It's the year 2045. You just turned 65 this year. It's 6:45am on a cold blustery January morning in Detroit, and you wake up to the radio alarm clock before having to head off to the factory. The radio announcer says the economic situation isn't good, and that Social Security won't be able to pay retirees by the end of the year because it is bankrupt. You are forced to go to work, because you only have $10,000 in your retirement savings and you have a mountain of debt. Your car out front of your apartment is leased, and your three credit cards have an average balance of $7,500. Last week you needed to take a paycheck advance from one of those strip mall shops that charge 29% interest. You needed the advance to pay for a new refrigerator that went out, because you didn't have an emergency fund. Your kids are frustrated with you, because you owe them $15,000 and your oldest son hasn't talked to you in over a year.
You walk to the bathroom for your morning shower and your hands and feet ache from 30 years of working on the factory floor. You look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, “Why do I still have to go to work?”. You realize at that point that you are a slave. A slave to your debts. The debts were all your choices of the past that make you go to work today. You are shackled by your debts. All your buddies have moved away and retired in Boca Raton or Flagstaff. “How did I get to this place?” you ask.
Yesterday, Aaron wrote on envisioning leaving a debt free legacy and the motivation he had to become debt free. I on the other hand laid out a totally different picture and a life that is burdened by debt. Early on growing up on the farm I saw a lot of heartache and sadness because of the choices people made concerning debt. I remember in the early 80's people losing their family farm due to high interest rates, and being forced into another career at 50 years old. My Grandpa continually spoke to me about the depression and how people lost their farms too, and the pain it brought to many families. I knew from those examples and talks that I never wanted that to be me. Here are few points for thought that might help you.
“…the borrower is a slave to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7)
Thoughts – your thoughts of debt direct your action and your future. If you think debt is good and enjoy purchasing things on credit, then your actions will reflect this. Consequently, you'll future will be covered in credit card debt, low savings, and working well into the sunset of your life.
Actions – your actions are a direct physical result of your thoughts played out. If you want to correct your actions, then you have to get at the core of the problem first. Your thoughts. Change your thoughts and beliefs and it will affect your actions.
Future outcome – start today! Your future is determined by the actions of your past. If you are determined to be debt free, and your actions reflect that then your future will be proof.
Set goals – set obtainable goals of getting out of debt and post them somewhere you see them frequently. This will be a good reminder while you are eating mac & cheese and tuna for dinner.