At a recent conference we met a man who worked for a company whose central business was providing a service to those living a frugal life. So imagine our surprise when we introduced ourselves to him he gave us the cold shoulder, especially after explaining to him that we are The Thrifty Couple and have a website offering ideas, encouragement and hope to others so they can make the most of their income and find ways to cut expenses to become debt free and financially free.
You’d think that we would be in good company. It’s not like we had just met the CEO of Lord and Taylor or the CEO of Rolls Royce. Instead, we had met a representative of a company that offered frugal services to those that are doing exactly what we encourage them to do.
But he brushed us off. He didn’t want to hear our story. He didn’t want to talk about debt. He didn’t want to talk about frugal living personally. He had no interest in it.
In all of our time doing this website and ministry, we have never met someone so against talking about debt free living. Again, I was stunned as the users of this company’s service were generally those wanting to pay off their debts; it just didn’t make sense.
But when we said that we share with others ideas for becoming debt free, he interrupted and snorted, “I have a lot of debt and I don’t care and I have no desire to pay it off early. I don’t care if I have debts until I die!”
Taken back, we both looked at each other with shock and awe. Why would someone NOT want to be debt free?
So we responded with, “Why?”
He replied that there was no point in paying off your debts, stating, “I just want to live the way I want to live and enjoy life. I don’t know the point of dying rich if you are going to die anyway. I want to spend as much as I can and do everything I want to do before I die.”
We tried to rebuttal by asking, “What about passing an inheritance and legacy down to your kids?” He said that HE was the one who earned the money and his kids didn’t. Why should he give them his money for them to blow through it? It is his and his right to blow through it, not them!
“What about financial stress?”, we asked. “I don’t care. If I can’t pay, so what? But while I can, I am going to enjoy life!”
We ended the conversation after these two questions as we saw that this gentleman clearly did not care. We reasoned that maybe he deals with frugality in his day job, and so maybe this is why he didn’t want anything to do with it. I get that. Many people don’t want to bring work home (and really shouldn’t in most cases), but this was just so interesting and mind boggling.
It really got us thinking, are there really those who only live a life for themselves and selfishly do what they want and don’t care about the consequences?
Well, the answer is yes. In fact, we were once like that. Well, let me clarify by stating that we weren’t completely like that!
Our mindset may have been slightly different, but our actions indicated that we felt the same way this gentleman did.
First our mindset: I wanted to be a stay at home mom, we wanted to be financially responsible, we wanted to pass down an inheritance to our children, and maybe even our grandchildren, we wanted to give more than 10% and have a life of giving to others. At least that is what our ideals were. We didn’t intend to get into debt.
Second, our actions: But when it came to living life, we did just as this man stated: we “enjoyed” life to what we thought was the fullest. But in that enjoyment, we didn’t consider those long-term goals. We didn’t think about how our actions THAT DAY would affect us for the future. The enjoyment we had in those early days of our marriage ended up costing us a total of $108k of consumer debt was not enjoyment at all, not even a little bit.
Those “enjoyment days” made for a life of living paycheck to paycheck, having financial stress and woes, woes so deep that our physical health and marital health was on the decline quickly. It also meant that we couldn’t do those things we had dreamed about from the beginning, having kids and leaving a legacy and have charitable hearts that could act upon that charity. Not to mention, the day to day alleviation of that financial stress, not having to hold my breathe as I made a purchase, or sweating bullets every time we answered the phone or opened the mail.
But that odd conversation that day at that conference really made us realize that perhaps there needs to be an answer to the question, Why you should become debt free anyway? What’s the point?
What’s the point if you are just going to die anyway?
What’s the point if you can’t enjoy life?
Have you ever asked these questions or entertained these thoughts in your mind?
Well, since we talk so much about how the first step to financial freedom is that of paying off all of your debts, we felt the need to address these questions just in case there are others out there that have mentally and emotionally given up the concept of living debt free.
There are four main reasons (not counting numerous others) why you should want to desire to be debt free.
4 Reasons on why become debt free anyway?
1. The mental and emotional stress
Before this gentleman, I have yet to meet another person who doesn’t deal with mental, physical and emotional stress from their debts. Whether they were in a little or a lot of debt, the stress that debt causes on their lives on a daily basis is real; it can be debilitating and it is stressful. It is a burden to carry. It is a deadweight that you have to face each and every day.
The person in debt has a poor man’s mindset because he is limited in life based on how much credit he can obtain never really has true financial freedom. For many, debt is earth-shattering. Debt stress is the cause of many suicides, many divorces, many broken families, many cases of depression.
When you attempt to “enjoy life” on someone else’s dime, it is not true enjoyment. It is not real. It is not genuine. Who wants “fake” enjoyment? We personally know all too well what this “fake” enjoyment did in our lives. Our lives were nearly destroyed over debt. It’s too much to go into here, that’s why we wrote a 192 page book detailing this aspect of debt.
2. To actually and truly enjoy life
Think about this. If you enjoy life on debt, you pay for it later, often for many, many years. It is not financially feasible or sustainable for the long-term; the enjoyment is short-lived, it is not a lifestyle. The debt piles on, the interest piles on and the money runs out. Sure, you could argue that it runs out the other way too, but when it runs out, you can save and do it again (if that is what you want).
