Am I really a Slave to My Bank/Lender?

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions slavery? Do you think of a racially charged movie? Maybe you think historically of the injustice of owning a human being just because of their skin color or where they came from? Do you think of rich folks treating others like property? Or do you think of someone, anyone in some form of bondage?

In my opinion, slavery is still alive and well. You – Yes, you! are most likely enslaved. Maybe you don’t feel it, or perhaps you do sense it.

But if you have debt – you are a slave. Your debt is a huge, ugly burden that is dragging you down. Why not cut it loose?

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “A man in debt is so far a slave.” A sobering reminder that slavery is far reaching and pervasive.”

debt makes me a slave

Normal Everyday Slavery.

Debt. That four letter word that is so controversial and divisive. There are those who advocate some debt as good, and other types of debt as bad. When describing “good” debt, they mention mortgages, student loans (maybe), or business loans (“You have to spend money to make money – right?”).

But is this debt really “good”? Is there such a thing as “good” debt? – or is it all “bad”? Let’s unpack this question, but first . . .

Let me just throw this out there. When you take on a debt – any debt, are you free to do with your money what you want?

The answer is: of course not. You have to start to pay back your debt – with interest to the bank – immediately. In my opinion, that makes you a slave.

Think about that, You are in bondage to the lender or bank. And if it doesn’t sink in, say it with me, “My debt makes me a slave.” It’s sobering when you think about it.

There is one important distinction, unlike the slavery we’re more familiar with, you can be free at any time. You just have to pay your debt back first. Easier said than done, I know. But until you recognize your debt for what it is, you will never be free.

Do you enjoy being in bondage? No? Then why didn’t you pay in full upfront? Too much money? . . . Then maybe you can’t afford it?

“Good” Debt vs “Bad” Debt

So, is there any “good” debt? NO!! Any and all of my debt makes me a slave, until the debt is paid in full. Do you want to be a slave to a bank?

I believe that ALL debt is bad. It’s just that some debt is worse than others. Then why is it so prevalent?

I’m sure that all of us have or had debt at one time. We justify it as a way to buy things we can’t afford – Now! The United States is an instant-gratification society – we want things now. We don’t want to wait until we can save the money to buy the things we think we deserve.

We don’t even want to wait a few weeks for our tax refund. You can get a loan – now – to be paid back with interest when your refund comes in. Really? Perhaps this is why we can never get ahead. We’re always borrowing from our future to pay for today.

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We know that credit card debt is ALWAYS BAD. Car loans are always BAD too – you pay more in the end for a depreciating item. Student loans are bankrupting millennials, and destroying their future. And finally, with a mortgage, you end paying double the initial purchase price – if you take the mortgage to full term.

Yes, I currently have a mortgage. And I have previously had student loans and car loans. Was I slave? – Yes! And my current debt makes me a slave? Did I hate it? – not at first. But once I realized that I was in bondage, and that so much of my money was tied up in debt payments, I certainly hated it then! I’m now working to get rid of the debt that I have left (mortgage).

But did you catch it? The key to getting out of debt. Just like my mindset was – most people don’t think they are in slavery. They see it as a way of life.

Let me repeat it: They see debt as a way of life. Like there is no other way.

Counter Argument – Necessary Expenses

You might counter with, “Well I have to buy food and pay my electric bills. I’m a slave to those things too.” No – you’re not – for two reasons.

man pulling heavy burden

First – Yes, you have to buy food. But you can buy it anywhere. You’re free to choose where you eat. No one forces you to only eat at McDonald’s, and only buy groceries from Aldi’s. The distinction is – You’re free to choose. If your lender sells your debt – you still have to pay to the new lender. You don’t get to choose.

Second – Your total payment equals the value of the item. When you pay your bills, you receive a service worth the money you pay. But when you buy items with debt, you also pay interest. . . which you know upfront.

We know what interest it, but let me illustrate it anyway. What if I buy the same couch as you do at the same time, but I pay in cash while you purchase it on a loan. The initial purchase price is the same, but in the end you will have spent more money because – interest. What is the couch actually worth? When we bought it, it was worth the initial purchase price. But you over-paid. You got less value for your money.

Counter Argument – Mortgages

People also argue – “But isn’t mortgage debt ok?” This is the most common debt often called “good” debt. Taking on a mortgage debt enables us to buy a house far sooner than if we were required to pay with cash upfront. But is this the best way? For example:

If you take out a conventional 30 year, $150,000 mortgage loan at 4% interest, your payment (not including taxes or insurance) is $716.00 a month. Not too bad – right? But this kind of month-to-month thinking is what causes the problem in the first place. Over the entire term of the loan you will pay $257,804.

That’s $127,804 just in interest!!! For the convenience of having a house sooner. If you are dead-set on buying as house with a mortgage (as I was), at least save up a proper down payment. Certainly, if you can pay your mortgage off sooner, you can save boatloads of money in interest. Which, incidentally, is my plan.

Also, don’t keep your mortgage just for the tax deduction.

Conclusions

My debt makes me a slave to the lender. Resist the “I want it now” mentality that pervades our culture. Until you get angry at the amount of excess money you give the bank – you’ll never be free. Debt doesn’t have to be a way of life. You can choose. Decide that you will never borrow money again. If you haven’t acquired any debt yet – Please Don’t!

Related: What’s the Best Method to Pay Down Debt Fast?

Obviously we all make our own decisions, but at least now you can be prepared before you sign on the dotted line. Because no one in their right mind willingly signs up to be a slave.

What about you? How much of a slave are you? Are you working to get out?

Thanks for reading, and if you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it using the social media links below?

-Chris

Author

Chris is the original Cash Dad. He's a father of 3 and a mechanical engineer by trade.

9 Comments

  1. Debt free for now. Looking to buy a house shortly, but still waiting for the right time/opportunity to do so. Like you, I hope to pay off the mortgage as quick as possible.

    Thanks for the post!

    • Chris Reply

      Of course the longer you wait the more cash you could pile up. It’s great that you’re debt free though – well done!!
      Thanks for the comment.

  2. What if there was a business you could purchase, but you needed to take out a SBA loan. The biz was making $100k a year – but you needed a loan to buy it for $200k. In two years or so, you could be free and clear of that loan. Would that be considered okay debt? Just throwing it out there for fodder. ?

    • Chris Reply

      Hey – you’re obviously free to do whatever you want. But even in that situation, you’re still in debt, and you’re banking on continuing to make that 100k year after year. Maybe you’ll make more – who knows – hypothetically speaking. ?
      IMO – when you’re in debt – no matter the type – you’re a slave to the lender.
      Thanks for the comment.

  3. Damn Millennial Reply

    I am happy that I pulled the trigger and purchased a home in 2014. It has been something that has improved my quality of life.

    With that being said I am with you that debt free is the way to be. Once you are debt free life offers up much more flexibility. I plan to pay off my personal residence and I throw a decent chunk at it each year.

    I am a fan of a balanced approach so I invest heavily in other assets as well.

    Thanks for sharing and good luck in the Rockstar Finance Bracket!

    • Chris Reply

      Thanks for the comment – I appreciate the point of view. I too have mortgage debt, but would love nothing more than to be debt free. ?

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