The Money Advantage Podcast

The Money Advantage Podcast

Why Debt Free Doesn’t Make You Financially Free

July 23, 2018

Becoming debt free is often listed as a notch on the belt of financial progress. It’s widely discussed, admired, longed for, celebrated, and even praised by so-called financial experts.  But, paying off debt may be risky or even altogether unnecessary.  In fact, you’re probably not in debt in the first place!  We want you to be debt free, but you first have to know what that means.  Many confuse being debt free with being liability free.  Before you decide whether to add becoming debt free to your checklist, let’s get the skinny on what debt is.  Then, you can take action that gives you the most certainty, control, and peace of mind.

To help you gain clarity on your debt position and know what to do about it, we’ll answer:

* What is debt?* Am I in debt?* Will a debt-free goal help or hurt me?* More importantly, to reach my goals, gain confidence, peace of mind, time and money freedom, what should I do about debt?

This conversation will help you develop a big picture perspective of a balanced personal economy.

Rather than spiraling out of control, you’ll gain control, options, and increased financial capabilities.

Why Becoming Debt Free Seems Like Such a Big Deal

Let’s face it; most people fear debt. They feel it’s an encumbrance or ensnarement that nullifies their goals.  If it was in a game of Taboo, it’s almost a dirty word that lives with other deplorable financial conditions, like losing money, bad credit, foreclosure, and bankruptcy.

Why does debt strike at the chord of our financial aspirations so much so that ringing the debt-free bell seems like such a milestone?

Often families start off saddled in student loan debt.  Because there’s not much cash, they add car loans, a mortgage, and credit card debt to achieve their lifestyle.  They work a job to pay it off, while also balancing buying a house and saving for their future.  But the more debt you have, the harder it seems to pay it off because you feel tighter each month.  The debt seems like a slippery slope that can easily have you feeling that forward progress is all but impossible.  To be debt free might seem like the best way to get back on track.

Maybe looking at the debt payments each month is an arrow to the heart, reminding you of past mistakes.  To be debt free would mean to be free of the pain of guilt.

Because a balanced financial life seems unachievably complex, looking at it one piece at a time might feel more manageable and doable.  Becoming debt free might be that one step you think you can really accomplish.

However, putting all your emphasis on paying off debt can be detrimental when it causes you to lose control and delay your journey to financial freedom.

Where Debt Freedom Fits into Your Cash Flow System

Dealing with debt is just one step in the big picture of the Survival to Significance Cash Flow System.

Debt is part of your cash flow in the foundational stage.  How you handle debt has the potential to increase or decrease your cash flow an...