Here’s an interesting question for you. Would you sell all of your material possessions to become debt free (excluding things like family heirlooms, pictures, etc. that could not one day be replaced)? If someone knocked on your door today and said, “I’ll write a check for you to be debt free in exchange for every piece of furniture, all of your clothing, electronics, etc,” could you do it? And then ask yourself, what could I sell of enough value to pay off debts?
I know it is a crazy idea, but it is something my wife and I were discussing the other day as we begin the long and painful journey of cleaning out some of our clutter, putting away Christmas decorations and beginning to think long term about how to downsize to a smaller home. I told my wife at some point that I wish we could simply “start over; with a clean slate,” and that I would be willing to give away just about everything we’ve ever bought to get there. She agreed, to a point.
For those of you like us still clawing your way towards debt freedom, imagine how it would feel to be debt free before your went to sleep tonight? Feel lighter? Sure, you would be sleeping on the floor, or on an old mattress, but you wouldn’t owe anyone a dime. Tomorrow you could venture out and buy a small bed with cash, and maybe a card table and a few pots and pans to cook. With your next paycheck you could pick up a used sofa, and maybe a small television. You would literally be starting again from scratch.
Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to go back and get a “do-over” when it comes to wiping away debt (excluding options such as bankruptcy). The goodies we bought years ago on credit are no where near the amount we paid for them thanks to depreciation, so even if we sold everything we ever bought on credit cards we likely could not get back to zero.
However, many of you do have large assets that you could sell and be debt free. To you I ask, have you ever considered selling that boat, or that paid-for car, or that vacation home, and walking away debt free? What’s stopping you? Many would point to low-interest loans used to acquire things, and point out that they get enjoyment from such items and would miss them. I get that. But for me the idea of becoming debt free overrides any attachment to things.
So, to answer my own question, yes, I could sell everything to become debt free. I would start over paying cash for everything I purchased, the way it ought to be done. We would search yard sales and Craigslist for used appliances, furniture, etc. and simply “make do” until we could slowly upgrade our stuff. Before the days of credit cards, this is how people accumulated things. But somewhere along the way we all got sold on the idea that we can have everything we want now. And so we’ve traded debt freedom for stuff.
Interested to hear your feedback on this question: Would you sell all material possessions for debt freedom?