This is something I run into more than I expected. A lot of people I talk to are basically stuck on the idea that paying off their debt isn’t worth the effort.
Some will talk about the responsibility of the lenders, giving credit to people who will never be able to pay it back, charging ridiculous interest rates, caring more about their bottom line than their customers.
Others will speak of the futility of trying to get by in this day and age of inflation, high taxes, low wages, job insecurity, and lack of benefits.
Some blame their families, their environments, their luck, their lot in life.
Truthfully, there are as many reasons as there are people.
But the flip side to debt is almost impossible to explain to someone who has never experienced – or can’t remember – the freedom of a debt-free lifestyle. Much as the smoker can’t imagine a no-smoking lifestyle, the obese can’t fathom being active and energetic, and the alcoholic can’t consider sober and accountable, the debtor feels trapped by the weight of the financial burden.
Especially if a debt free existence does not include a huge increase in income; the debtor figures he won’t be any further ahead. But even living in need is infinitely better than living in debt.
It’s all about control. You want to be happy, independent, free. But as long as you owe someone money, there’s a big wall between you and your freedom. They have a hold on you. Every single piece of clothing you buy, every meal you eat, every movie you see, every drop of gas you put in your tank – every cent you spend – is clouded by the obligation of owing that money to someone else.
In our society, money is everything. Everything. (I’ll argue that in another post one day…)
Having money is freedom. Money means choices. Money is hope. Having things isn’t the same. In fact, having money and NOT trading it for things is the most empowering feeling in the world.
Should you bother paying off your debt?
That’s not the question. The real question is, Who’s in control?
If you have creditors, it’s not you. You owe them; they decide how much you owe, how much you pay, when, for how long. They call the shots. They can walk all over you, treat you like a doormat, disrespect you. Because you owe them. You are their servant. You will be their slave, working harder and harder, and handing your rewards straight over to them.
Without debt, you decide.
You decide your worth. The worth of your time. The worth of your effort. The worth of your skill.
You decide your value. You command respect. You deserve your dignity.
You decide your future. No one tells you what your priorities are. No one makes you choose.
It might not be abundance or wealth or excess. But it’s freedom. And it’s worth it.