27 October 2010

Another Reason to Pay Off Debt

In his most recent blog post Steve Stewart over at MoneyPlanSOS asks, "Is there a reason to pay off debt?" Then he answers his question with with some responses that he has heard:

Admit it, we all know that debt is bad.  For those who don’t mind carrying balances on credit cards or believe student loans are “good debt” know that it would probably be a good thing to pay it off.  For some, paying it ALL off has become a priority – but why?  Paying off debt is a pain in the butt, so there has to be REASON.  A couple with $112,000 in debt asked during our first session “Are we going to be miserable in order for this to work?”, I replied “Aren’t you already miserable?” 
I have never heard anyone say they wanted to pay off debt because it was the right thing to do.  Here is a short list for some reasons I have heard:
  1. Reduce Stress / Save Marriage
  2. Save for retirement
  3. Save for kid’s education
  4. Save for daughter’s wedding
  5. Start a small business
  6. Buy a hobby farm
  7. Buy a second home
PS – Notice that Reason #1 is the ONLY one you can’t pay for, but it does have a cost.  
What is your reason?  What would you do in order to WIN with money?  What is holding you back?  Think about your answer carefully, make sure it is a reason and not an excuse.
Those reasons listed are certainly good and salutary, but allow me to add a reason, this one more philosophical, if you will, and one that largely explains why "we all know that debt is bad." This reason actually comes from God Himself in Holy Writ and adds more weight to the dilemma of debt, showing why it's more than just a bad idea or an inconvenience or just a "pain in the butt." This reason just might help people to articulate that they want to pay off debt because it's "the right thing to do."

The "right" reason, among so many other good reasons, to pay off debt is this. Proverbs 22:7 says, "The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is slave of the lender." (Thanks, Dave Ramsey, for pointing this one out!) Why pay off debt? To be free from the slavery of the lender--free indeed from ever-fluctuating interest rates and costly fees, but especially free from being obligated to send my money to other people who have other purposes and designs for it.

As a recovering "debt-aholic" I can tell you that the simple liberty of being completely "debt-free" is quite refreshing and so relaxing (Can you say cut back on the stress big time?). Now my wife and I can manage the money that God gives us both for His glory and for the benefit of our neighbors.

Sorry, lender-task-masters, you don't dictate how my money gets used anymore! And now I'm free to plan for some of those other reasons listed.

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