Hi Leveraged Mamas! Today I hope to shed some light on a rather insidious reason you might never escape debt.
How to escape debt forever
What's a girl gotta do to get debt free? Or at the very least, credit card debt free.. Well that's what I'm going to talk about today. The thing you MUST be aware of, if you want to escape debt, and become debt free forever.
No, we're not talking about finding ways to earn more and pay off your debt faster. Neither are we talking simply about finding crafty ways to spend less. Sure, you can do both these things and pay off all your debt and become debt free. Hurray! *Short celebration ensues*.
But Mama, you got into debt for a reason, and if you're not fully aware of that underlying reason, you're going to get into debt again.
I know what you're thinking... "this is about self love right, and how I don't love myself so I'm broke."
This post is not about self love.
But once you've read this post, and once you see it for yourself, you won't be able to un-see it.
So let's go.
The debt cycle
Some of us get into this thing called the debt cycle. And as things tend to go with a cycle, you cycle in, you cycle out… but you're never free.
TL;DR: If you want to escape debt forever, you need to escape the debt cycle.
Let me tell you a bit more about this debt cycle, and you can decide for yourself.
The debt cycle is a trap!
You probably already know that I think debt is stealing our motherhoods.
Debt forces us to work when we would prefer to be at home. It's forcing us to work more hours when we would rather work part time, or even just take the school holidays off.
Debt is a sticky trap that limits our options.
Let me briefly explain the debt cycle, and how I think it traps you:
Advertising is really good at making you think you need something. It's designed to do this, and it's very effective.
Advertising surrounds us – we see it everywhere we look. The end result of this is that we are always feeling a lack.
We always need something.
That's only the first problem.
Consumerism is a culture that we live in, and it encourages us to consume!
Consumerism has its roots in the post-Industrial era period. In fact post-wartime, economies needed stimulation and people needed to work – so factories popped up everywhere producing goods of all sorts. But nobody was buying. Our war-time ancestors were much more frugal than us because they had to be. So they had to literally be trained to consume. That's where advertising came from!
And we are very, very well trained to consume now.
Third, confirmation bias
Confirmation bias is when we seek to confirm that the choices we have made are the right ones. It's a coping mechanism. So if you've decided to get a 30-year mortgage, your brain will be looking for things to confirm that you've made the right decision. You'll unconsciously gravitate towards people and ideas that confirm your decisions.
Everyone has big mortgages and debt so it's ok, right?
This bias helps to ‘normalise' debt.
Buy now pay later is normal (no, it's not – do this instead).
A 30-year mortgage is normal.
A huge student loan is normal.
Having multiple loans is normal.
It's normal to chase a good credit score…
We normalise something in order to cope with it. Bad idea when it comes to debt.
Fourth, easy credit
Mortgages have only existed since the 1930s – to encourage homeownership. Credit cards have only existed since the 1950s. Credit hasn't been around that long yet it has added fuel to the consumerism fire, and global household debt grows by TRILLIONS of dollars every year?! Credit encourages spending. Well, we have been encouraged alright.
But access to easy credit exacerbates poor financial literacy and planning. And when our finances get complicated, it makes it harder to budget, harder to save, and sadly we start to learn that debt is just a fact of life.
Retirement – what is the economy going to look like when you retire? Will you receive a pension? Will you be physically and mentally capable? The thing is, you don't know – but currently, the debt cycle has us paying down mortgages until we are sometimes past retirement age. There's a risk coming at you from all angles at retirement age – having just escaped debt at that age is a risk you might want to reconsider.
The end result of the debt cycle
We work really hard in order to have enough money to consume all the things (we think) we need, even if we can't afford them. But we think going into debt to consume is okay because credit is so easy to come by, and everyone else is doing it so it seems normal.
The levels of debt we have today are not normal
As Mamas, it can mean we end up working really hard – just to keep up with this consumption. Our levels of spending and consumption have set expectations that are really hard to lower. But this debt and these expectations really limit the choices we have, to do what is right for us and our families.
How does stopping the debt cycle help you ‘escape debt forever?
Once you STOP accepting debt as a normal part of life and see consumerism for what it is, you can be even more critical of the choices you make with your money.Stop accepting debt as a normal part of life, and see consumerism for what it is, so that you can be even more critical of the choices you make with your money. Click To Tweet
As I keep banging on about, I think there is a clear connection between debt normalisation and degradation of our experience of motherhood.
Once you reframe debt as abnormal, you'll escape the debt cycle.
Ok wow, I just went pretty deep there – I don't want to sound like ranty pants, but it's probably clear by now that I have a bee in my bonnet about this! This is why I started quietly creating and working on the Escape Debt Forever programme – which will help to reframe debt so that you can reclaim your motherhood.
In fact, my mission with The Leveraged Mama is to widen the gap between your income and your expenses (earn more and spend less in motherhood friendly ways). The larger the gap, you can channel the more of your hard-earned money towards your financial freedom.
Helping you to escape debt is core to the success of that mission
What do you think?
Have a think about other people's attitudes to debt. How ‘normal' is it to your close circles? What is an ‘acceptable' amount of debt to have these days? Is that level tied to your income?
Is debt bad only if you can't service it? What about when you're forced to prioritise work over family, or mental health and happiness?