Despicable, really? Isn’t that a bit over the top?
Maybe. How about we try some other words? All consuming. Pervasive. Soul sucking. Destroyer of life, of love, of relationships, of families.
Debt is truly one of the ugliest words I know. However you see it, or say it, debt can be the difference between a life well lived, and a life not lived at all.
People see debt as a necessary evil, and it has become such an accepted part of our society that its tendrils can be found in many forms, in every age group, and in every walk of life.
And yet we can’t wait to be free of it. Somewhere in our psyche (pushed deep down where we don’t have to think about it often), we know that debt is not a necessary evil, but just an evil. I’ve seen debt destroy relationships, happiness, and lives, and it’s heartbreaking.
It’s also unnecessary.
Yes, some things are nearly impossible without debt (think mortgages), but most other forms of debt are avoidable and preventable. You just need the knowledge and the willpower to walk that path.
In our grandparents’ day there wasn’t nearly so much debt. The cost of living helped enormously. But it wasn’t just that. Our elders were brought up when things like credit cards didn’t exist and there weren’t loans to fall back on. They knew that if they didn’t have the money they couldn’t spend it.
But somewhere along the line we have lost what is possibly one of the most important lessons you can learn in life! It seems so simple. If you don’t have the money, don’t spend it. And yet, people everywhere have turned this common sense piece of advice on its head and it has become instead, “I can’t afford it now so I will just put it on credit and pay it when I can.”
What the hell! When did buying something with non-existent money become okay? When did it stop being frowned upon? When did people start talking with pride about the car they bought on finance, the holiday they got a loan for, or the dress they whacked on their credit card?
Society has a lot to answer for. Advertising pushes the “must have” lounge suite, the “affordable” new car, and the “interest free” credit cards. There is an expectation that to be successful you must “have,” and to have, you have to spend, whether you’ve got the money or not.
People feel they need to have the big house, the fast car, and the labelled clothing right off the bat. There is no waiting for anything. It is an instantaneous life. Why save when you could get it now?
You see co-workers who always seem to have the latest and greatest kitchen appliances, boats, and beach houses, and know they are on a similar wage. If they have it all, why can’t you?
But what you don’t see is their debt. That skulking, insidious bedfellow that lurks beneath everything they do. Credit cards are maxed, they’re mortgaged to the hilt, and they’re struggling. Maybe not on the surface. Instagram posts are still rosy, and they’re still stepping out in their Jimmy Choos, but behind closed doors they sit with their bills and worry.
And yet, nothing changes. They continue to spend, and their debt continues to grow. These people will never know the freedom of being debt free, and will never understand the joy that can be gained by living life without the weight of debt.
Sadly, I think people use this uncontrolled spending as an excuse for not getting ahead. “I can’t afford to travel or buy a house.” “It’s not my fault.” “I just don’t earn enough.” “How can I ever save a deposit?”
How? Start at the bottom like your parents and their parents before them.
Yes, they have lovely houses and new cars now. They lunch out and travel when they like. But this wasn’t always the way. Before the lovely house was probably a crappy one, before the new car, an old one. Before they ate out, they packed lunches, and picnics, and camped close to home instead of flying overseas.
They didn’t expect to have everything the day they started working and society didn’t expect it of them either.
But it’s not all society’s fault! People are individuals, not lemmings, and we are free to make our own choices in life. Our generation is the first to think it’s okay not to work if there isn’t a job available in our field of expertise, to buy what they want instead of what they can afford, and it is starting to show.
Our parents’ generation took whatever jobs were available. They weren’t too good to stack shelves, do manual labour, or work beneath bosses they hated. They didn’t mind starting with what they could afford and working their way up to what they wanted! That’s just the way it was. And it is this mentality that saw them succeed, live lower stress lives, and get joy out of the little things!
It’s not rocket science, people! If you don’t have it, don’t spend it!
Of course this is all just a broad generalisation of the decades, but debt is a little like the devil. If it doesn’t get you one way, you can bet your bottom dollar it will try another route.
There is always a way out though. It might not be easy – in fact I can almost guarantee it won’t be – but it is achievable and it is so worth it!
If you want to know how to break free of debt and get rid of it once and for all, then check out my latest book: Brilliant Budgets and Despicable Debt, out now on Amazon.
***This is an excerpt from Brilliant Budgets and Despicable Debt. To read more, pick up your copy from Amazon now.***