Becoming Debt Free in a Debt Driven World

Recently, there has been a lot of news about the US fiscal cliff and how Congress needs to raise the debt ceiling to avoid falling off. If we did this in our households, in a short period of time, we would be in bankruptcy. It doesn't make any sense to have 535 educated individuals making decisions for 315 million Americans if they can't even balance their own checkbook. All of these individuals are highly educated and yet can't seem to figure out that the US has a spending problem, not a debt problem. Now, the US debt has reached 107% of its GDP and is quickly closing in on a Greece style of bankruptcy. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the direction this country is going in is now heading full-steam ahead.

Just because the government is borrowing itself into oblivion, doesn't mean that we as consumers need to follow suit. When I was a kid, I remember my parents and grandparents priding themselves about living a debt free lifestyle. People didn't fly to Hawaii and put it on their charge card and pay for it later. If someone wanted to go on vacation, they would save until they had enough money to travel. There used to be a phrase when someone went to Europe or Hawaii and it was a "vacation of a lifetime". Today, people take their families on extravagant vacations by using their charge card and paying for it later. The problem is this debt is compounding itself as people borrow more to consolidate bills. Prior to the financial crisis in 2007, the real estate bubble drove the credit markets as many Americans borrowed out all the equity of their homes to spend frivolously. These fools were spending like drunken sailors with this newfound wealth thinking it would never come to an end. I heard many young couples stating that if they got into trouble, they would sell their property at a profit and buy something cheaper. By now everyone knows what happened and how it didn't work out according to these folks plans. Incidentally, most of these people lost their homes to foreclosure and ended up filing bankruptcy.

Americans need to learn from their mistakes and get back to living the debt-free lifestyle of our parents and grandparents. Nothing's wrong with making mistakes as long as we can learn from them. That's why it's so important for our elected officials to always look at history to avoid making the same mistakes that other countries made in the past. For those that are now buried under piles of credit card debt, there is still hope with filing for bankruptcy. Filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy will wipe out those past credit card debts and give the person a chance to start over being virtually debt-free. Sometimes in this world it's next to impossible to be completely debt-free because of necessities of life that it makes more sense to buy on credit like a mortgage. Where individuals need to be careful is overextending themselves and living beyond their means. After filing for bankruptcy, a person should budget themselves to avoid making the same mistakes they made in the past. A bankruptcy attorney will usually advise their clients to take their time signing up for any new credit after the discharge. While no one really wants to file bankruptcy, sometimes it is in their best interest to put aside their pride and move forward with the bankruptcy filing to get that fresh start.

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