Debt Free

February 12th, 2009, by

Q: Thank you for providing the great resources, especially the budget planning and expense tracking information. Reading your column has helped me plan better for my future. I am saving and can see a brighter future, including being debt free. Keep up the great work.

–Michele Earney, Minnesota, mother of 4

A: I didn’t post this note because it was a pat on my back (even though it’s nice to know my advice is helping). I wanted to share this message because, in this recession and global economic crisis, it helps to see that some people are doing well. Not perfect, but well.

This mother of four mentioned two little words that always warm my heart, “debt free.”

Becoming debt free is a goal that you too can go for.

I know we are a debtor’s nation. Our government is in debt. Corporate America is limping along in debt. And far too many individuals are mired in debt. It becomes easy to think debt is, and always has to be, part of your past and future.

But it doesn’t have to be.

You can buy a car for cash and not get into auto debt.

You can use a credit card and pay it off the next month without rolling over debt for things you probably can’t even recall you purchased a month later.

You can go to college without student loans. It will be tough. You may have to live at home and stay in state, but it can be done.

And you can pay off your home before they bury you six feet under.

The good news from this current recession is Americans are saving again. The U.S. personal savings rate trended upwards in the last few months in 2008. The savings rate rose to 3.6% in December, according to the Commerce Department.

Americans’ personal savings rate fell into negative territory in 2005, something that hadn’t happened since the Great Depression.

So, as hard as financial times are right now, don’t give up hope. Keep that goal of getting out of debt front and center.

Last modified: April 18, 2011 at 2:41 pm