“I hate debt!” … Really?

“I hate debt!”

That’s an oft heard declaration that erupts early in some of my meetings with new or prospective clients.

Most of the time it happens as a large sheet of paper is pulled out of a folder, or a spreadsheet is opened on a computer.

Whether computerized or penned, it’s a list of their debts. Often a long list.

“We owe on our house,” he begins (most often it’s a he). “And both of us have vehicles, and we have notes on those. Then there are our student loans, a couple of credit cards and some medical debt that we incurred from last year.”

“I really hate debt,” he’ll say again, as if to convince either me or himself. 

There is a reality TV show for which I’ve seen commercials. I confess I’ve never watched the show. It features a family with 19 children. Nineteen. I think about them whenever someone tells me they hate debt. I imagine the father of the 19 children saying, “I hate children.”

Really? You could have fooled me.

Because you were around when each of those children came into existence. And both husband and wife continued in the activities necessary to bring about each of the 19. 

No doubt, with 19 children there may be days when the consequences of having children seem particularly burdensome. But a person with 19 children wouldn’t be very convincing if he said he didn’t like children.

Same thing with debt.

You may not like the fact that today you owe over $250,000 and pay 35% of your income for the privilege. 

But that’s a far cry from saying you hate debt. 

The truth is you love debt. You love what it did for you when you moved into the house, when you drove the three quarter ton pickup off the lot and smelled the new leather interior, when you graduated from college and when you went on vacation last summer (remember when people did that?). 

Debt is not evil. Debt is not virtuous. Debt is a magnifier of our choices. It makes our good choices better and our bad choices worse. 

So, don’t waste another ounce of energy swearing off debt or cursing the day you were approved for a credit card. 

Instead, use that energy to seek out and adopt money strategies that solve the problems your poor uses of debt have created. 

Problems with debt are usually indicative of a paucity of saving. No saving, no money. No money…enter debt. 

Instead of a lifetime of borrowing from banks and other lending institutions to meet your large purchase needs, why not fund and create your own “lending system,” which lends you money and makes money off the interest you pay. This is an old saving strategy called “the Family Bank,” and can be very effective at re-capturing and re-directing the flows of money you now direct to pay to your debtors. 

You may say you are one who hates debt, but I doubt that. 

You hate your poor choices.

So, plan now to make better ones.

Argent Advisors, Inc. is an SEC-registered investment adviser. A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request. Please See Important Disclosure Information here.

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