When the money runs out on debt and you can’t get more debt, you are trapped and now you are in financial prison. If you are paying interest, it’s money wasted, not being used to enjoy life. If you are paying a few hundred a month in just interest (like many families), how quickly could several hundred a month add up to additional funds for that debt-free enjoyment?
The truth is, the enjoyment is short-lived. For us, it was a short 4 years, then money, credit and ability to get more credit ran dry and we were in financial prison.
On the flipside, today we enjoy life debt free. We take vacations debt free, we eat out debt free, we celebrate debt free and it has been that way for years. And yet while we are enjoying life, money keeps getting added to the bank for peaceful living, to the retirement for future enjoyment, and for our legacy…all while we enjoy life more than ever! Part of that enjoyment is also contentment in what we can do now with the money set aside for this purpose now.
3. To pass an inheritance and build a legacy
That leads us into our next point. To build a legacy and an inheritance. We think generationally. We think covenantally. We are gifted with six beautiful, amazing children. They are a gift to us and a family legacy for our children and grandchildren is a beautiful way to rejoice and share in that gift and legacy. Proverbs 13:22 states, “A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children.” The idea of inheritances are becoming more and more rare, and what sadness that our “I want it all” attitude as done for our legacies.
4. To freely give to others
This is a reason that should be in the hearts and minds of a thoughtful person, the ability to give to others during their times of need.
Someone asked me recently if I was given a million dollars, how would I spend it? The question wasn’t how would I invest it or how would I save it? But it was how would I spend it? I said, “I would take my kids to a 3rd world country or an impoverished area and build churches and schools.” It was the first thing that popped in my mind. The reason I would take my kids is so that they too can see the needs of others in a real way and see how our “million dollars” was building for others’ needs and to see first hand the needs of others and to use wealth for a full life, for a life of full enjoyment so they can grow up and see the real reasons why we should live debt free lives.
Giving in accordance to what we have been blessed with is a gift, joy and a part of living life to the fullest, even if is just giving of a few bricks for those buildings now. As we get further from our debts over time with our current frugal and debt-free lifestyle, the bricks can turn into foundations, then rooms, then stories, then a full building. This is where true enjoyment is found!
After this conversation with this gentleman, I realized that these were this current thought pattern, but when the credit runs dry, when life gets hard, stressful and near impossible, he may realize why debt-free living should be a priority. Unfortunately for him, and many others, including our old selves, it will be much too late for it to be an easy road, but instead, a hard road.
Friends, this is why we started this site. This is why we wrote our book and workbook. To help encourage you.
We always try to share that we have three main goals in starting this site – all centered around the goal of encouraging you. The question we want you to consider is which group you are in.
- We want to encourage those that find themselves in the dark and scary life of dealing with debt – We start here because we know that life too well, avoiding the calls from debt collectors, trying to figure out how to get out of our payday loans, and in general not seeing any way out – not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, unless the gentleman we spoke with changed his ways, this is where he was headed. And as we just mentioned, in many ways for many people, that is when it becomes the hard road to get out. We found the way out and want to encourage you that it is possible and help you along the way!
- We want to encourage those that are headed in that direction to stop, turn around, and become debt-free when the journey isn’t quite so hard – When you start your journey not having to jump over seemingly impossible obstacles, but instead can start putting in place reasonable and gradual steps towards debt freedom, then the process is much less painless. We want to sound the warning that unless you turn around soon, that deep and dark place we spoke about above is just lurking and waiting for you to enter. What is so amazing about this place in your journey is that the results can come even faster – meaning even more enjoyment along the way!
- We want to encourage those that have never been tempted to get into debt to STAY OUT – This may sound like a rare and silly point, but we have met families that have lived financially wise lives that watch others from the outside, wondering if debt could provide more enjoyment in their lives. Our encouragement is to stay smart, use good financial planning and stay the course! We all can do better (even us) – let’s work together at getting better with our money in the weeks and days ahead! And when you do, you’ll be so glad you didn’t fall into the pit of debt as the journey out is a struggle and one you don’t want to start.
We hope you see that the reasons for living debt-free and working towards debt-freedom are so freeing and can help your family to find fulfillment together both now and in the years to come. The alternative can be related to Pinocchio and Pleasure Island: it can sound tempting, even start off fun, but then it results in fear and chaos with a difficult path out. We encourage you to follow along, find your reason (your WHY!) to get out of debt and start your path towards debt freedom.
If you’re looking for more detail into our story and more importantly a step-by-step guide on how we used a gradual approach to find quick success in paying off our debt, we encourage you to check out our newly released book, The 2% Rule to Get Debt Free Fast: An Innovative Method To Pay Your Loans Off For Good. Plus, we offer a workbook that gives you all the forms and sheets we used to pay off our debt (some of our original forms were scribbled on scrap paper – your version will be much improved 🙂 ) to give you the exact tools we used ourselves.
We encourage you to sit back, talk with your family, and ask your own mindset towards your finances and debt.
Which path will you choose?
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