Borrowing money is a very socially acceptable thing to do these days it seems. In my circle of friends, family and colleagues, people congratulate you for saying things like these:
- “I just bought a house with a 30 year mortgage where the payment is less than I was paying in rent.”
- “I just financed a brand new 2012 Nissan Altima, Honda Accord, Mazda 4 or Hyndia Sonata at a 0% interest.”
- “I just opened a Kohl’s credit card and saved $30 and got access to all kinds of future deals and promotions.”
I have to ask, “What’s so good about being able to borrow money to buy things?” Based on my experience with debt, I want to congratulate those who don’t borrow money to buy things they can’t afford. It’s so much better for them and it’s actually something to be happy for them about.
Why Is Borrowing Money the Social Norm?
I’m not a research reporter so I’m not going to look up exact stats on this topic, but I do know that consumer borrowing has increased throughout the recent century. If you’re around my age, think about your parents and grand parents. What was life like for them when they were in their twenties and thirties? Was borrowing money as common as it is today? I bet it was more common with your parents than it was with your grandparents. I bet it’s more common with you than it was with your parents. That’s certainly the case for me.
Today, the thought of not having credit cards is absurd to people. “If you don’t have credit cards, you don’t have a good credit score”, or so people say. “If you don’t have a good credit score, you will never be able to buy a house or get reasonably cheap insurance. Buying a car just can’t be done with cash. It would take years to save for one.” These are the words all the people I know say. Why is this the common mindset among young adults these days?
I think it’s because everyone overspends. Everyone tries to keep up with each other. Today, college students and twenty somethings are driving nicer cars than their parents, going to top of the line colleges and universities and living in the nicest places in town, while all the older people are living within their means and driving used paid-for cars. Young people these days are getting spoiled way too early and are expecting that they will always be able to live upper middle class lifestyles, no matter how horrible their financial situation is. No matter how much debt you have, no matter how little income you make and no matter how terrible your work ethic is, you will always live an upper-middle class lifestyle. I think that’s the expectation people have these days. It’s out of control in my opinion.
What’s So Bad About Borrowing Money?
I can tell you exactly where an upper middle class lifestyle will get you when you have little income and a big pile of debt. It will get you, and keep you, in a state of absolute reliance on someone else. You will either be a slave to your employer, to the government or to other people who support you. With this kind of lifestyle, you will be living paycheck to paycheck and at the mercy of those people who are keeping you afloat. It’s a state of slavery really, where you’re slave to the lender, just like Proverbs 22:7 says.
Think about going to work each day to a job that you hate. It’s not a far stretch to relate with that huh? Well, when you borrow money and live paycheck to paycheck, you have no choice but to go in every day. If you don’t, you’ll lose your source of income that is keeping you afloat. Think about having to live with your parents, your boyfriend/girlfriend or your annoying roommates because there’s no way you can afford to live on your own due to all the debt payments you have every month. Debt holds you in a place of financial dependency on others. If you ever want to become independent from other people, you need to stop borrowing money. It will only keep you in a state of slavery.
How Do I Think I Can Pull Off No More Debt?
Having gotten myself out of the debt I had, I have confidence in my ability to save up lump sums of money quickly. Of course, I’m blessed with a good income and that may not always be the case, but I do realize the good situation I’m in right now and am taking advantage of it. Knowing that I can save money if I put my mind to it, I’ve gained the confidence in myself to believe that I can save money in advance to buy anything that I could possibly use a credit card for. Therefore, I believe I could do without my credit cards and will never NEED them again in my life. Due to that, I stopped using them.
The next concern most people have are cars. I successfully paid my $20,000 car off within two and a half years. If I can do that, I know I can save cash for my next car and every car I’ll ever buy again. I’ve decided that I won’t ever take out another car loan to buy a car. If I have to, I’ll buy a beater to get me by until I can save more.
All that’s really left after regular consumer purchases and cars are homes. That’s the only purchase where I contemplate ever using debt for in the future. I know, homes are incredibly expensive and most people take upwards of 30 years paying for their homes. Thirty years? I’ll be almost 60 in 30 years. You’ve got to be kidding me that I’m going to borrow money and take that long to pay it off. With my past of hating debt along with my present of having confidence in my ability to save, I strongly believe that I don’t need debt to buy a home either.
Do I think I can save up the entire purchase price of a home in advance? Yes, actually, I do. Am I nuts? I don’t think I am. I just think I hate debt that much that I don’t even want to use it to buy a house. I can’t imagine being in debt for even one more year, let alone 30. I know, I could pay it off early, but I don’t want that kind of stress. Having a mortgage to me means:
- I’m dependent on my employer because if he lets me go, I may lose my home
- A lot of my monthly income is tied up every month in mortgage payments
- I have years of payments left and therefore years of being dependent on others to keep my house
Yuck. I don’t want that. I’m actually going to pursue doing the rest of my life without debt. I don’t want a mortgage.
Many People May Not Think They Can Do It, But I Think I Can
In case you don’t think I can do it either, here’s a little insight:
- I’ve only been debt free for a year and a half
- In that time, I’ve saved a fully funded emergency fund of 6 months of living expenses
- On top of my emergency fund, I’ve saved 25% of a potential home’s cost
Yes, I’ve been VERY blessed, but that’s all just in a year and a half. Not realistic, huh?