Is Living Debt-Free An Unreachable Goal?

Written by admin on March 31st, 2011

Many Westerners believe that living debt free is an unrealistic and unreachable goal these days. They live above their means and abuse credit like there is no tomorrow. Some think that it is OK since “everyone else is doing it”. Others underestimate the interest rates and don’t realize how much more they will owe in a few years if they buy on credit now.

One of the reasons why so many Americans are in debt is that they don’t understand it. According to a recent survey less than 36% of Americans were able to figure out how long it will take for the amount they owe to double. Amazingly, even people with college degrees were among those who couldn’t figure this simple task out.

The good news is – no matter how deeply in debt you are, living debt free IS possible. The not so good news is that if you want to live a debt-free life you have to do some dreaded math first.

Figuring out how much you owe is the most crucial step on your way to financial freedom. If you don’t know what your debt is, it will be impossible to come up with a good solid plan to eliminate it.

Take a notebook and a pen and write down exactly how much you owe to who and what the interest rates are. Then do some math and see how much you will owe 5 years from now if you continue making the same payments you are now (assuming that you are not going to take any more credit).

Many people are shocked to find out that even if they are not going to take a dime of credit, they are still gong to be very deep in debt and in some cases, even deeper.

How is this possible?

The problem is high interest rates and minimum payments (which many people think are OK). By making minimum payments you will need to pay much more than the required payment to pay off your loans.

Living debt-free is impossible if you don’t take your debt problem seriously. Making minimum payments is not enough and if you are really determined to pay off your debt fast, you need to focus on putting as much extra money a month as possible. The more extra money you put in, the less interest you will have to pay.

Another reason why so many Americans are in debt is self-discipline. The media makes us believe that in order to be happy we need a nice car, a big house and the newest iPhone. Most people can’t afford these things right away, so they reach for their credit cards or call lenders to borrow money.

Consumerism mentality is very dangerous. Shopping addiction is a serious problem for many Americans. People buy things which they don’t need because numerous ads make them believe that it will make them happy. While this can make them happy for a short period of time, in the long run it will get them in debt, which will create frustration, fear and long-term depression.

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