What do you think your life would be like if you were given everything you ever wanted? If you had no debt, no significant financial responsibilities, no struggles, and no restraints? It is possible that you would positively blossom in this environment, valuing your friends and family, finding a true companion, discovering what it is you were meant to do/to be, and otherwise live a fulfilling life. What is more likely though—and what the media loves to shed light on in recent years—is that a person does not blossom under inherited perfect financial circumstances. In fact, they tend to do the opposite and self-destruct. This is because money does not guarantee happiness, it only guarantees comforts. Having a large sum of it at a young age can throw you off course as there is no urgent need to figure out what you want to do and be in life; there is no purpose or reason to focus.
One can only watch so many reality shows and news segment fillers of millionaire heiresses/heirs getting DUIs, shedding their clothes in public or otherwise rebelling against everything. And while we may wonder—while sitting on the couch or in front of the internet—about what we could do with that money that they seem to be wasting, we can hardly find any inspiration from those kinds of stories. There are far more inspirational stories of people who found themselves in bad financial situations who not only worked their way out, but in the meanwhile, stumbled upon what they were meant to be in life.
- MoneySavingMom.com Founder Crystal Paine: Crystal and her husband felt a strong calling in their path together. Through her series of posts on Saving 100% Down for a Home she reveals this calling—living debt-free as a married couple, moving away from family and friends to Kansas so her husband could attend law school, and saving 100% for a home, all while her husband could only work 20 hours per week and she being a stay-at-home mother to their children—and then details how it worked out financially. Crystal became pregnant with their first child in the second semester of her husband’s law school, and because she was so ill, she had to quit working right away. With their income slashed in half, Crystal researched work-from-home jobs from bed to attempt to find a way to make $200 per month so that they could pay their bills. She nurtured an online ebookstore and opened a blog throughout all of their trials and tribulations, and anyone who follows her knows the ending: Crystal found her niche as an amazing Mommy Superblogger.
- Suze Orman: For almost a decade after college Suze worked as a waitress. She pulled together a loan of $50,000 from her friends and customers to start her own restaurant. Without knowing anything about investing, she handed her money over to a broker at Merrill Lynch who lost it all within three months. Now $50,000 in debt to people she was close with, Suze became very motivated to pay it back. She knew she could never do it with a $400 monthly income, so she signed onto a training program at Merrill Lynch (odd that she went back to the very people who had lost her money!). The rest is history: we now know Suze Orman by her first name, her countless books, and her Saturday night television show centered around finances.
- Adam Baker from Man V. Debt: Baker and his wife made the choice to sell all of their belongings shortly after their first child was born to pay off all of their consumer debt with the proceeds, live abroad, and pursue their passions without debt or belongings to hold them down. This launched a blog, speaking engagements, a documentary, and now he is retiring from blogging to join a filmmaking team. What an incredible journey, started by the motivation and desire to shed all of his debt!
Being non-mortgage, debt-free since September 2010, I can honestly say that it is still the best policy to stay away from debt all together if you can. But let’s face it, life is not always perfect and our choices which may be good at the moment are not always the best for our future. So if you find yourself in debt, use it as motivation. You never know where you will end up when the force of determination and necessity are with you.
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