Are you considering starting the journey to debt free for yourself? If so, I think it’s imperative that you should go for it. There’s never been a more crucial time as to the importance of financial security. The reasons to free yourself from the debt that’s weighing you down like cement shoes is as numerous as the sand on the seashore. But let’s talk today about some of the more critical (in my humble opinion) reasons why you really should start on the road to debt free today.
1. The economy isn’t getting any better. No one in their right mind can say that America is on their way back to financial prosperity. The national government owed debt is over 17 trillion, and consumer debt in America is over 11 trillion. Even analysts from other countries can see that we’re tipping on the edge of disaster. When The Great Depression hit after the 1929 stock market crash, the world for America largely stopped. Spending stopped, jobs disappeared, so income stopped. Bills stopped being able to be paid, and people didn’t have the money to put food on their tables, or pay their mortgage, which led to record foreclosure rates and families out on the streets. The ones that survived without losing their homes and their ability to feed their children were largely the people who were living debt free, had some money saved (at home) and had learned to garden and produce their own food sources.
Sadly, though, we’ve become a society that largely depends on others, i.e., the grocery store, to provide our food. “Tests runs” like Hurricane Sandy and others have shown us what happens when the mainstream ability to get food goes away: grocery stores are forced to shut down due to power outages and those bold enough to steal force their way in to grab what is in the stores, or stores that are open sell first come first serve until they’re sold out.
Americans are largely in a place now where, if some type of storm comes now, they can’t even afford to leave their city and seek shelter elsewhere, even if the roads are open. Having your debt paid down or off, and having some savings in place, may not solve all of your problems if the economy tanks or a major storm sets in, but it sure would give you a lot more options.
2. The day will most likely come for you when you want to retire. That day may seem far off right now, but believe me: the years will fly by quicker than you think, and if you have an “I’ll deal with that day when it comes” attitude, you’ll likely be left with very little choices when D-day shows up.
Don’t be that little old gal or guy that’s forced to work a job you hate because you need to eat. Instead, be the one who can truly enjoy the golden years. One of the reasons we’re choosing to get out of debt and step up retirement planning now is because I can’t help but think about my grandparents, and the many other people in my family, who are in their 50’s, 60’s, and beyond, struggling, like they’ve always struggled, to pay the bills and find food to eat. We don’t want to be those people anymore, and we certainly don’t want to be those people when we’re 60, 70 or 80.
3. The physical and emotional stress debt causes is dangerous to your health. The stress caused by debt and money problems increases your chance of heart problems, affects your sleep, and increases your chance to respond with anger over a situation. How many times have you yelled at the kids, fought with your spouse or spent the night lying wide awake in the dark because you were freaking out about money? It’s time to make a plan and stop letting debt ruin your life.
4. It’s not just about you. If you have a family, then your debt isn’t just harmful to you, it is harming your family too. Kids often place undue pressure on themselves when there are money problems abound in the family. We experienced this firsthand when Rick was laid off 3 years ago. Our oldest daughter felt immense pressure to bring income into the family, no matter how many millions of times we tried to convince her that this was not her responsibility and that we were fine. Why? Because she knew our money was a mess, and oldest children often feel responsible to care for the family, like they’re mini-parents. Also, if you are the spender in the family, you are likely placing undue stress on your non-spending spouse, and, forgive me for being blunt, but that’s just plain selfish. Start making your spending choices not just based on what you want, but on what’s best, long-term, for the entire family as a whole.
5. You never know what the future will bring. Economic collapse, job losses, health problems; there are a myriad of things that could happen in this world that could quadruple your debt problems overnight. Some even talk that debtors prison may return, and some say that it is happening now. In Biblical times, if you were a family that could no longer pay your debts, hubby went off to prison to work them off. If hubby was out of the picture, they took the kids. If you couldn’t pay your taxes, your lovely daughter was seized by the Roman guards to pay off your debt, and I think you know what I mean when I say “pay off your debt”. This was real back then, and some speculate that it can be real again. No matter how small the chance is of these things happening to your family, is it really worth the risk?
In you are heavily in debt, like we are, it’s time to stop pussy-footing around and making excuses for why your situation is the way it is. Step up to the plate and start working to change your situation – now – before you have no choice in the matter.