We live in a very strange world in which financial institutions (banks and those that like to offer you debt) keep telling us that they care for us and want us to live our best lives, and then they insist that we get ourselves into debt which obviously messes our dreams up.
That probably sounds cynical and a bit messed up so let me try explain what I mean.
In fact, have a listen to the interview on Cape Talk radio discussing this topic.
How we are forced into debt
From the first day you start a new job you’ll hear friends and family tell you that you need to get a good credit score. You “must” go out and get a store card so that you can build up a credit history as soon as you can. You’ll need this positive credit score in order to get a loans and possibly even purchase a property one day.
That’s all fine and well, but in order to get a credit score you have to take out debt somewhere and prove that you can pay it off. Getting your first store card or credit card is a sought after thing for many youngsters as it’s a sign of adulthood, and we’re kind of brainwashed into believing that this is a good thing and that we really need debt in order to live a better life! We obviously need credit cards, store cards, vehicle finance, short term loans, etc as that’s just part of life…. That’s what we’re told.
However, think of 30 year old ‘Ms Savvy’ who has never had any debt. She owns a old car that she bought second-hand and has survived quite well living within her means. In fact, she even has some savings, a retirement fund and a small investment. She’s managing her money really well! Probably better than 60% of people!
Now if financial institutions (the banks and ones offering debt) were serious about understanding our financial needs and doing things in our best interest, then they would surely recognize Ms Savvy’s great financial skills and understand that she knows how to manage her money. If the time came that Ms Savvy needed to borrow money to purchase a property then one would expect financial institutions to be fighting for the business as she has demonstrated many years worth of good money management.
This however is not the case as Ms Savvy would most certainly not qualify for any finance as the banks are really not interested in how well you are able to save and invest, they’re only interested in your spending habits and how much debt you have.
That seems back-to-front doesn’t it?
The financial system relies of people being in debt. There is a huge billion dollar industry that revolves around people’s debt! They make a lot of money off you and it’s in their best interest to keep you enslaved by debt. The narrative from call center agents focuses on the convenience, the benefits, the lifestyle, your needs and the fact that you deserve better, but they neglect to tell you about the long term effects. A bit like the cigarette adverts from a few years ago. They depicted the life of luxury, fun and opulence but yet we all know how bad smoking is for you.
The “system” wants us to be in debt and as long as we keep believing that it’s okay to have debt and that the convenience of debt far outweighs the financial costs, then we allow the system to grow and we’ll stump our own growth and freedom.
It’s time to retrain our brains
It may seem like a depressing rant, but there is always hope! Have a look at these 4 steps to retrain your brain with regards your relationship with debt.
1 – Face reality
Firstly, it’s time to face reality and understand that debt is a slow killer and that you really do not need debt! If you want any level of financial freedom you’ll have to learn to live within your means!
- Create a budget
- Acknowledge and track your expenses
- Think about where you’re spending your money
- Stop buying junk
2 – Dream big
Think about life without debt. What if you could take home your whole salary and not have to give anything up to debt payments. No car payments, no home loan, no credit card debt, etc. How would that change your life? Just imagine how much free cash you would have available and how you could invest it and also spend money on things that are really important to you.
Look past your debt situation and allow yourself to dream a bit.
3 – Know that you can be debt free; join a community
Dreaming about life is lovely but it doesn’t help much much without action!
Join the online debt free community via your favorite social media and keep engaged with what others are doing. There are hundreds of great blogs and it is easy to find one that resonates with you. Being part of a community is a great way to stay motivated and to meet others who are either already debt free or who are working towards it. Sign up for my newsletter as a start.
The more like-minded people you meet the easier your journey becomes.
4 – Make your debt-free plan now!
Start creating your plan to become debt-free! You can start with this post on unwinding the debt spiral and as you gain more knowledge and motivation you can keep updating the plan!
It doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to do it now, the important thing is to start somewhere! Just start small and focus on small daily habits to improve your financial health and as you develop your skills you’ll see the progress increase by leaps and bounds!
Don’t be fooled by the phone calls and letters you receive offering you a better life with the short-term loan, credit card or whatever it is they are offering. It’s only a short-term satisfaction and once you fall into the debt trap it only gets worse!
Debt is bad and you should never let people try to convince you otherwise. The rule is simple, spend less money than you earn!
Take charge of your money!
Oh and did you hear the final question in the interview where I was asked whether you get good debt and bad debt? Well I posted about it here – Do you get “good” debt?