Monday, August 21, 2006

50 good things about being debt-free & !0 Steps To Help You Get There

Why do I write so much about being debt free? It's simple. You can't help others if you can't help yourself. I know some many people that say that they would do more to help others in need if only they could. And I believe them.

I've decided that I'd rather be a lender than a borrower anyday. In fact, ideally I'd like to be able to give whenever it is needed and not miss it. My goal is to live debt free or at least ahead of the game. And it is a high stakes game for which you better know the rules.

Am I there yet? Not by a long shot. Quite honestly money management has never been my greatest strength and I have had to break a lot of bad habits. Am I improving ? You bet? It's taken a lot of soul searching, sacrifice and changing my ways.

Has it been easy? No way and I still make lots of mistakes. It takes a longtime to recover from financal mistakes but once you see a light there's no looking back.

Pamela Lyn

50 good things about being debt-free

By Steve Bucc

I had a song running through my head when I was thinking about debt and then had an epiphany: Not since Paul Simon advised couples on "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" has there been such a need for a new list.

I'm always telling people that they should deal with debt, and not "slip out the back, Jack," but maybe I don't dwell often enough on the sugar that comes after you take your medicine by paying off those bills.

So I began listing all the good things that come from being out of debt, and before you know it, I had a Simon-esque list of 50.

Perhaps the time has come to advise Bea to learn the key. It's truly never too late to get a new plan, Dan!

50 good things

Strategies for freedom from debt

Here are 50 good things about being debt-free.

Avoid trouble with cards, Gerard

1. No longer having to decide how much you can afford to pay on credit cards.

2. No ghosts of Christmas debts past haunting you during holiday shopping season.

3. Never being refused for credit.

4. Never being required to spend money you have not yet earned.

5. Having the control that accompanies buying things with cash.

6. Never having to use one credit card to make a payment on another.

Stash a buck, Chuck

7. Having a savings cushion for emergency expenses.

8. Understanding the different kinds of savings needs.

9. Having enough money for both needs and many wants.

10. Watching your balances grow, and that's a good thing.

11. Having fewer fights about money with your sweetie.

12. Experiencing the advantages of a higher credit score.

Plan an attack, Mac

13. Knowing what to do before a marriage.

14. Knowing what to do to prepare for a divorce.

15. Being prepared for a job layoff.

16. Knowing how to create a realistic budget.

17. Understanding the advantages of planned spending.

18. Getting better interest rates when you borrow.

Save for school, O'Toole

19. Having back-to-school costs covered.

20. Setting a good example for your kids.

21. Having the flexibility to shop for the best deal.

22. Knowing you will be prepared to pay your children's college tuition.

Answer the phone, Jerome

23. Not screening for credit collection calls or letters.

24. Looking forward to opening your mail.

25. Never having to meet Judge Judy.

26. Reading a statement that reads "paid in full."

You're never a schlemiel, Lucille

27. Recognizing money scams a mile away and avoiding them.

28. Knowing when and where to ask for financial assistance.

29. Never having to pay late fees.

30. Never robbing Peter to pay Paul.

31. Keeping your own identity.

Don't worry, Lorrie

32. Sleeping better at night.

33. Never having to worry about repossession.

34. Never worrying about being upside down in a car loan.

35. Finally having your entire financial life working together in harmony.

36. Not worrying about paying for the family vacation.

37. Not having to locate a good credit counseling agency.

38. Not needing a reference for a good bankruptcy attorney.

Keep ahead, Fred

39. Never being behind on your mortgage.

40. Knowing your checks will never bounce.

41. Keeping financial records that work best for you.

42. Having all the resources to satisfy the IRS.

43. Experiencing the joy of living below your means.

44. Not spending your weekend having a garage sale to help pay bills.

Be in the know, Joe

45. Being able to prevent financial problems before they happen.

46. Knowing you can withstand anything financial life throws at you.

47. Knowing how to and when to revise your financial plan as your circumstances change.

48. Knowing the difference between wants and needs.

49. Knowing when you will have money enough to retire.

50. People ask you for financial advice so often you become the next Debt Adviser.

The Debt Adviser, Steve Bucci, is the president of Money Management International Financial Education Foundation and the author of Credit Repair Kit for Dummies. Visit MMI for additional debt advice or to ask a question of the Debt Adviser go to the "Ask the Experts" page and select "debt" as the topic.

~ ~ ~ ~~

Howard Dayton’s 10 Steps to Getting Out of Debt

1. Pray. Ask the Lord’s guidance toward "D-Day" – debtless day. As you eliminate debt, the Lord blesses your faithfulness.

2. Establish a written budget. This helps with planning ahead and seeing where you can cut back.

3. List assets. Consider each item -- furniture, cars, etc. -- and determine whether you should sell any assets.

4. List liabilities. Most people don’t know exactly how much owe. A list of liabilities gives you an accurate picture of your current financial position.

5. Establish a debt repayment schedule for each creditor. Decide which ones to pay off first.

6. Consider earning additional income. Pay off debts with additional earnings.

7. Accumulate no new debt. Start pay for everything with cash.

8. Be content with what you have. Limit television watching and magazine reading. The more you watch, the more you spend. The more you look at magazines, the more you spend.

9. Consider a radical change in lifestyle. Temporarily reduce cost-of-living expenses.

10. Don’t give up! Getting out of debt is hard work, but freedom from debt is worth the struggle.

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