We talk a lot about saving and investing around here. And we also kind of assume that if you have any debt you are trying to get rid of it. But I know there’s lots of people out there who just haven’t taken the plunge and made the commitment to getting rid of debt once and for all. I know that people get into debt for any number of reasons – and sometimes, life circumstances really do just require it. But I also know that there are some people who have the income to pay off existing debt and start living a debt-free life. There’s any number of online resources to tell you HOW to get out of debt…but if you haven’t taken advantage of one yet, it may be because you haven’t realized WHY you should want to eliminate debt.
Benefits of Being Debt-Free
- You’ll save money. You won’t be paying interest on your debt, so you’re automatically spending less. And once you get rid of debt payments for good, you can put money in the bank…and use it instead of credit cards when unexpected expenses pop up.
- Debt-free = stress-free. Well, maybe not quite – after all, there will probably always be more things to do than hours in the day! But you will have less financial stress when your debt is paid off. No more tracking payment due dates, no more juggling bank accounts to stretch paychecks and no more worrying about how you’re going to save for the next big expense when you’re still paying off the last big expense.
- Your life is your own again. My mom always says that when someone has a financial stake in your life, they have a non-financial stake in your life too. If you owe money to family or friends, they will be entitled to an opinion on every move you make – from buying new clothes to eating at an expensive restaurant. Even if your debt is all owed to financial institutions you might find that it has an impact on your life choices – like if you can’t get a mortgage for that house you’re in love with, or can’t replace your banged-up car because you owe too much on it.
- Your debt won’t control your choices. If you have a certain number of payments to make, you need a certain amount of income – so if you hate your job but it pays the bills, you can’t quit. When your debt is paid off, you can find a job that works for you and your family, as long as it brings in enough to prevent you from going into debt again.
- It’s good for your family. You’ll be in a better position to fund family bonding opportunities like a spontaneous beach trip, or day at the amusement park. If you have young children, living a debt-free life will be a wonderful example of living within your means. If an adult child needs help, you might be able to provide it. And if, by chance, something happens to you, they won’t be left with the burden of your debt.
Start with a Commitment
There are many more reasons to get out of debt, and even more ways to do so. The most important thing is that you commit to a plan, and then start with step 1. It won’t be easy, but the best things in life never are. Know that you can do it – no matter how much debt you have, or how much money you make, it is a near certainty that people have paid off more with less. GOOD LUCK!
Have you recently eliminated your debt, or committed to doing so? Tell us why in the comments!