What’s so great about being debt free? Would you believe that someone actually asked me that question? “Flabbergasted” wasn’t a strong enough word for me at that moment! As a matter of fact, I was so taken aback by the question that it stumped me for a minute, and made me step back and think — what IS so great about being debt free?
I understand the premise of the question and it WAS asked honestly. For someone brought up in a consumer culture, debt was a means of remaining a consumer, of keeping up with the Joneses, and having it all, now. Debt under those circumstances, is just means to an end and for too many consumers, the end (having stuff) justifies the means (debt).
For the record, I’m not 100% debt free just yet – I still have a mortgage and one small student loan to pay off. But, I don’t believe all debt is bad. Mortgage debt, student loan debt, and business loan debt can all help you better yourself by living in a nicer home, increasing your job possibilities, and getting a business off the ground. Though you want to get those types of debts paid as soon as possible, they aren’t like the life-sucking, income-draining, never-ending-pain-in-the-neck that high interest consumer debt is. That stuff is poison and you want to get it paid off quickly.
What’s so great about being debt free? Here’s a hint — it has the word “free.” (Read my book review of Debt Is Slavery)
Being debt free means:
- My take-home pay … actually IS take-home pay.
- I don’t pre-spend money I haven’t earned.
- I can answer the phone without worrying it’s a debt collector.
- I can pay for Christmas without fear that I’ll still be paying for it next year.
- Being prepared for a job layoff … or a job loss.
- Being able to confidently invest.
- I never worry about having my car get repossessed.
- Having a strong emergency fund.
- Knowing I can handle most financial problems.
- Watching my savings account balance increase with each statement.
- Knowing that my credit score makes creditors want my business.
- Three words: “Paid In Full.” Ahhh.
- Knowing where my money is going.
- Being able to negotiate better deals because I pay cash!
- Being able to shop around since I’m not limited to buying from the only company willing to offer me credit.
- Setting an example for my kids.
- Knowing my checks will never bounce.
- Peaceful sleep.
- Never having to visit a pawn shop so I can put gas in my car (true story).
- Being able to replace things I need without worrying about the credit charges.
- Knowing that retirement will be a reality, not just a pipe dream.
- No more late fees!
- I’ll never be upside down on a car, or a computer, or anything else.
- Buying what I want without worrying about how I’ll pay for it later.
- Never having to use one credit card to pay on another.
- The tax man doesn’t scare me.
- That nice (but expansive) dinner won’t give me heartburn from the interest.
- I have money left over each month to help my kids while they’re in college.
- The things I own DON’T own me.
- Money isn’t the foremost thing on my mind all the time.
I’m sure there are many more advantages but these quickly come to my mind. What about you?
What do YOU think is the best thing about being debt free – either now or one day in the future?