The good folks over at The Debt Myth issued a challenge to all those who have been able to pay off all their debts and live debt free to write about it with the theme of “debt is not forever.” I think this is a genius idea! Probably 75% or more of those I counsel have the mindset that they can only get their debt under control (i.e. I can afford the minimum payments) instead of actually getting rid of it. The assumption by the majority is that debt is required as a part of daily life. This is simply not true.
Taking on debt is easy. You want something outside your financial reach? Get a loan and it’s yours…along with payment and credit terms. Within seconds, you can transform your financial future into a total disaster. Getting out of debt – that one’s a little tougher. Just like those who continually struggle to lose weight, it is a hard-to-fight battle that requires discipline, diligence and motivation. But it IS a winnable fight. To use the old phrase: there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it is doesn’t have to be a train!
My wife and I have been debt free since 2011 when we paid off our mortgage. She was not quite 30, and I had just turned 31. We live on a single, modest income and are not the beneficiaries of any huge trust, estate or other windfall. We are normal people who decided to do abnormal things for a while. That’s the key to becoming debt free: saying ‘yes’ to many things you would have previously declined and saying ‘no’ to many things you would have previously accepted. It isn’t rocket science. When I coach someone on their finances, it usually doesn’t take too long before they realize I don’t have some magic formula. Instead, I provide motivation and an example of how it can be done.
How did our family do it? That story’s been told many times before, so I’ll give you some links to it below. Remember, debt is not forever…unless you make it so.