Thursday, March 06, 2008

In Debt, Taking Inventory

There is an abundance of information and resources today to help one get out of debt, not that they are all good options, but nevertheless, asking "How to get out" is easily answered. Plans are drawn up. Systems are created. Actions are taken. Hope seems to strengthen. But obstacles, or as my employer likes to correct me with, opportunities arise that help you improve your skills in matching your talk with your walk. When times are tough taking on more debt just to get through seems viable. In order to avoid more debt I need to know my deeper motivation. In order to persevere I like to ask why.

Why My Family Got In Debt

It's all my fault. It has happened over the years. At times big chunks of debt but mostly it happened with each slow leak freezing itself to the ice block of our enlarging debt balance. I was the one that made all the final decisions to live with a leaking faucet. My wife is very thrifty and on her own would turn to debt as the only last option. I can't ever remember her saying "Oh, let's just charge it."

I allowed my family to go further into debt by first and foremost believing promises which are really only lies. On the surface I knew I was placing more burden on my family but I never slowed down enough to sincerely consider the extreme long-term shadow of limitations debt would cast years in to the future.

The promises of a good life offer some truth strong enough to veil the profound lies of debt slavery. For example, debt is a tool and can be used effectively to build a good life. In personal finance, this truth is very thin and the promise is not global enough in scope, thus it should, I think now, only be applied to certain contexts (i.e. a mortgage) Also, the idea that debt is paid off as planned is absurd. Loans come with an end date, when it all must be paid back, everything is disclosed. For most, I think this creates a false sense of pride and believability that one will actually pay off the entire amount as planned and then be free of the burden. What I think is more realistic is debts are just rolled around from bank to bank, never decreasing but only increasing. If people are responsible enough to pay as planned then I guess I need to re-interpret the stats I presented yesterday?

I got into debt because I believed lies, which at first glance appeared as promises.

Why We Want To Get Out Of Debt As Fast As Possible

I am still working on this list but here's a few reasons:

  1. My family will be relationally stronger.
  2. Resources are tied up and unavailable for much greater purposes. Sometimes the guilt is overwhelming.
  3. I want to live in reality. Debt seems to evoke denial.


Carla Stream said...

I started crying when you wrote it's all your fault. A lot of emotion has been tied up in our finances for a long time. It's going to be ok.

erin said...

Good post.
Thanks, Pat.