Are we addicted to being in debt? I think the answer to this question is a clear yes.

There seems to be more emphasis to go into debt than there is to save money and live a simple, frugal life.

We are taught at a fairly young age that being in debt is just a fact of life. We even have debt that we call “good debt”. This would be debt that people have when they go to university or maybe when they buy a house.

If you go tens of thousands into debt for your education and cannot find a decent paying job in your field after you graduate, is that really good debt? I personally do not think so.

How many graduates are out there with a degree but are working minimum wage jobs? Thousands. 

And even if students do no get student loans, parents will get a line of credit or put it on a credit card. We have 18 or 19 years to get ready for this event and a lot of us do not plan for it at all.

Now I realize that buying a house can be considered an “investment”. But only if it makes financial sense. Buy a house you can actually afford. But not too mayny people are doing this. First time home buyers are lining up to drop hundreds of thousands on huge dwellings. Are they aware that there will be property taxes, and regular maintenance tasks to be performed, not to mention ever increasing utility bills?

We are “sold” this dream of home ownership but how many people are ” house poor”? Just barely able to make their mortgage payments? They are indeed one or two missed paychecks away from financial ruin.

Despite this people are going out and using credit at breakneck speed.

 

  • The average American cardholder carries 3.5 credit cards.
  • The average American household carries over $15,799 in credit card debt.
  • The average U.S. household debt is 136 percent of household income, which means the typical American family owes more money than it makes in an entire year. 
  • The number of shopping centers in the U.S. surpassed the number of high schools back in 1987.
  • Women will spend more than eight years of their lives shopping.
  • The average size of the American home has more than doubled over the past 50 years. Still, one out of every 10 households in our country rents a storage unit to house their excess belongings.

 

So why do we do it?  Hell how do we do it? I think we <b>need</b> to do th89s to justify our empty, mundane, boring lives. We really don’t do much that has any meaning. We spend hours plopped in front of the television or computer and the only excitement we can derive from our existence is to shop. We have been led to believe that spending money that we do not have on useless gadgets and products will make us happy.

We know in hour heart of hearts that this is not the case but we are almost powerless to stop it.

Being addicted to being in debt also allows us to justify our mostly pointless jobs. Being in debt means we have to work.

So let me ask you, how meaningful is your work? Do you love it? Would you do it for no pay? Maybe you would and kudos to you if you have found your passion.

I think that there is a better way to live. When we come to realize that possessions do not equal happiness then we are on the path to freedom. Living a more simple life cannot be forced. It has to be born out of a genuine desire to live a life that has true meaning. 

It is so interesting how often you will read that when people embark on living a more minimalist lifestyle how much happier they are. They have more energy and more time to devote to pursuits that matter to them.

You are not your possessions. They do not define who you are. 

 

So the questions is: What will define you?

 

Please comment on this post and please share it. Thanks.

 

 

 

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5 thoughts on “Are We Addicted To Being In Debt?

  1. Mark,
    I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I’m one of those college grads with quite a bit of debt and currently unemployed (save for freelancing gig that pays pennies.)

    For a while I didn’t manage my money well. Spending frivolously, not saving. The gravity of my situation has forced me to analyze how I spend money. In turn, I am changing my way of thinking.

    I don’t need a lot of things. And I’d rather save money on travel or legitimate camera gear (not going gear crazy) than on whatever silly possessions can please me for just a moment.

    To your point, I do think we as a society are addicted to debt. Because debt means we have acquired me, even if in the long run we’ll have to incur some serious consequences.

    What do you think can be done about our need for stuff and things? What do you think can be done to show alternative way of living to people on a larger scale.

    Thanks for your blog,
    –C

  2. We are certainly in debt, but I can say that I don’t have any credit cards at all. DH has the credit debt, but recently that debt is from necessity items like food. I thought that not having cc’s would bother me, but I’m actually enjoying it…. Though I’ve got to say that I miss online transactions. What I love is the sense of freedom I have not personally being emotionally/mentally tied to debt.

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