The Real Reason to Get Out of Debt
[Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally posted on Melissa the Coach’s blog at www.gochangethat.com on July 7, 2015.]
After paying off $56,000 in debt and becoming debt free, the one question I get asked most is “Why did you decide to become debt free?” Often the people asking me the question are those that can’t imagine being debt free – that they will always have a car payment and student loans and credit cards. They believe debt is just a way of life in the modern age and that you can’t avoid life without being in debt.
So why did I choose to get out of debt and stay out of debt?
Options. Lots and lots of options.
You see, when all of your income is being claimed by a car payment or a student loan, it puts limits the amount of dreaming your mind can produce. You can’t see past the monthly bills and your world begins to become very small. The goals and dreams you have for your future start to fade away and you begin to settle for a life that you traded away for things that you thought you needed in the moment.
So what does life without debt look like for me?
In January, I was presented with the opportunity for a job that would be life changing and career-pivoting. The position would move me into a training role after spending fifteen years in accounting and finance roles but it would still be related to that industry. It was the perfect blend of my skill set in a progressive work environment that was tailored to my work style.
The catch? The job was located in San Francisco, easily one of the most expensive US cities to live in. With rents for a decent studio apartment in and around the city starting at $2,000, budgeting every last dollar would be key to determining if the move – and living in San Francisco – would be feasible (It was but it would be a tight existence). And while I chose not to take the opportunity, I would have never been able to even consider it if I still had debt payments (Note: I would have been debt free before I moved).
So if you feel buried by debt and feel like the dreams you once had are fading away, now is the time to take action. Make a declaration that you are not going to allow debt to master your dreams. Devise a plan to start paying debt off by creating a budget and telling your money where to go. And one day when, you are debt free, you will look up and realize that you have started dreaming again and that you have regained the most precious gift being debt free can offer.