What is it like to be debt-free?
Please take a couple of minutes to imagine it.
Now, this is hard, I know. You may have so much debt that you always feel the weight of it. It is hard to imagine a time when the uncertainty of debt will not hang over your head, ready to drop and take your future with it.
Still, let’s try and do this.
You wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and peaceful after a good night’s sleep. You have a leisurely breakfast of your favourite food. Then, you start working, and your focus is laser sharp – no stray thoughts about unpaid bills, debt collectors or looming money crises. Life is full of possibilities, and you are brimming with excitement to savour them all.
You can pay off all your debt and become debt-free. An essential ingredient to that is motivation.
In this article, I’ll share with you some surprising and transformative benefits of living a debt-free life and hopefully, you will be raring to go on a debt payment journey by the end of it.
Are you ready?
Benefit 1: Being debt-free is living stress-free
An immediate and remarkable benefit of being debt-free is the overwhelming reduction in stress.
Financial stress can take a toll on your mental and physical health. Studies have shown that individuals burdened by debt are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, and even heart problems.
I know I did. I still remember the darkness that swallowed me the moment my husband told me how much debt we had. I didn’t sleep for weeks. My insides were shaking like autumn leaves. And I developed high blood pressure and was put on medication.
All this changed when we paid off our debt. And today, I am glad we have no consumer debt – it makes us vulnerable and causes too much stress. I’d choose debt-free living any time.
So, here it is – being debt-free is less about money than about living free of stress and looking into the future without fear. And without worrying whether your loved ones will inherit your debt.
Benefit 2: Debt-free living is a healthy leaving
Reducing stress levels is known to improve health. Lower stress means fewer colds, no impression and anxiety, lower blood pressure and reduced incidence of heart disease and strokes.
Financial health and physical health go together.
I always thought my blood pressure went down because we brought Suzy the Dog into our family. (Yes, pets are also known to have health benefits.) Thinking back, we also paid off our debt.
Who knows, right?
Benefit 3: Becoming debt-free is your ticket to freedom
Paying off your debt is not only financially liberating. It also offers you the gift of time.
You have more cash to follow your hobbies. You can reduce the hours you work and pursue new opportunities. You can also start saving and investing for a future when you will achieve financial independence.
Debt freedom brings all kinds of freedom.
Benefit 4: Confidence boost from paying off your debt
Becoming debt-free often comes with a boost in self-esteem and confidence.
Taking control of your finances and conquering your debt instils a sense of accomplishment and empowerment.
This confidence spills over into other areas of your life. After all, when you’ve paid off so much debt, not much can faze you.
This is why I believe there are excellent reasons to celebrate your debt, not hate it.
Benefit 5: Reimagining retirement without debt
I remember the first thing I thought when I realised how much debt we had – I would never be able to retire.
This was one of many negative thoughts. I had to deal with them to create space for dealing with our debt.
We paid off all our consumer debt in three years instead of ten. We increased our income and invested. Several years back, I reduced my professorship to 50%.
This is partial early retirement, right?
I couldn’t have done that if we were still in debt.
Benefit 6: The ripple effect of becoming debt-free on relationships
When my husband first told me how much debt we had, I raged and railed and cursed my lot. I was furious with my husband, the economy, and my refusal to engage in money decisions.
When acceptance downed, I stopped being angry. We started working together to pay off the debt, and once this was done, we continued to work together for our future.
Our relationship was stronger than ever, and we were, and still are, true partners in everything.
Benefit 7: Generosity and debt-freedom
It is true: you cannot help anyone before you help yourself.
People in debt are too focused on their survival to consider the lot of people around them.
Once we were debt-free, we started contributing to different charities. And I am not talking the occasional contribution here; we have monthly payments to charities we believe in.
Benefit 8: Living debt-free means we can enjoy beauty again
When burdened with debt, people worry about survival, not beauty.
We have lived consumer debt-free for ten years now, and it means that I:
- Go to the florist and buy flowers.
- Book tickets to the theatre/concert.
- Take my PhD students for coffee and pay for it – after all, I still remember how broke I was.
- Don’t worry about my son going hungry.
- Don’t have nightmares about living in a Dickens novel, especially not Little Dorit.
- Live my future rather than only dream about it.
- Go to bed and fall asleep without medication.
- Wake up without butterflies of tension in my belly.
Finally, what is it like to be debt-free?
In conclusion, what is it like to be debt-free?
It’s like stepping out of a dark tunnel into the sunlight of possibility and freedom.
The benefits of debt-free living are not limited to financial security but extend to improved health, increased confidence, and stronger relationships. It’s a life where dreams become achievable, retirement becomes enjoyable, and generosity becomes second nature.
If you find yourself burdened by debt, remember that taking steps towards becoming debt-free can lead to a brighter, more fulfilling future.
Start your journey today, and you’ll go from debt nightmares to living the dream.