- 4 min read
- Debt Free for life is a noble goal, but certainly not practical.
- Follow practical advice to get rid of debt, like paying debt quicker.
- Find the debt relief solution appropriate to your financial situation.
Table of Contents
Debt Free for Life - A Castle of Sand?
David Bach’s NY bestseller, "Debt Free for Life", is chock-full of great tips. This book along with others, including "Finish Rich Book Series" and "Automatic Millionaire Series" offer you a wide range of topics, motivating you to get rich, and get rid of your debt.
Who doesn't want to live comfortably, buy some luxury items, and build a nice nest egg for retirement? However, we all are aware that some people are rich, while others are struggling to make ends meet. Some people are healthy, while others are dealing with tough diseases and expensive medical treatment. It is not always enough to want to be debt free to get debt free for life. You can dream of living in a castle of sand, but dealing with everyday reality means making tough financial decisions.
Debt Free for Life - General Comments
Bach claims that during the latest recession he recognized that there is not good debt or bad debt. It all should go, and quickly. This realization helped him write the book "Debt Free for Life".
Mindset: Bach makes the argument that you need to make it your goal to get out of debt. Gear your way of thinking to spending less, saving more and paying off debt. Change your lifestyle so you don’t dig yourself into debt. He came to the conclusion, which runs counter to his previous way of thinking, that all debt is bad. Maybe you can build a castle of sand without a mortgage loan, but few can afford to buy a house without one.
Practical Advice: Bach appears on television as well as on the internet. He and his book are full of practical advice. Here are some good examples:
- Use automated bill-paying systems to ensure that you pay you debt on-time.
- Don’t prolong your debt by only making your minimum payment. He suggests using a DOLP (Done on Last Payment) plan, to calculate your last day to debt freedom.
- Increase your revenue by finding another job, or if you are unemployed, then take almost any job.
- Lower your expenses and avoid buying unnecessary items.
- Don’t take on more credit card debt.
- Negotiate lower interest rates with your creditors.
- If you need professional help, a credit counselor can help.
Debt Free - The Pirate's treasure for me?
No, I am not suggesting that you become a pirate. Although finding a pirate’s treasure would be nice, is it really going to happen?
However, I am suggesting that you realistically evaluate your situation. If you are in a position whereby you can make more money appear and use it to pay off debt, then great. (Don’t forget to keep up your rainy day fund, savings account, investment accounts, and retirement funds). In addition, can most people realistically buy a house without taking out a mortgage? Yes, I agree, make it your plan to pay off the mortgage, and not use your house as a source to take out more loans to buy more items.
Much of the advice in the book is good advice. If it helps you get motivated and work on your debt problems, that is great. However, some of the advice is misleading. We don’t always decide to get into debt. A sudden illness, major unexpected expenses, loss of job can throw anyone off their program. Much of the advice in the book is available for free and online.
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Debt Free For Life - Start with Small Steps
Apply any practical advice that is appropriate to your situation. However, focus on your situation. Not living beyond your means is fine, as Bach noted. However, he does not have the answer for everyone. Your tough debt problems need to be dealt with and not brushed away.
Take a good look at your budget. Use the bills.com Budget Guide: - to help you prepare your personal budget..Start by looking at your debt problem and finding the best debt relief solution for you, whether it is paying off your loans quicker, loan consolidation, debt management, or debt settlement of bankruptcy. Sometimes a do-it-yourself approach is appropriate, and sometimes you will need professional help.
Most importantly, be proactive. Making a goal to get debt-free is great. Remember, if you are struggling to make your payments or overwhelmed by debt, start by taking the small steps that will bring you debt relief and set you on the road to being debt-free for life.
Dealing with debt
Debt is used to buy a home, pay for bills, buy a car, or pay for a college education. According to the NY Federal Reserve total household debt as of Q3 2023 was $17.291 trillion. Auto loan debt was $1.595 trillion and credit card was $1.079 trillion.
A significant percentage of people in the US are struggling with monthly payments and about 26% of households in the United States have debt in collections. According to data gathered by Urban.org from a sample of credit reports, the median debt in collections is $1,739. Credit card debt is prevalent and 3% have delinquent or derogatory card debt. The median debt in collections is $422.
The amount of debt and debt in collections vary by state. For example, in Indiana, 28% have any kind of debt in collections and the median debt in collections is $1721. Medical debt is common and 16% have that in collections. The median medical debt in collections is $748.
Avoiding collections isn’t always possible. A sudden loss of employment, death in the family, or sickness can lead to financial hardship. Fortunately, there are many ways to deal with debt including an aggressive payment plan, debt consolidation loan, or a negotiated settlement.