Whatever the banks or financial advisors tell you regarding accumulating debts, consumer debt has never been your friend. In fact, I would go as far as saying that personal debt is your mortal enemy that threatens to suck the happiness out of your life.
In our culture of instant gratification, it’s easy to overspend and indulge yourself in excessive spending on unnecessary goods. If we stick to buying what we only need, the earth would be less polluted, our bank accounts much healthier, and our stress levels won’t go over the roof the moment unexpected expense happens.
If you have no cash to indulge yourself in vanity spending, store cards, credit cards or personal loans (I know people who took personal loans to send their kids to a private school!!!) come to the rescue and are as easily accessible as the online shopping. It’s easy to buy on credit; all you need is to sign on the dotted line, and all that you cannot afford, may become yours to treasure.
However, as with everything in life, sooner or later you will have to pay all that borrowed money back; and if you only pay the monthly minimum on your credit cards or your loans, it will take you a long time to pay the banks back.
Not having monthly credit cards’ or personal loans’ payments coming out of your account gives you an incredible feeling of empowerment and opens doors and possibilities that life should be full of.
However, if every month the large portion of your earnings goes towards settling your debts, your spending power not only diminishes over time but also your saving power evaporates in front of your eyes. The ration of your savings and investments depends on how fast you want to be able to retire, move on to jobs that you truly love doing, travel the world, or move to a country you always dreamed of living in.
Ever since I became an adult, “good friends”, banks and financial advisors tried to convince me that good debt (the ones you pay back regularly) are good for my credit score. I cannot argue with that. And I won’t. But what if your spending isn’t within the limits of what you can afford? What if each month you rely on credit cards to pay for your living expenses because your daily living costs are so high? What if you lose your income and the governmental help you get goes straight into paying off your debts, leaving you with close to nothing to live off?
Of course, none of us ever thinks or believes that this bleak scenario could ever happen to us. Unfortunately, the current pandemic has proven that everything and anything is possible and the so-called “good debt” can be nothing more than a massive stone dragging individuals, families and countries down.
I hear and read stories from people with pre-COVID comfortable lifestyles, holidays, cars and middle-class spending habits, who find themselves in line to a food bank every week because they have no savings to fall back on, nor investments to carry them through hard times. Instead, they have lots of flashy gadgets, cars on credit and store cards to pay off. In not so rare cases, when people lose their jobs, have none or very limited savings and cannot find any work for an extended period, paying back the banks the money they don’t have creates a pressure hardly anyone is mentally equipped to deal with.
When the times are good, and money is flowing, that’s when you should save, not stupidly spend. Every item you buy, for which you cannot pay for at the time, will need to be paid for in the future. When you have steady and regular income it isn’t a problem but what if that income stops. As a responsible adult, you need to be prepared (something children should be taught at school) for the time when the financial or personal difficulties arise. Unfortunately, easy access to “free money” doesn’t teach people how to save, but instead adds anxiety and misery to people’s lives.
However you look at debts, however many opinions and advice you listen to, the bottom line is that carrying personal debt is toxic and can destroy your relatives’ lives. Shop responsibly, buy only what you need; the social statute doesn’t depend on what car you drive or how many new outfits you wore over the summer (Instagram life isn’t real!!!).
Debt kills happiness and happiness is what we all strive to achieve. Debt takes away the joy of living. Life is too short, don’t waste it on paying off your debts. If you struggle controlling your debts or your spending, I would suggest you look for governmental advice, citizen’s advice and charities that could help you understand your spending and make you see what the debt really is.