Quarantine Crossroads: Tip #66

How to Survive and Thrive in Times of Scarcity

This Coronavirus pandemic has hit us in ways we never imagined possible in today’s modern world, making us rethink what life is supposed to be all about. While countless suffer in heartbreaking ways, many of us would benefit by using this time to reevaluate our lives. For is it not life’s grand events that serve as the catalyst for major change?

I cannot think of a better time to reexamine our lives than this current quarantine predicament. Instead of worrying and feeling sorry for ourselves, what a great opportunity for reflection…and change. It seems we have all hit a crossroads in our life at the exact same time. What a wonderful launching point for some of the big life changes that we’ve known for years we need to make.

In that spirit, I share some of the most applicable Life Tips from my first book. I truly hope these tips will provoke you to change.

Life Tip #66: Watch your credit card debt.

This is another obvious Life Tip, but one that too many of us ignore.

Apparently, most of us are not heeding this advice. In doing research on this subject, I found estimates for our average credit card balances to be anywhere from $6,000 to $15,000, depending on the source. In its State of Credit: 2017 report, Experian found that the average balance on credit cards for the typical American consumer was $6,354, and that same consumer holds three credit cards and more than two retail credit cards. You would have thought we learned our lesson in the early 2000s, and again in the 2008 recession, but how quickly we forget.

I will be one more voice in the wilderness to shout it out, yet I speak from experience.

It takes the blink of an eye to get into heavy credit card debt, but it can take a depressingly long time to get out. As young newlyweds, we quickly got into considerable credit card debt, and once we had those high balances—even when we stopped adding to the debt—we spun our wheels for several years just to keep up with the high interest rates. When we finally committed to getting rid of the debt, it was a Herculean task to pull off.

Perhaps the most demoralizing thing about credit card debt, beyond the amount of wasted interest that you are paying, is the drain on your psyche, the robbing of all sense of financial peace, joy, and freedom. When you are being suffocated by debt, you have to remain in jobs and careers that you are not passionate about, just to pay the bills. That is perhaps the greatest tragedy of credit card debt. The debt keeps you stuck in a life that you may not even want. You’ve sacrificed your goals, dreams, and passions for a materialistic lifestyle, and then you are trapped by that same material stuff. Years pass and dreams fade away, all because you are paying off debts that only satisfied instant gratification.

Folks, don’t do as I and many others have done. And if you have children, start preaching this to them as soon as possible. One of the greatest gifts you can give your children is the knowledge of financial responsibility.

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