Debt hangs over people. For most of us we can push it to the back of our minds, but it rarely leaves us untouched mentally. We still feel the stress and anxiety of having debt lurking around in the background.
Getting out of debt offers freedom from the burden and stress debt brings into our lives. It makes managing your money less stressful and it gives you the chance to do more with your life. It also has a ton of other benefits so today I’m sharing 10 reasons you should get out of debt.
1. Reduced Stress
Living with debt is stressful. You worry about paying the bills and what will happen if you lose your job or if you should feel guilty about spending money. The constant pressure of needing to work to support debt payments can cause massive amounts of stress. Those with high debt levels have stress levels 12% higher than the average person (https://news.northwestern.edu/stories/2013/08/high-debt-could-be-hazardous-to-your-health) and getting into debt beyond your ability to pay is one of the top five most stressful life events according to the Society of Occupational Medicine.
Becoming debt-free can literally help save your life by reducing stress and preventing the serious health consequences that come from constant stress. Getting rid of debt lets you feel less trapped and that feeling along with fewer bills reduces stress.
2. Better Mental Health
Unfortunately debt is linked to worse mental health. A Northwestern study found people with a lot of debt were 13% more likely to have depression symptoms. Other studies have found similar results especially when the debt is higher.
Even worse, like my half-sister, large debt loads that feel overhwelming can lead to suicidal thoughts. While that isn’t a good solution, it can be a factor for some that is heartbreaking.
Thankfully getting rid of debt leads to better mental health. When you are debt free you are less likely to suffer from anxiety or depression and people report being happier with their life as a whole. The feeling of knowing you own your car and house and don’t have any payments due can be a huge boost to your mental health and happiness.
3. More Free Income
Beyond the psychological factors, getting out debt just gives you more money to play with! When you have debt payments you are sending money to lenders instead of being able to spend it on things that you love.
When you pay off debt early and get out of debt you’ll have more money each month in your budget. If we weren’t paying a $1,200 mortgage payment each month we would have over $14,000 more in our budget each year to spend. That would buy us a lot of awesome things.
4. Less Risk
When you are in debt, you are taking risks. It might not feel that way, but if you are in debt and don’t have savings you are one emergency away from disaster. And if you are unable to meet payments on your debt you could end up in collections or bankruptcy or lose your house or car. There is a lot of risk involved when you owe someone money.
Reaching debt freedom removes these risks. A lender can’t come after you for non-payment. It gives you less risks of financial ruin when you don’t have debts.
5. Better Future For Kids
Your kids will have a better future if you are out of debt. There will be the freed up income that you can spend on your kids and their needs. You can also better save for their actual future by putting more money into a college savings fund.
Getting rid of debt also makes you a better parents because it improves your emotional state and mental health. Debt freedom reduces stress so you’re going to be a more pleasant person and your kids will benefit from that as well. They also benefit from a parent that can teach them about money and show them how to do it the right way and avoid massive debt.
Giving Penny a better financial start and a better life overall is a huge reason why I want to get out of debt.
6. Stronger Marriage
Marriages struggle under debt and money problems. The stress caused by the effects of debt can cause couples to be irritable and zap the loving feelings right out of the relationship. Fight about money can lead to tension and even divorce.
Getting on the same page financially and getting out of debt removes one area of potential conflict from your marriage. Working through getting rid of debt creates a stronger marriage since you’ve worked on a big problem together and succeeded.
Paying off debt and working as a team with my husband to pay off our debt has helped us better communicate and has strengthened our marriage.
7. Ability to Retire
If you’re in debt then chances are you aren’t saving enough for retirement because you’re busy paying off debt. Getting rid of the debt means you have more money freed up to save for retirement by investing.
The faster you get rid of debt the faster you will be able to save more for retirement. Without debt holding you back you could even try to retire early instead of working well into old age.
8. Ability to Help Others
Getting rid of debt gives you the opportunity to help others more often. My favorite thing about Dave Ramsey’s show is that he paints the picture of getting out of debt and building wealth so that you can not only enjoy it for yourself but use it to help others in life.
Getting rid of debt makes it possible for you to help other people when they needs it most. You can help friends and family get through a tough period financially and you can donate more to the charities that matter to you most. Research has shown that spending money to help others is a very rewarding experience. I love knowing my money is helping change lives and make the world a better place – I want to do more of that!
9. Guilt Free Spending
Let’s be honest, even when you have a budget and plan for expenses you still feel a little guilty spending money on things when you are in debt. I do even when I see the benefits of what I’m buying. But getting rid of debt gets rid of all that guilt and mental baggage around spending. Having no debt frees you up to spend what you want on whatever you want!
When you are in debt you might not even have the money to spend, guilty feelings or not. This can lead to spending on credit leading to more debt and a vicious cycle. Getting rid of debt for good takes you out of the cycle and you can use your money for guilt free spending on the things you enjoy.
Reason #10 to get out of debt is a huge personal reason for me. I want to be free from owing anyone anything. I want to be free to make my career choices not based on how I’ll be able to service debt payments but instead on how it affects the rest of my life.
Getting rid of debt gives you much more freedom in your life. It opens up more possibilities because you’re reduced expenses means you can change jobs or move or for some people even stop working.
Getting rid of debt gives you freedom. That’s what I want. That’s why I’m getting out of debt.
Why are you getting rid of debt?