- Personal Finance
The Burden of Debt
More Than Just A Financial Toll
Monetary debt is so much more than just a gap in your finances. Having debt causes stress to your mental, emotional, and physical health. You may think that just because you have "control" of your debt, you may be exempt from these ailments, but unfortunately that isn't the case. Being indebted to someone or something brings about a constant feeling of anxiety, which can be more or less apparent depending on how deep in the hole you really are. When you are anxious, even just a little anxious, your body responds as it normally does during stress. Your adrenal glands start producing adrenaline and your body goes into "overclock" mode, where it is essentially exerting more energy than it needs to in anticipation of a strenuous event.
Debt also heavily affects your emotional health. For this reason, the financial wizard known as Dave Ramsey advises that you never loan money to, or take a loan from your family or friends. When you owe money to someone you love, they are no longer a loved one, they are a creditor. Every time you see them you will feel that slight guilt and anxiety that come associated with being in someone's debt. And if you ever forget to make a payment, they are forced to play the role that you fear so much, and your relationship will never be the same. As I said earlier, even if you have control of your debt and are current on your payments, you won't be free of the subliminal emotional burden (you know, the one that keeps you praying everyday that you don't lose your job) until the debt has been re-payed or forgiven.
Needless to say, your mental health also takes a hit under debt. Owing money to anything makes your priorities in life shift. You need to miss your daughter's recital so you can work overtime to make the mortgage for the month. Or maybe you can't afford to get your kid braces this year because you might lose the car if you do. That is the problem with building your life and your family in something that isn't really yours, and won't be for about 30 years. So what can you do? Our society these days is built in, around, and on top of debt. It is almost impossible (emphasis on the almost) to aspire to be a contributing and integral member of society without going into debt at some point in your life. This is not a license to spend though, there are two things you always need to remember before making the decision to go into debt.
1.) Go into debt only when needed. Cars, big screens, boats, purses, shoes, and other misc. "toys" are things that should always be saved up for. There is no need to compromise your long-term mental and physical health for something that might only give you a few fun weekends.
2.) Get in and get out as fast as possible. Minimum payments are just a suggestion, and a crappy one at that. Debtors and creditors are more than happy to reduce your minimum payments and extend your term to keep you in debt for as long as possible, that way your account accrues more interest which is how they make money! When you are in debt, your face might as well be on fire! Pay more than the minimum, get out as soon as you possibly can!
If you are in debt right now, make your new first priority to get out of it! A debt free lifestyle is the most wonderful thing in the world, you will learn to find new appreciation for things you never new existed. The sky will seem blue-er, the starts will seem brighter, and the sun will be warmer. Davey Ramsey has spent the majority of his life helping people get out of debt and take their lives to a whole new level. He has been through it all, he's had wealth, lost it all, and found his way back to financial freedom. His advice is honest, upfront, and legitimate. You can check out his website here. Good luck to you!