This can hold you back from living the life you want
I love the game of Monopoly. Many hours of my life have been spent with me trying to get that magical combo of Park Land and Mayfair, to put hotels on them, and to keep building to collect my win. I’ve had some epic wins and some terrible loses and for some reason I have never won that beauty contest.
Often in life I see the value in the many lessons that Monopoly has taught me. Build your assets slowly, don’t take high risks, and building good relationships are a few lessons that come to mind. But to me there’s one major floor in the design of the game of Monopoly that doesn’t represent life. At the beginning of a game of Monopoly you get given enough money to survive in the first period of the game and you do nothing for this financial gain. I wonder how the game would be different if you started with nothing?
Unfortunately life is different to a game of a Monopoly, when we first start out we have nothing and it’s up to us to start building the life we want. One of the biggest dangers we have during this first period is debt. While debt is tempting in this first stage, as it can help to provide the things we want before we can actually afford them, it does come at a cost. I’m not just talking about the interest that you may pay.
You may be wondering, what’s the fitness guy doing talking about finances?
When I first left school I got a low paying job that didn’t really stretch me. Over the next couple years I managed to aquire quite a bit of debt. I had a bed that cost thousands, the latest gadgets, and a car that made me think I was pretty cool but made my bank account look pretty hollow. After a couple years in my ‘going nowhere’ job I decided that I wanted a better life, that I was going to go to university and study. While I knew this was good for my life there was one big problem. I had a huge amount of debt! While I was 100% ready to transition into a better life I was stuck to the bad financial decisions I had made over the last two years. These bad decisions meant that I would have to delay going to university for another year so I could pay off my debt. My debt was stopping me from having the life that I truly wanted. To me that’s a massive cost, a cost much worse than the interest I had to pay.
I know some people will be reading this thinking that there is good debt and bad debt. Good debt can help you grow assets that will bring you income in the future and bad debt helps to pay for purchases that give you no return in the long term. The important question I think we all need to ask ourselves is: Does my debt hold me back from living the life that I want to live?
Are you trapped in a job you don’t like? Do you work longer hours than you want to? Do you never have time for yourself because you have to make money? If you had no debt would you be able to make different decisions in these areas?
I meet a guy a while ago who had decided that he didn’t like his job and that he wanted to exercise a lot more everyday. So he quit his job, went part time in a job that he liked, and filled his extra time up with exercise. He was loving his life. This inspired me, I was impressed that he had the courage to make this decision. When I asked him if it was hard he said ‘Not really, I’ve always been good with money so I had the freedom to make this choice’. This is an example of the value in being good with money. You get to make choices about your life without the strings of debt attached.
If you are sitting on top of a lot of debt right now it will take some time to get rid of it, but do your best to knock it out and not add to it at the same time. If you are someone who is young and just starting out, avoid bad debt like the plague. It may allow you to have some cool stuff right now but there’s a cost that may restrict you later on down your path.
The greatest benefit of being good with money and avoiding debt that restricts you is freedom. Freedom to make decisions that make your life better, to be who you want to be and do what you want to do. To me that's a pretty cool life.
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