned down for financial opportunities, employment, and even places to live. You don’t want to live your life with that stigma hanging over your head. That’s why we have to live life as if debt is not forever!
What About You?
- What is your attitude concerning debt? Can you honestly say that debt is not forever?
- Are you prepared to live the rest of your life in debt or are you fighting to pay it off?
- If you have paid off your debt, what were some of the things you did to change your mindset?
This post is part of the debt is not forever movement started by Jackie at the Debt Myth. She is also holding a giveaway through the end of the month, so make sure you head over and tell her why you want to get out of debt, for a chance to win!