Debt: Self-Imposed Slavery

Debt: Self-Imposed Slavery

Perhaps the most severe cost of going into debt is the resulting loss of freedom. It truly is a form of self-imposed slavery. Too few of us enjoy the level of freedom our founding fathe24rs intended for us. We may not be oppressed by political dictators, but we often voluntarily submit ourselves to dictatorial creditors. Many of us lock ourselves into huge long-term commitments without knowing whether our future circumstances will allow us to honor these obligations. We may barely be able to qualify for the payments on a large new home, but we want it so badly that we buy it anyway, in hopes that the payment will feel more affordable as our income goes up. Then the unthinkable happens: our income actually goes down, or stops completely, and we lose everything. Consider the following observation by J. Reuben Clark, Jr: “Interest never sleeps nor sickens nor dies; it never goes to the hospital; it works on Sundays and holidays; it never takes a vacation; it never visits nor travels; it takes no pleasure; …it has no love, no sympathy; it is as hard and soulless as a granite cliff. Once in debt, interest is your companion every minute of the day and night; you cannot shun it or slip away from it; you cannot dismiss it; it yields neither to entreaties, demands, or orders; and whenever you get in its way or cross its course or fail to meet its demands, it crushes you.”[i] Maybe part of the reason so many people readily incur excessive amounts of debt is that the penalty today for failing to meet...
The Best Gifts

The Best Gifts

Giving gifts during the holidays is a wonderful tradition that can help unite families and friends. When we give in the right spirit, we remember that giving can be even more joyous than receiving. With all this love and generosity in the air, why do we often feel so much stress and financial strain this time of year? Could it be that we focus a little too much on trying to fulfill everyone’s expectations – or at least our perception of their expectations – rather than truly giving from our hearts? Of course, we all want to find the perfect gifts for our loved ones because we want to maximize their happiness and minimize their disappointment. It’s nice to have some idea of what people would like, but where’s the fun in simply picking from a list of never-ending “pre-ordered” items, especially when you know there’s no way you could buy even half of what’s on the list and still call yourself a prudent parent or grandparent! Be a Detective Giving meaningful gifts doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and can be a lot more fun if you think of yourself more as a detective than an order taker. If we pay enough attention over time, we can easily discover on our own what would be the perfect gifts for our loved ones without even asking them. Then they will be a lot more surprised (and hopefully more delighted) at what they get, and we might even get away with not spending so much money on junk they don’t need, and probably won’t even want after the holidays. Just...