Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Climbing Out of the Dark Dungeon of Debt

In medieval times many castles were constructed. These castles were very large and seemed very spacious to the outside world. The kings and lords frequently built them to show their power and prestige. In the basements of these castles were dungeons that were basically prisons that held those who were captured as enemies of the king, or those within the castle who were thieves or who had disobeyed the laws of the king. These dungeons were dark and cold and those who were imprisoned would be there for their whole lifetime. Life was miserable for those who lived in the dungeon. It was a wretched place to be with the absence of light, shortage of food, being chained to the walls, etc… I am sure the thoughts of “how did I ever get myself in this place?” crossed many a mind back in these days.

In these modern times, we don’t have the large, spacious castles that they did in medieval times; we actually have even larger ones. Many people today have their own personal homes or castles, that they enjoy flaunting to the outside world, showing power, money, and prestige. The one fundamental difference is that the kings who owned castles in times of old, actually had the power, money, and prestige. In today’s world we want to appear as kings and want to live a life of luxury but in doing so we end up in the dungeon of our castle; chained to the wall with a life of misery—having no light or hope to escape. This dungeon I speak of is the dungeon of debt.

Debt is one of the most destructive powers in the financial world if used unwisely. It is said that the love of money is the root of all evil, but I would add that the love of things without the money to pay for them, is also the root of all evil. For this type of lifestyle brings upon us debt. According to, the definition of debt is the following:
1. Something owed, such as money, goods, or services.
2. a. An obligation or liability to pay or render something to someone else.
b. The condition of owing:
3. An offense requiring forgiveness or reparation; a trespass

The most common form of debt is to lend money to someone else so they can have something that they would otherwise not be able to pay for. The most popular debts are houses, cars, businesses, and education. In recent times this list has expanded to include electronics, furniture, vacations, everyday living expenses, boats, 4-wheelers, etc… These types of debt along with large, spacious homes, fancy cars, and other unnecessary things are what have put us in the financial crisis that our country is in today. We are not only living in our own personal dungeons by taking on such enormous debt, but have also put our entire country in a dungeon because now the country has taken on more debt to try to keep the citizens from sinking into further despair.

I think most of us realize the pain and problems that come with incurring too much debt but we aren’t doing much to get out of the dungeons and the walls that we have chained ourselves to. Just like the thieves in times of old thought “how did I ever get myself in this place?” we too, must have these thoughts as we look at the mountains of bills and debts that lay before us. It is possible to climb out of your dungeon of debt and be able to live free again. I would like to give 4 financial steps to climb out of that dungeon and get back onto solid ground where you can enjoy the light and feel free again.
1. Get out of current debts where possible.
If you can sell your expensive car and get something cheaper, do it. If you can sell your house and get into something smaller and more affordable, do it. If you can sell your furniture or electronics that you are making payments on, do it.
List all of your debts or things you own which you could live without, and see what you can replace. Sell it and buy something less expensive and take the money to pay off all the debts you can.
This will bring you 1 step out of the dungeon, with only 3 left.

2. Pay off Debts as quickly as possible.
Once you have done all you can to remove as many debts as possible, make every effort to pay the remaining debts off, minus the mortgage payment, as fast as possible. This includes the school loan, car payment, credit cards, etc… Concentrate on the smallest loan first and once you pay that off, roll that payment into your next loan and pay it off in half the time.
You are now halfway up the stairway on the way to freedom.

3. Live within your means.
List your living expenses and the minimum debts possible (hopefully just the house) that you can live on. Make another list with all of the income that you and your family are bringing in. Compare the 2 lists and make sure that your expenses are not more than your income. It seems basic but many of us sitting in our dungeons don’t take the time to make a budget and find ourselves sinking further and further into despair. We need to give up only a little in order to gain a lot in the future.
Only one step left, and we have freed ourselves from the chains that have bound us down into the dark dungeons of debt.

Find ways to make additional income.
Part of getting out of debt is not only cutting back on what we spend, but also finding ways to make more money. There are thousands of different ways to make money with little time involved. For example, I write blogs for an internet company twice a week and make some additional money to keep us out of unnecessary debt. This will help us to not only get out of debt completely but also help us start saving for those rainy days in life that might otherwise thrust us back into the dungeon of debt.

Now you have climbed out of the dark dungeon of debt. Life is fun and exciting and is easier now that we don’t have the chains shackled upon our lives. We may not live in a castle but if we are locked in a dungeon, what good is the castle?

For more tips on how to escape debt and an accelerated plan, visit financial expert Dave Ramsey’s website

No comments: