I was going to say something about how I agree and how debt is bad and blah, blah, but something really bugs me about everyone’s comments.
Debt is the new fat. It’s just one more thing to be ashamed about and carry guilt about., and for other people to be pious about and to lord over other people about.
I have a ton of student loan debt (no credit card debt), but I spent seven months living and teaching English in France. Maybe I should have stayed behind earning a bigger paycheck working to pay my debt. But I’d been working real jobs for three years and the debt was still there, and I was still struggling to get by, and I wasn’t going on vacations or anything, and the debt could possibly be with me until I’m 40 if I do all the “right” things and by then I’d be too old to participate in the program!
I have a friend who now has as much student loan debt as I do (she got her MBA) and a mortgage and a husband and right now she’s miserable. She’s spent her entire life post-college, and doing everything “right” and while she’s probably in better financial shape than I am she’s infinitely more trapped. Not just because of the debt, but because of the mindset that comes with thinking that finances can dictate her life instead of the other way around. Your life dictates your finances. If you want something badly enough you can find a way to afford it that doesn’t involve getting into hock up to your ears.
We’re not taught that.
I think careless consumer debt is dangerous mostly because it stops people from living the lives that they really want to lead. But I think the opposite is true too. there’s such a thing as being too cautious too. Of waiting to do everything “the right way” and ending up dying and not having done anything.
Money is not an end in and of itself, it’s a means to an end.
Excellent comment about debt
Ramit Sethi · July 19th, 2007
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