Back in my 12/11/09 blog article, I talked a little about debt, how it sometimes occurs and about my own debt, specifically. I mentioned that I started my consulting business after I invested all of my savings in a separate business venture. The consulting piece started off slow, and the business venture did likewise. I found myself borrowing money over the next year to keep my business (and myself) afloat…to the tune of some $70,000.00 dollars.
So I can talk to you today from my own experience with debt, from my experience watching my friends and family get into debt, and from my observations of how very few have been able to get out of debt.
Before I talk about getting into and out of debt, I will say I have only three more payments before that $70,000.00 debt will be eliminated. I will still have mortgage debt of around $130,000.00, but that’s it.
I live within my means, I pay off the credit cards as I get them, I save for the future and I put money away for vacation and holidays.
Debt starts and ends with our relationship with money. Money is energy. It might take the form of paper or coin, but you received that paper or coin in exchange for something you gave someone else.
Your relationship with money and how we respect it is going to determine how it flows in and out of your life.
It’s the same as with other relationships you have in your life; those with friends, family, work associates, etc. When you find a balanced, respectful way of working and living with others, life flows much easier around those people.
The same goes for money.
When you honor the money you have by staying in balance with what comes in and what goes out, there is balance. When you are able to stay out of the red, and you can save and invest in your future, it does bring some level of Freedom and Independence.
However, when you are out of balance, e.g., in debt, you will feel dependent and trapped, and you will experience all the anxiety that surrounds those feelings.
So how does it look to disrespect money? Let’s compare the relationship with people to the relationship with money.
A way to have a good relationship with others is to treat them with honesty and respect. And, for the most part, that is what you will get back. If you are dishonest and deceitful, you will not have a mutually beneficial relationship with others.
It’s the same is with money or, more to the point, the energy of money. When you live beyond your means, you are not being honest. We find ourselves wanting things we can’t afford, but some of realize that until we have saved enough to buy it, it just has to wait. This is being honest and respectful.
A dangerous place to go is to put something on a credit card and pay for it over time. That is debt, even if your plan is to pay it off within the next three months. This can be seen as avoiding the truth (that you can’t afford it right now) and hoping it works out and doesn’t come back to haunt you.
A disrespectful place to be in is to tell yourself: I’ll buy it now, even though I know I can’t afford it, and I will pay the minimum on the credit card and will worry about it later. This is just disrespectful and dishonest.
Let’s take a look at the three ways of handling money described above and see how they might look like when compared to a relationship with a friend.
A friend asks you if you want to go out on Friday night. But you already made plans with someone else. So you let them know you have plans and maybe ask to make plans for the future. That’s being honest and respectful.
Then another friend asks you out for the same night, but you just say, “No, I can’t go out with you tonight.” While you are telling them a partial truth, you are not telling the whole truth…you’re not sharing the real reason for not going out with them. You are omitting a very important part of the whole picture for whatever reason. You might think you have a good reason. Perhaps the two friends don’t like each other and you’re trying not to create awkward feelings. It is still omitting the truth and that is a dangerous place to put yourself in.
In the third scenario, your friend asks you out, but you tell them you’re not feeling well and you’re not going out. You say this because you don’t want the friend to know you’re going out with someone they don’t get along with. You know you lied, but you convinced yourself that it’s okay. This is dishonest and disrespectful. By continuing this behavior, you’re only hurting yourself and the others. Your co-dependence and enabling will only make the situation worst.
The debting and lying to friends will just continue to lead to dependence (your dependence on how others will perceive you and how important it is for you to look a certain way) and all the anxiety that follows all that manipulating and dishonesty it takes to live that lifestyle. There is no Freedom in living a lie.
As I mentioned earlier, this is about your relationship with money. If you do not have a loving relationship with yourself and Higher Self, then you will “think” you need things from outside to make you Whole.
You will even be convinced you have to do this or that for your mother, your kids, your passion, etc. But that might not be true.
Maybe your journey is to allow you to experience those very feelings of helplessness, insecurity and low self esteem, until you can get right with yourself and your Higher Self. We sometimes have to understand that our loved ones have a Higher Power and we’re not it.
There are plenty of books out there to help you live with a balanced budget. Find one that works for you. The one that worked for me was “How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt and Live Prosperously” by Jerrold Mundis. If you’re struggling with money and debt issues, it’s definitely worth a read.
Freedom and Independence is an inside job. I would love to hear your experiences of eliminating debt in your life. Please click on the comment link and share your story.