How Debt Is Stealing Your Options
Jason | July 22, 2022
Debt and the interest that usually comes with it is stealing more than just your money. When we think about the negatives of debt the conversation usually goes straight to how we are throwing away money on the interest that is accruing. While that is true and is definitely a big negative, people don’t usually give any more thought than this to the negatives of debt.
We all have a certain amount of money we need each month to cover our basic living expenses like food, Shelter, utilities, clothing, transportation etc. On top of these necessities that we need each month we should also be saving money for the short and long term. We need to have an emergency fund that will help us cover our necessities if we lose our income, and we also need to be saving and investing money for the long term so that we are able to retire. That being said, we also want to be making more than this amount to cover non-essential things like going out to dinner, going on vacation, or anything else we like to do for fun that will cost money.
When we accumulate debt the amount of money that we need each month is now increased on top of all the above. On top of our necessities, savings, and fun money we now need to make even more money to cover debt payments. The first thing that households will usually start to cut when they accumulate too much debt is unfortunately their savings. They will stop saving, stop investing, and if they have an emergency fund they will spend that to continue funding their necessities and fun spending.
When households no longer have a fully funded savings changing jobs or careers becomes more difficult as we now have a balancing act of not being able to go a pay period without any income. On top of the extra stress, too much debt and not enough savings can also keep us stuck at a job that we hate or not allow us to take a risk to try something new.
Households that have raised their monthly expenses so high due to debt and lifestyle creep will sometimes struggle with having to stay in careers or at jobs they don’t love because they pay a lot of money. Sometimes our dream job pays a lot, and sometimes it does not pay as much as we could make somewhere else. We spend the majority of our waking hours at work. You should be the one who gets to decide where and what you work on, not debt.
I am not saying there is never a good reason for debt or that you should feel bad for being in debt. Saving up to buy a house completely in cash is not realistic for most people, and sometimes life happens and people go through hard times. I am trying to warn you that using debt for your non-essential needs and fun spending is stealing from your future and taking away from your options in life to try new things or take risks.