Greetings on this gorgeous Saturday. We woke up to sun (a bit of wind) and very cool spring weather. It was the perfect sleeping weather on a Saturday morning in Vienna.
Although there is much to do today, the stillness in the morning was well needed after such hectic weeks of travel and work. We are also sure that baby Elijah is enjoying less stressed mommy and daddy.
So this morning we are writing on debt.
Debt is a noun, and it is typically referring to something, usually money, that is owed or due.
Now that I'm thinking of it, I am reminded of famous Greek philosophy on debt. They believe that there are certain debts that can never be repaid no matter how much you work to chomp away at it. One kind of debt like this is the debt that is owed to your parents. In that your mother bore you in her womb for nine months it is incomprehensible to think of the amount you could give her to par with that expense. It would be impossible to pay off that debt; you would simply have to be indebted (through love) and grateful to her for the rest of your (or her) life and try your best to care for her in her older years. That's the ancient Greek mindset at least.
However, there is debt that can be paid off. And the debt that should be paid off, above most debts, is financial debt.
When you are financially indebted, no matter how much you are on top of things, you always know it. You can try to forget it, rationalize it, etc., but the simple truth is that (unless the institution you're indebted to dissolves your debt OR you declare bankruptcy) you will always owe. I am speaking out of personal experience here when I say that when you are in debt it is as if there is a weight placed upon you.
And some of us have heavier weights than others.
But today my brothers and sisters I am here to tell you that we are 100% debt free! Vince payed off the last credit card today and now we feel as if the last weight had been taken off of our backs. It's actually physically relieving to know that you owe no one any money!
You may be asking how we did it, and we could give you the whole plan on how Vince did it. Chances are if you are intrigued by this you have seen all the plans for paying off your debt (consolidating credit, spreadsheets, financial success classes, etc.), and you may have tried many of them. If you want the in-depth plan that Vince made in killing our debt, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
But the simple truth is that the way to kill your debt is simple:
SPEND LESS THAN WHAT YOU MAKE AND RIGHT BELOW NECESSARY LIVING COSTS, TREAT YOUR DEBT PAYMENT WITH PRIORITY.
When Cay and I got married we quickly agreed that we need to monitor our spending so that we could live simply. We both agreed that we have a lot of things and that there was no NEED for anything more; anything else we were to acquire in our life would simply be a luxury (not that there is anything against luxury, but like all excesses they need to be kept in moderation). We agreed that shopping sprees were bad and that we would talk about practically everything we bought (from books and shoes to houses). It took some getting used to, but it works and we are now enjoying the rewards of this philosophy. The most important thing is this aspect is that you DON'T BUY ANYTHING YOU CAN'T AFFORD. This means not using your credit card. Actually it may not be a bad idea, if you are addicted to yours, to cut it up until you have paid it off.
One thing Vince asks when he wants to buy something is, "Can I use this 5-10 years from now?" and then he says, "I will wait till the weekend is over and if I still think I need it then I will buy it."
We both work and Elijah has not been born yet therefore we have made it a priority to save a large majority of our paychecks. Why? Because there will come a time when Cay may not be able to work. And all of you with children know that kids (in a nice way) incur expenses. So when you can save you should.
But more importantly, above saving, you should attack your debt like warrior in battle. Do not let your credit card, loan, mortgage payments ever get through the lines. And when you can, pay more than the minimum. Vince was able to pay off his credit cards by paying at least twice the minimum payment. There were times that he paid 4-5 times the minimum. It may seem like a lot, but you will be saving thousands in the future.
Wow... this is a big topic. What is tithing? In the Old Testament the Israelites were to give 10 percent of their riches to the Lord as their first offering. What does that mean to us? Well, if you want to speak in terms of strictness it means that you give 10% of your total household salary to the Lord, usually through your Church. Cay and I like to give 5% to the Church and 5% to our prayer community. Sometimes we will give our tithe to a charitable organization (like the Japanese effort organizations), but the most important thing is that right off the top 10% of our salaries go to helping others.
How does this help with your debt you ask?
In helps in a couple ways:
1) If really makes you budget your expenses. When you commit to tithing, automatically 10% of your income is gone and now you have to work with what you got - with debt attack as the first priority, right after food and shelter.
2) We believe that the Lord has a lot of money and when you give back to Him, He does not fail to bless you. One concrete example for us this year has been His generosity to us through the Austrian Government. We have been tithing strictly this entire year and just recently we both received checks from the Austrian Government for the pre-tax Euros we were contributing before we joined the UN. (The UN has it's own pension scheme, so there is no need to contribute to the Austrian one) After we started working at the UN, the Government gave us back nearly all the taxed Euros we contributed since we started working in Austria. Anyways... it was a very very big check. And we believe that it is due to divine intervention through the Austrian authorities. GOD IS NEVER OUTDONE IN GENEROSITY.
So in conclusion... kill your debt. Live simply. And when you are finally debt-free you will know what I am talking about when I say that a weight will be lifted off of you. Moreover, contrary to pop beliefs, there is no such thing as "good debt"; the only good debt is no debt.
Blessings to your weekend!
Let us know what you all think in the comments :-)