I don’t know about you, but I feel very strong negative energy when it comes to debt…. And this applies to any debt – credit cards, loan payments, mortgages. Mounting debt adds pressure and toxic energy to your life, would you agree?
But is it a necessary evil? Let’s take a closer look at this topic.
Before you buy anything or incur any expense, ask yourself these two questions:
- How much does it cost?
- Can I afford it?
Having debt can be very dangerous and extremely stressful. Yet it is widespread and sometimes even encouraged in our society.
When banks give you a loan despite your poor credit rating, or credit card companies allow you to carry over balances, or colleges make arrangements for you to obtain student loans that will cover your out-of-control tuition, they don’t do it “for you” but rather “to you.” They don’t do it because you are an honest and deserving person. It’s strictly business and a profitable one.
Is Debt a Necessary Evil?
There are a few occasions in life when debt may be useful: when buying a house that you can afford, or buying rental properties that have positive cash flow, or obtaining a reasonable student loan for a profession that requires formal educational credentials.
However, most of the time, debt is unnecessary and often dangerous. It is unnecessary because there are often more gradual and less expensive ways to get what you want. It is dangerous because it often becomes a downward spiral, a ‘catch 22’ that ruins your health, your relationships and your overall wellbeing.
Remember that in case of a mortgage, a credit card debt, a student loan or a car loan, the interest that you pay is compound interest.
Often children and parents spend a lot of money on college education. But graduates often end up struggling with finding jobs in the current economy and cannot afford to repay the debt of both tuition and compound interest charges. Incurring debt for education must be seriously considered on the basis of your personal situation. A college education may not result in a high-paying job or even guaranteed income.
Debt Rules of Engagement
When you borrow money to buy a car, a house, or furniture, make sure that
- you can afford it and
- the return you are getting on the borrowed money is higher than the cost of borrowing it
The bankers, investment advisors and many politicians don’t want you to be afraid of debt, they want you to embrace and be comfortable with it because it is profitable for them!
If you want to achieve financial freedom, here are a few ideas for you to consider and implement:
- Avoid debt as much as possible. Before you decide to buy anything and take on any debt, ask yourself: “How much does it cost?” “Do I REALLY need it now?” and “Can I afford it?”
- Use a debit card instead of credit card. If you don’t have enough money on your bank account, you won’t be able to purchase.
- Pay off full amounts monthly. If you prefer to use a credit card to take advantage of accumulated points (e.g. airline mileage, dining and shopping discounts), link your credit card to your checking account and set it up in such a way that you’ll pay the full amount owed each month and never pay the high interest on the carry-over balances.
- Don’t lease a car, buy it instead. Buy a car you can afford, not a car to show off. Avoid borrowing money when buying a car. The car is a depreciating asset and you will pay interest on something that loses value every year.
- Prioritize—Pay off your most expensive debt first. For instance, if you have a credit card debt with 19 percent interest—make paying it off your highest priority, even before allocating money into savings and investment jars.
- Pay off your mortgage and your student loans as fast as possible. Find out whether there is no penalty for pre-paying your loans (paying a larger amount each payment or paying it twice a month). Paying your mortgage sooner will help you save thousands because of compound interest.
- Pay off your less expensive debt while saving and investing. If you have only less expensive debt left (e.g. low interest student loan debt vs. high interest rate credit card debt) you may still be able to put money aside for your saving and investment money jars. Also, a return on your savings needs to be just enough to cover the rate of inflation. (Inflation is the rate at which the prices for goods and services increase each year, excluding real estate and gasoline).
Living in fear of bill collectors and feeling overwhelmed about mounting debt is not the life you were meant to live. You can do much, much better! Once you make a decision to change your priorities, become financially free and cultivate simple and healthy money habits, you will be, without a doubt, on your way to financial freedom.
*Some of the text is taken from my upcoming book “A Shift Toward Abundance”
To Your Health, Wealth and Freedom!
With Love and Gratitude,