After being in debt for some time you find yourself struggling to remember what it feels like to not owe anyone. Unless you have been deep in debt, it is hard to describe the feeling to others. At times it feels like a tractor is parked on your chest, and other times it feels like two tractors are parked on your chest.
The best way I can sum it up is to say that being in debt sucks. Sorry, I know that’s a bit crude, but when it comes to debt all rules of verbal civility must be tossed. Without further apologies, here’s my list of reasons why being in debt sucks.
1. Debt limits your opportunities. How would you like to pick up and move across the country, or maybe just closer to relatives, or to the beach, or to the mountains? Perhaps you would like to make a career change, go back to school, or take that international assignment for a couple years. Forget about it. You are in debt.
2. Debt forces you to put up with more crap. Debt forces us to put up with bad jobs, poor living conditions, broken down cars, and cubicle creeps with headsets, also know as debt collectors.
3. Debt is the first thing you think about each morning. Seriously, you know you are in trouble when you hit the alarm clock at 5:30 in the morning and think, “Hey, that’s the same amount as my car payment – $530. And I have no idea how I’m going to pay it this month!”
4. Debt is the last thing you think about each night. Money problems is a leading cause of insomnia. Instead of drifting off to sleep counting sheep you lie there counting the months until you will be debt free. You obsess over it. You worry over it. And the reality that you can do little to get rid of it right away leaves a feeling of helplessness that is truly depressing.
5. Debt eats away at future earnings. For every dollar you pay in interest on debt it is a dollar that could have been spent on something else, and a dollar taken away from your earnings. It’s like a little debt monster snatching $100 from each paycheck and depositing it in their bank, laughing all the way!
6. Debt makes you desperate. There is a reason people applying for positions with financial authority are scrutinized more carefully. Of those who commit financial crimes, it is not unusual to find out they were deep in debt. It has a way of challenging your morals for the promise of freedom.
7. Debt affects your entire family. Kids may not fully understand the financial ramifications of debt, but they recognize Mom and Dad sure fight about that “d” word a lot. They don’t know what debt is, but from listening to you they think they’ll always be in it, and being in it must be bad.
8. Debt is a lousy employer. When you are in debt, and over half of your income is going towards repaying that debt, you might as well consider yourself working for the debt. And debt is a lousy employer!
9. Debt plays by its own set of rules. Don’t believe me? Try carrying a large balance on a credit card. One month your statement reflects an APR of 6%, the next 29%. What did you do to deserve it? You just appeared risky to their scoring model.
10. Debt makes even the sweetest life events taste sour. Getting married, buying a house, and having a baby should all represent some of the highlights of your life. But if you are deep in debt, these event only provide temporary relief. Until the bills arrive, that is.
If you find yourself deep in debt, you’ve probably experienced some or all of these feelings. I hope you are working to get out of debt. If you are not in debt, or have never been in debt, consider this ten reasons to never go into debt. Trust me; it sucks.