This post was originally published on Rockstar Finance as a part of a “Money Matchup”. You can read this post as well as the other side of the debate here. But if you only care what I think ;-), you can read my side of the matchup here. . . .

Debt: The Burden and Lifestyle of the Middle Class

He struggled up the long windy country road. The clink of metal on metal interrupted the otherwise peaceful morning. His companion glanced at the him with an inquisitive look. What was he doing? They were supposed to be out for a nice morning walk.

The chains that the man was dragging behind him seemed to be more of a hinderance.

“Why did he bring them along”, his unencumbered companion asked herself. “Couldn’t he leave them at home?”

The man couldn’t take a step to the side or forward without pulling the mess of chains along with him.

All the while he was muttering to himself, “Let’s talk a walk she said.”

“It’ll be fun she said.”

********

You may think this is a ridiculous story, and you’d be right!! I’ve never seen anyone with a bird’s nest of chains tagging along wherever they went: Marley brothers’ style (Muppet’s Christmas carol).

And you haven’t either. And yet, here we as fun-loving Americans are, with over 13 TRILLION dollars in total household debt!!! That’s trillion: with a “T”!!

Debt is just like that chain that you’re dragging along with you wherever you go. You can’t get away from it. It’ll haunt your waking hours and give you nightmares. This is the stuff that horror movies are made of.

And the worst part? Most people think they’re doing just fine – thank-you-very-much. They have no idea how much of a mess they’re in. And they’re so used to dragging that heavy burden around, they don’t know life without it.

debt is a burden

Why is Debt so Bad?

1. Debt Payments Restrict Your Cash-flow.

As soon as you sign on the dotted line for that loan, mortgage, car note, or any other type of debt, you’re on the hook to start paying it back. You don’t even get a reprieve. They’ll want the first payment THIS MONTH!

And depending on the type of debt you signed for, your payments could vary depending on the interest rate and balance. Think: credit cards or student loans.

There is only so much room in your budget for loan payments. At some point you’ll be tapped out. And all your money will be going to someone else.

If you had no debt, just think of what you could do with all that extra money you have. You could be investing and saving, or traveling. But you’ve restricted your monthly cash flow with debt payments, because you couldn’t delay gratification.

2. You Can Never Have Freedom With Debt.

When you have debt, you’re always in bondage to someone. Your lender will always have power over you. That’s part of the agreement you entered into when you signed. They could call your debts, leaving you in some deep trouble.

The Bible says, “The borrower is slave to the lender.”

A slave doesn’t have freedom. We’ve already discussed how your income is earmarked for their bank account instead of yours in the form of payments.

You’re free to use some of your income for your pleasure and gain, but never all of it. You’re a slave to your lender and debt.

3. If You Have to Use Debt, you can’t Afford it.

The thought process that we go through before we borrow money goes something like this.

“I want to buy ________ “- fill in the blank. House, car, boat, college education, vacation, or even furniture.

“That “thing” costs X number of dollars. I don’t have X number of dollars.”

“I can’t wait to save up the money. I’ll go talk to someone who does and borrow it from them. And so, what if I have to pay it back over the next 30 years. That’s called leverage, and it’s what all the smart, rich folks are doing.”

No, that’s called dumb!! And for every “smart, rich person” you see doing that, there are 50 more people trying to the same thing, and failing miserably. And ending up in bankruptcy and losing everything.

Because they couldn’t afford that “thing” in the first place!!

Conclusions

Personal finance comes down to behavior and attitude. The numbers and math are secondary.

If we could understand that our future is built on our choices today, we might make better choices today.

Choosing to never borrow money again is one of those choices.

Debt restricts your cash flow and robs you of freedom.

People around you may not ever see the chains of debt you’re lugging around with you. But you know they’re there. You can feel them. And you know that if you had never signed for that debt, you would be in a much better place right now.

But there is always hope. You can start today to turn things around. Make a list of your debts, and start attacking them one-by-one. And once you’ve freed yourself from the chains of debt, NEVER EVER GO BACK!!

What do you think? Is debt really that bad?

Thanks as always for reading and sharing. Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think.

-Chris

Author

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

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