Yes, it is next to impossible to live these days without some sort of debt finding its way into your life. Purchase a home—you’re probably going to have a mortgage. Buy a car—you’re likely going to need a car loan. Pursue secondary education—you may need a student loan.
However, in each of those instances, you’ll leverage your future income to start building a better life today. Meanwhile, credit card debt largely results from prioritizing wants over needs. Eliminating that debt should absolutely be a priority.
The more money you put toward credit card debt each month is less money you have to save and invest. Saving can actually put you in a position in which you don’t need credit to make certain types of purchases. Yes, it could mean delayed gratification, however the pursuit of instant gratification has left many a consumer flopping helplessly on the deck of a boat of unnecessary debt.
Meanwhile, instead of seeing your money work for you as investment capital, it’s being poured into the pockets of those who had the smarts to invest in making loans so you could finance their lifestyles. The sooner you eliminate credit card debt from your life, the more wealth you will have when you’re too old too work—assuming you invest that money wisely.
Your lifestyle choices become limited when you’re saddled with outsized credit card debt. You’ll be locked into working in a profession that pays you enough money to support your debt load as well as your covering the costs of your day-to-day living expenses. This means quitting a good-paying job you hate isn’t a viable option. Meanwhile, with no debt obligations, you can do pretty much whatever you’d like, with less concern about how much it pays.
Similarly, you might also be locked into living in a specific region, because you’ll need to be close enough to your workplace to make getting there cost-effective. Granted, this is less a concern today than in the past, however, there are still a huge number of people who must commute to work. One need only take a look at the major highways every morning and every afternoon to see this reality.
Which brings up another lifestyle oriented issue. Feeding debt can lock you into being stuck in traffic twice a day, or being herded into a packed bus or train in order to get back and forth to a job you don’t like that you can’t afford to quit. Testimonials at Freedom Debt Relief have cited lifestyle improvements as a result of paying off credit card debt.
Worry, stress and anxiety accompany outsized debt like bodyguards flanking heads of state. Where you find one, you will most assuredly find the others. Study after study after study has found people who have a lot of debt sleep poorly, are easily irritated and are just generally less happy than people who have no debt at all.
Moreover, those psychological issues can easily manifest themselves into physical issues. Stress and worry contribute generously to heart disease and strokes. Ironically, debt problems can also lead to more debt problems, as some people shop — with money they do not have— to feel better about not having money.
As crazy as it sounds, it’s true.
Shopping releases endorphins that make people feel good. Some people crave that feeling so much they ignore the after effects, just like people who are addicted to controlled substances such as alcohol and drugs. In other words, people can get addicted to shopping.
These are but four of the types of issues that can result from having an abundance of credit card debt — and why eliminating it should be a priority for everyone.