I am not shocked that most people are relatively unsuccessful; money wise that is. I do believe that any human being can accomplish what they desire if they have a mind to do so, but I don’t think the majority truly have burning desire.
I believe the majority of people go to school to get a job and if they make $50,000 per year combined with their soon-to-be spouses’ $50,000, they will be happy and live out their life working for “the man.”
After all, the average household income in the U.S. is $50,000, so compared to the average, your family would be sitting pretty.
The problem with our society today is not that people cannot make enough money to live their dreams or work their dream job(s). The issue is that most Americans have fallen for a great lie: credit is a necessity.
Credit can be evil. It is a modern form of slavery for most. It restricts you, it binds you, it ties you up and keeps you right where “the man” wants you: working your job to pay for stuff you couldn’t afford in the first place.
I want to paint 2 scenarios, then we will continue our discussion.
Jane and Jon get married with both partners making $35,000 per year. They have been responsible with their money, putting off the temptation of credit card debt. One has a school loan the other does not. They decide to rent an affordable, small apartment and drive dependable, yet slightly older model cars, with only 1 small car payment.
Each month, because of their responsible living, they are able to put $800 into their savings totaling nearly $10,000 per year. They decide to live this lifestyle for 5 years and add all additional raises and bonuses to their savings account.
They have a small cable bill, basic utilities, one small car payment, car insurance, student loan payment, renter’s insurance, etc. They eat out but not extravagantly and not too often. They practice cooking and eating at home.
At the end of the 5 years they accrue a savings balance of over $60,000 including interest and have nearly eliminated the student loan.
They then use part of that money to buy their first home, but use restraint and buy a home slightly larger than their apartment, yet large enough to start a family. Their mortgage is slightly higher than their rent, which was their plan so they could own a home AND continue to add to their savings.
They continue to add to their savings and at the end of 10 years they have made one extra mortgage payment every year for the 5 years and have a savings balance exceeding $80,000 due to raises and bonuses. The extra mortgage payment has created an additional $20,000 in equity in their home.
They now have options because of their responsible living. If either one wants to start a small business or one loses a job, they have savings to fund themselves.
Jane and Jon get married with both partners making $35,000 per year. They have been irresponsible with their money, giving in to the temptation of credit card debt. One has a school loan the other does not. They decide to rent an apartment that is a little pricier than they planned, but Jane loved the layout so they went for it. They both drive new cars, with 2 car payments.
Each month, because of their irresponsible living, they are unable to put money into savings. They hope that once they get a raise next year or a bonus they can begin a savings account.
They have credit card bills, a student loan, full cable television service, basic utilities, 2 car payments, car insurance, renter’s insurance, etc. They eat out regularly and rarely cook at home.
After a few years they decide to buy their first home. As they did with their apartment they buy a home slightly larger than they planned, but rationalize the extra expense by believing they can make a few cuts here and there to offset the additional increase. This purchase uses all of their small savings.
They continue to add what they are able to their savings, but at the end of 10 years they only have a savings balance of $2,500 due to large property taxes and living expenses. They also don’t have much equity in their home as they are not able to make the 13th extra payment each year.
They have limited options because of their irresponsible living. Jon doesn’t sleep well at night constantly worried about money and dreams of the day he can tell his boss where to stick his miserable job. He works constantly to make sure the bills are paid, meanwhile neglects his relationship with his wife and kids.
Jane loves her husband, but wishes he didn’t work so much and paid more attention to her and the children. Her feelings of loneliness cause arguments with Jon when she tries to talk about it.
Both feel trapped.
My previous statement was “credit is an evil.” And I believe that. I don’t buy into the statement that a mortgage is a “good” debt. Debt is debt. And if someone can come and take “your” stuff due to failure to pay, then you own nothing; so don’t be fooled.
Most people fall for the trap of the credit mindset. I want you to stop and think about credit and why it exists. Credit is a system that allows people that cannot afford stuff they think they need, to have stuff they think they need with an interest rate applied.
Credit would not exist if people didn’t want for things they couldn’t afford.
And buying into the credit lie is what will eventually restrict your life and those restrictions will have a direct impact on your ability to do the things that will bring you joy, thus stifling your dream life.
If you have fallen for this lie, then you must take action immediately. I have emailed and talked in person with many individuals that have paid off incredible amounts of debt and they have all said the same thing: “I wish I had taken action sooner.”
If you are in a place where your money decisions are hindering you, then why not do something to change the situation? Why do you continue to ignore the problem or wish the problem away?
I will tell you why! Because your desire for stuff you can’t afford exceeds your desire to live the life of your dreams. It is that simple.
***side note*** I attended a funeral Saturday of a woman that died of multiple myeloma. I had never met her, but she was an extended family member of an in-law, so I felt I needed to be there to show support. Death always reminds me of how unimportant material things are. I am sure the last thing on her mind as she breathed her last breath were all of her possessions. Be careful about the value you place on material things.***
Once you realize that stuff is not important you will make the necessary decisions to pay down your debt. Until then you will continue with the status quo.
Now you might ask, how am I supposed to get stuff? Or what if I am already consumed with credit card debt? Or what if I already have that huge mortgage? Or worse, what if my life is represented by scenario #2?
As in all aspects of life you are left with a decision that only you can make. Are you willing to downsize or move into an apartment? Are you willing to cut cable or eliminate eating out? Are you willing to cut up your credit cards?
If I were you I would immediately read anything Dave Ramsey has ever written on debt. Figure out a way to build an emergency fund, develop a strategy to pay off your debt and make the sacrifices necessary to relieve yourself of the debt burden.
Scenario #1 is attainable, but not if you continue to want for things you cannot afford.