I loathe debt. In fact, I hate debt so much that I’ve committed myself to paying off $14,000 of it within 7 months. In two months, I’ll be debt free and honestly, I plan to remain that way for the rest of my life. If there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout the past five months of debt repayment, it’s that I can’t stand debt. I don’t dislike it or disapprove of it—I hate it.
I hate it so much that I’ve made countless sacrifices to get rid of it as soon as possible. I sold my car, started biking to work, stopped eating out and funneled half of my income towards my loans. The results have been pretty spectacular.
Of course, there’s the obvious success of becoming debt free, but even beyond that, I’ve learned so much. I’ve learned that I don’t need a huge apartment to be content. Instead, all I need is a safe neighborhood, clean interior and good company. Similarly, I don’t need to buy experiences in order to entertain myself when there is free hiking, walks through museums and summer beach days. But above all, I’ve learned that my hatred of debt is entirely justified.
When you’re in debt, your money is not your own. It belongs to a bank, a credit card company or the government. But you probably didn’t realize that your mental energy isn’t your own either. When you’re in debt and owe money, you’re constantly stressed and plotting how you’re going to pay. There’s an entire line in your budget dedicated to your debt, but importantly, there’s an entire part of your brain dedicated to it as well. The first of many reasons to hate debt.
2) True Freedom is Impossible
Debt robs you of choices. No matter what frugal decisions you make or sacrifices you commit to, your debt will always haunt you. Extended travel becomes a pipe dream because your bills must be paid. The ability to quit a soul-sucking job suddenly becomes impossible when you look at the mountain of debt you have to pay off each month. I absolutely hate debt. True freedom is the ability to walk away from any situation that no longer serves you, and debt robs you of that choice.
3) Relationship Stress
When you’re stressed, your relationships suffer and nothing is more stressful than a cash flow problem. Whether it’s with your partner, your friends or your immediate family, debt (and the accompanying stress) negatively affects your relationships. Do you hate debt because of the stress it brings? I sure do!
4) Retirement is Ignored
When you’re in debt, retirement feels like a pipe dream. Debt is all you can think about and the thought of making an additional payment each month to a retirement account (even if it is a payment you know you should make!) begins to feel impossible. As a result, your retirement accounts suffer and your future does as well.
5) Spending Guilt
Whether or not you chose to consciously acknowledge your debt as problem, a part of you will always feel stressed about the money you owe. More often than not, that stress will manifest in spending guilt. Whether you’re buying a new pair of socks because yours have holes or a gift for a friend, the guilt from your loans will haunt you, even if it’s only in the back of your mind. After time, it will begin to take a toll on your mental health.
6) Postponed Dreams
Debt is the biggest dream crusher. Whether you’ve dreamed of living as a nomad for a year, starting your own company or marrying the love of your life, debt ensures that all of your dreams stay on hold. With the burden of debt, it’s impossible to relentlessly chase your dreams. I hate debt because it’s causing me to postpone my life.
More often than not, debt is accompanied by shame. Whether you’re embarrassed to tell your friends about the money you owe or feel like a disappointment to your parents, the shame that comes from debt can be debilitating.
Instead of enjoying the present moment and simultaneously pursuing the future of your dreams, debt forces you to live in the past. You should hate debt because you are literally paying for past choices. Regardless of how you feel about the choices you made, the truth is that debt ensures that you look backwards instead of forwards.
9) Everyday Things Become Difficult
When you’re in debt, life is harder. Going to the movies with friends becomes an ordeal because you’re not sure if you have enough money in your account to pay for a ticket. Grocery shopping is a stressful endeavor because you need to spend as little as possible. Simple things stop being simple when you’re in debt.
10) Society Thinks Debt is Normal
The worst part of debt (and why I hate debt most of all) is that society thinks debt is normal. From outrageous student loan balances to $800,000 houses, debt and all the negative side effects that accompany it are considered the norm. Luckily, there’s another way: becoming debt-free. Freedom and adventure awaits.
This post was written by Taylor Milam, from The Freedom From Money.
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.