...Like most of Us; I have goals for the New Year and New Decade that has now approached its 24th day. We loom over Goals of Elevation in the workplace, Entrepreneurship, Great Health, Wealth, Travel, Legacy, Retirement, Love etc. However, as important as all these things are, I began to wonder if my pursuit of becoming debt free ranked high on anyone else's list besides my own? I know how much debt I have down to the dollar (give or take a few because of interest). I tallied up everything because I once heard someone say "if GOD, sent someone to get you out of debt would you know how debt you owe"? So, Yes I do, because that blessing may come at any moment! Overtime I have also listened to several sermons and seminars about debt. A couple key fundamentals I hear repeated are: How important it is to not owe from a standpoint Biblically, and more over from a point of INTEGRITY. My Grandma Tucker (R.I.P) used to always say to me "don't become be a slave". With all my sass I would reply back "I ain't gone be nobody's slave" ... Welp. Guess What? Here a slave, there a slave, everywhere a slave. When we owe, we become slaves. If I work everyday to pay debt to things I owe; I am slaved out. If you work to pay debts to things that you owe... you are as well! And Nah... Massa ain't whipping you. However, waking up to that alarm clock, to go to a job that possibly doesn't fulfill your purpose... It WILL. While losing precious moments working overtime to compensate for over budgeting... THIS is Insane! How do we become so encroached in this? Obtaining Credit Cards, Cars, Clothes, Lavish Homes, Student Debit (which is a whole other issue), Medical Bills, and Personal Loans (People We Owe). The crazy part is we know what we are getting ourselves into before the contract is signed or the agreement is ever made. We know rather or not we can actually afford to pay it off immediately. We know rather or not it stretches our monthly bring home pay, or if it will flip our debt to credit ratio upside down. Nonetheless, if by some chance, we don't know the answer to these statements before making the agreement WE shouldn't sign on the dotted line. Let's also talk about the people we personally know that we owe. It's bad enough to have creditors harassing us for their money. What About Your Friends and Family? If, We have borrowed from those that are close to us, We should feel a moral obligation to repay them as well. This attitude of "they'll get it when I got it" is foolish and unwise. If, you needed money just ask for it, but never say you want to borrow with the intent to never return it. The return should be in a timely fashion as well. The idea of leaving someone we care about hanging corrupts the relationship. It also reflects on the character of the borrower. People we care about shouldn't have to wait in anguish for a commitment that we made with them. Personally it's more about the promise... however run me my money too! TAHEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Okay. So back on track! The vision to being debt free has to be as clear as a plan to begin a business. A strategic process that itemizes what we spend, how we spend and when we can efficiently pay things off. There are various debt solution planners that can be researched. However, before committing money to another thing (that causes more debt), asking people we know who are financially astute how they maintain a debt free lifestyle is important. Research ideas through the internet: including Goggle, YouTube, and Pinterest. There are free ways to obtain help and support to some of the questions and answers we need. Just take a little time to do the research. Becoming debt free in the pursuit of the goals we have set for the New Year and New Decade will make life so much easier. Debt is like clutter. It is so hard to remain Focused in it! So, as we grow our businesses having good credit and an upstanding relationship with people who trust us enough to give/lend to us will be pivotal. I guess in someways I am saying borrow, and as a disclaimer, I just want to mention not all debt is bad. Debt that is acquired to make more money makes good business sense. HOWEVER, have a plan for how that will work! Also don't feel discouraged by a low credit score to begin with. Work at it! We don't have to all have a 820 credit score to purchase things we want and need. We do need good credit for lower interest rates. However, that doesn't always require excellent credit. Good Credit will afford you lower interest rates when purchasing things you "need" (when we pay the debt we owe off in a timely fashion). With that being said, when it comes to family and friends. that lending tree will probably be unavailable if you haven't kept your initial promise. NOW... Let's also be honest. Paying off Debt is hard. It takes a lot of Sacrifice. Especially when going into debt is so easy. However, Focusing on the bigger picture, and obtaining the grand debt free outcome will result in a glorious peace of mind.
Lastly takeaways that I am sharing in my debt free pursuit are as follows:
1. Obtain your Credit Score (for free)
2. Tally up all your debt (everything)
3. Make a list of monthly payment dates, amount due/owed, and prioritize the list
4. Set Calendar Reminders on your mobile devices
5. Pay Family/Friends what you owe them ASAP
6. Contact lenders for possible lowered interest rates
7. Borrow against yourself (some financial institutions allow your to borrow from yourself at low interest rates to pay down debt) You also still earn interest on the money in the establishment. You just need to have that amount secured before you can borrow. If you have questions send me a note...
8. Be mindful or Zero down and Zero% interest rates for X amount of months (the interest rates are often accumulative at the end of the term if not paid off)
9. Understand APR's (fixed, float) Vs Interest Rates
10. Begin to Pay down your Debt (make more the minimal payment when possible)
11. Use Cash! (if you don't have the cash to pay for it in most cases you probably don't need it)
12. Save your change! You will be amazed how much you can have accumulate that can help to becoming debt free
Remember our Goals are Grand! Most of Us are closer to Retirement than not! Focusing on being debt free will grant the Freedom to clear our minds and get to those goals a lot sooner including Retirement!
Deuteronomy 15:6 & 28:12