Debt makes you a slave. It sucks away your meager paycheck, energy, and browbeats you into a rut that you desperately want to get out of. Each month, your car payment, credit card bills, student loans, and various other expenses pick away at the hours upon hours that you spent at a job that kills your soul. Each month, it leaves you feeling like all your hard work was for naught. It keeps you from moving out, from traveling, or pursuing your passion because you have to make sure your lenders aren’t calling you five times a day. It keeps you from living the life you should be living.
Some debt is necessary. Most people can’t buy a home or get an education to hopefully propel themselves to the middle class without getting a loan. Some debt is stupid, such as using credit cards to buy clothing, video games, nights of drunken debauchery, and other random items you absolutely need right now cause you’re spoiled and want instant gratification.
If you’re in debt, your number one priority shouldn’t be traveling the world to go on a journey of self-discovery. It shouldn’t be going back to school to get your Masters in Fine Arts because you think it will make you competitive in landing some important sounding, but low-paying job. It shouldn’t be getting financed on some fancy new car because you’re embarrassed of the little jalopy you drive. Your number one priority should be to paying off all your shit and never letting yourself into that trap again.
It’s a tough transition in mindset to make. We as Americans have been trained to think by the multinational conglomerates who make money off interest and our late payments that it’s an inescapable part of life. They target us from our youth, establishing booths at our colleges campuses that give out student credit cards or targeting young, cherry-as-fuck military servicemen who have a steady paycheck. You kid yourselves into saying that you will use the cards responsibly or in emergencies. You tell yourself that you’ll pay off the balance in full each month. You keep your promise to yourself for the first few months. You feel good about yourself that you’re establishing credit. You’re an adult, after all. Then, there is that one month where you spent beyond your monetary resources and only make the minimum payment.
You see that it’s no big deal. It wasn’t the end of the world that you only made the minimum payment. One more month goes by where you spent all your money on booze, drugs, and a plethora of stupid shit, a lot of which you put on your credit card. You make the minimum payment again but notice that this time it’s slightly higher but it’s not overwhelming.
Soon enough, you’re able to get another credit card. You apply and are approved. Fuck yeah, you’re fucking rich, bitch. The vicious cycle of monetary irresponsibility repeats and a year or so later, you’ve maxed out all your cards and can’t get approved for anymore. That’s when shit starts getting real.
You feel trapped, tied down, and its painful just to see how much money you owe. When the bills arrive, you wait as long as possible to open them because it physically hurts to see the you are balls deep in debt. That’s when you’re enlightened with the fact that you’re a fiscal idiot and are unable to justify all the shit you’ve spent that money on.
This story happens all too commonly in the US. The sad part of it is, most people never get out of it. They’ll keep their shitty money management habits and piss their paycheck away because, “YOLO, mother fuckers!”
If you owe $3000 on credit card, don’t feel entitled to take a vacation to the Bahamas because you’re so overworked and you just need some “me time” to get your life and head on straight. What you’re really going to do with that, “me time,” is get drunk as fuck by the beach, smoke weed, bang someone, and then be an extra grand or two in debt. Now that, “me time” you so desperately needed has added to the stress that lead to you needing that “Me time” in the first place.
Gen Y wants to be free and not tied down. Gen Y wants to travel, find meaning in their life, and find their passion. One of the biggest obstacles is money. Money is vital and important. Money, like health, doesn’t ensure happiness, but without it, makes happiness very difficult. You have to take it upon yourself to find a way to get out of the trap that is debt.
When you are debt free, your life is truly yours again. Even a modest paycheck goes a long way when most of it is not being syphoned away to pay for items you bought back in 2009. You don’t have to worry about paying your bill on time or else acquiring a late a fee. You’re able to truly start saving money and build an emergency fund, a travel fund, a fund to start your business, or just spend it all on booze, drugs, and women. The money is truly yours to spend as you wish.
You creditors are your overlords and as long as you owe them, they have you by the balls. Don’t be ashamed because you fell into their trap. Know that you can truly do something about it and that it’s not hopeless. It just requires time, sacrifice, and possibly working two or three jobs, like a Mexican. If you truly want to be free and live the Gen Y dream, taking control over your debt is the first step.