There are 4 Pillars of Successful Living that I espouse: live a healthy life, live a debt-free life, live a goal-oriented life and live a charitable life. The one I think every American struggles with is debt-free living. Our society seems to believe that one cannot exist without accumulating lots of stuff and using credit to buy said stuff. To say our people are materialistic is a gross understatement.
The latest information I read about credit card debt has the average household credit card debt at $7,327. If you average the homes that are indebted, meaning those with credit card debt, the average over doubles to $15,706. Paying the minimum payment will take approximately 24 years to pay off $15,000 with the total amount paid equaling close to $27,000!!!
For these reasons I advise everyone to cut up their cards immediately and begin an aggressive payoff strategy.
There are 3 basic advantages to living a debt-free life:
- Professional and personal flexibility. All too often I speak to people that hate their jobs or wish they could leave their current employer, but cannot as they can’t take less money. And the reason people cannot take less money is due to debt responsibility and/or love of material possessions. Having little to no debt allows for movement in the marketplace to professions that bring joy versus stress, hate and depression.
- Living a generally more joyful life. Those with high debt tend to be stressed out and experience joy in spurts instead as a lifestyle. I can tell you that there was a time that I had credit card debt and I was not a very happy person. It hung over my head like a dreary, rain cloud. It was as if my debt haunted me. Those without debt experience joy as a lifestyle as their responsible spending and money managing puts them in a position to stop worrying about money! Also, if their current job becomes more of a headache than it is worth, they have the freedom to leave and eliminate the interference.
Living debt-free allows for more choices. When you have control over your finances you can choose to put money in savings, or visit a new Caribbean island, or take time off to write a book or mark off a few items on the Life (Bucket) List, etc. The world becomes your oyster!
It is not easy to pay off debt, but it will never happen if you do not develop a plan and learn to sacrifice. Think about this: if you are currently 35 years of age and have $10,000 in credit card debt and make minimum payments, you will be 55 when you pay off that debt.
The joy of living debt-free is worth the short-term sacrifice required. Your future self will thank you!
Just a thought on a Wednesday morning…