Have you ever touched a hot stove? Before you touched it, your brain communicated general knowledge that it was hot. But after touching it your senses gave you specific knowledge that the hot stove burns. The same is true for debt. In general terms we know that it is bad but once we experience the worst of it we know that it burns and that it has the potential to leave a scar.

I don’t accept debt and I don’t believe that it has to be the story of our lives. Out of ignorance or immaturity we may have accepted it as the “normal” way of doing things.

But Thank God there comes a time when we grow-up and decide [make a choice] to put childish things away. This is my story and the fact that debt caught me off guard in the Recession of 2008. The amount of debt that we had seemed “normal” and manageable until it became too hot to handle. You never really consider that a time may come when you will have to make a decision to either pay your credit card payment or buy food and trust me, it’s not a hard decision to make.  Then the real fun begins–an outrageous late fee, an over-the-limit fee, the phone calls and personal questions from a newly hired phone collector who thinks they have insight into how they can help you find the money to send to them. It’s enough to make you ill. Seriously.

Debt is not only hot, it burns.

That’s mainly why I decided to move forward with this blog–to share my experience and to encourage others to free themselves from the casualness of debt.  The only time that debt is friendly is when it gets its way. Anything outside of that usually means a lost for its opponent.

7 Ways Debt will burn you:

1. The ability to maximize return from your Income.  Your income is the quickest way to build wealth. If all (or most of) your income is used solely to pay off debt, investing will be impossible or greatly hindered.

2. Debt robs you of the freedom to make certain decisions. Some people are talented enough to start new businesses, teach children in innovative and creative ways, or serve as missionaries local and abroad but because their debt load is so heavy, there is no way possible for them to leave their “day jobs” which gives them the ability to pay all of their debt to follow their dreams.

3. Debt can ruin relationships, especially marriages. Everyone knows that most marriages end or begrudgingly stay together due to debt and how it can overwhelm us so easily. When couples find it hard to formulate a plan to stop spending, save more and pay off debt, they find it easier to give up.

4. Debt can push you over the edge. Millions of people enter bankruptcy each year because they feel there is no hope for their finances. I have seen how stress causes ulcers, overeating, and even other addictions.

5. Debt can keep you from a home purchase. I have helped several people successfully purchase homes. There are however times when credit-worthy buyers could not obtain a mortgage approval because their debt load was too high. We developed the phrase “They are driving their house.” In other words, their car payment was the equivalent of a mortgage payment!

6. Debt can keep you from other financial goals. If the bulk of your monthly income immediately goes to creditors, how do you save money for other goals such as Christmas, vacations and traveling, retirement or future educational endeavors? Unfortunately too often people decide to finance those goals too!

7. Debt can ruin your reputation. In the midst of the financial meltdown, many creditors are opting to sue individuals who are not able or willing to repay their obligations. Often times this can lead to attorney’s fees, public notices such as judgments and/or garnishment of wages. This is beyond the problems of a tarnished credit rating but since I do not worship at the altar of the great FICO, as financial guru Dave Ramsey says, I’ll let you decide how important that is to you.

We can never enjoy the financial freedom that we deserve until we realize the real bondage that debt causes.

Proverbs 22:7