As I have looked at these Laws of Wealth for my own life I have found them to be refreshing and satisfying. But of all the laws I have shared with you up till now this one is the one that has clearly caused me the most trouble. The law is simple; “avoid debt; poor people pay interest while rich people earn it”.
I started out my life by focusing on the things so many young people do; I got a job, was going to school and wanted to get my first car. From the time I bought that car until many years later I was caught up in the web of debt. This web is woven in deceit and makes you feel like you are prospering when in reality you are not.
Let me share some history into this journey of mine and hopefully you can take a few nuggets of truth with you so as to not repeat these mistakes;
1) No responsible adult educated me about debt prior to me getting into it – my mother and father lived very simple lives and bought very few items on credit. They never owned a credit card and saved until they could afford to pay cash. When I was a teenager wanting my first car I had a job and could afford a note. Instead of talking to me about the pros and cons of debt they let me get in way over my head. My first car was through a loan shark who charged me over 20% interest even though I was not a bad credit risk. After 3 years of paying my car note and wanting to pay it off I found I still owed over 80% of the original sales price. Needless to say I was devastated.
2) No one ever told me credit was not cash – I was elated to get my first credit card and could not believe how easy it was to buy things. Then I kept getting more offers in the mail and just added to my growing credit card collection. Now, there is nothing wrong with credit cards. But if you max them out and then just move on to the next one, you are not growing financially. Then I was only making minimum payments on 10 credit cards and they were all maxed to the limit. Sad thing is, I used them mainly for stuff I didn’t need and hardly ever used.
3) No one ever told me cash is always king – I felt that as long as I had credit, I was better than the guy with cash. It wasn’t until I started missing out on opportunities because I was “overextended” did it begin to dawn on me; I had too much debt. Cash never worries about being overextended.
4) It takes much longer to come out from under financial burdens than to get into them- years. I am talking years to pay off debt, straighten out your credit, increase your credit score. It takes discipline, hard work and a refusal to be a slave to debt any longer.