Recently a person who shall remain nameless made to me an argument stating that money is bad, nay, EVIL. I will not bother to detail this person or their argument further except to say that this is what inspired what I'm about to say. So let's start off by insulting almost everyone who will read this.
It is a fact that most Americans are clueless about money. I know this because data illustrates it: right now (October 2013) the average American has a credit card debt of $15,000.00 and "homeowners" an average mortgage debt of $148,000.00. Right now 47 million Americans are on food stamps, and another 7 million make more on welfare than they do working at McDonald's. Let's ignore the rising student loan debts because education is a investment with real dividends. If Americans had real financial education and understood about money they would not be so willing to enslave themselves to the monthly mortgage and credit card debt payment, the cell phone bill, the car payment, the gym membership, the cable television subscription, the restaurant bill, the tobacco bill, the alcohol bill.
I talk to these average Americans: some hard working, some disabled or on welfare, some working two jobs and still need to take food stamps to feed their kids. I've met hundreds of them in my personal and professional life, and I hold them no ill will in fact the opposite. When I talk to these lower and middle income but debt-ridden people I listen carefully about how they talk about money.
This essay is to those willfully ignorant people who act as though they do know about money - an absurdity considering their often self-impoverished state of debt. If you people can't manage your own finances, don't authoritatively speak concerning t government spending or personal fiscal policies or why capitalism is wrong or why you favor a resource based economy.
Briefly, let me demonstrate without bragging too much that I am qualified to preach on this subject. I am at the present time 28 years old, single by choice. I own rental property that makes me financially independent, meaning that I do not ever have go work a 9/5 in order to continue existing. I save money every single month. I have zero and I mean ZERO debt. I did this all myself - I grew up very poor and started working (and saving) full time at 15.
Enough about me. By now you will either trust me as an authority who knows what he's talking about or you don't. Yes, I believe my credentials make my opinion more valuable than someone who is debt-laden. Moving on, let us start at the beginning. What is money?
Now pay attention because this next part is important. Money is how you keep track of who owns who. Every single debt you have constitutes you being a literal slave via credit card or mortgage agreement to the slave-owner for the duration. Every single entity to which you owe money is holding a knife at your throat threatening always to cut you if you behave in any contrary way. This threat of violence is not invisible - but tangible in a very real sense. You feel the stress impelling you to go to work even when you feel misused and abused by your employer. You understand that if you don't pay your car payment men will come and legally steal your vehicle. You understand that if you do not make your house payment, you will be threatened with eviction and eventually violently (but legally) expelled by your slave-master's thugs. You feel the looming ostracism if for any reason your social status should decrease.
This is where most people make their mistake - they think to themselves that "this is just the way it is" or that "I can't help it because I don't make enough money" or a myriad of other excuses. The real thought ringing throughout their mind should be: how can I avoid this situation? These are the words I have for all you debt laden masses:
For anyone who truly values freedom, you must seek it in your own life. Abundance of money is a pure expression of true freedom. You cannot be free when you must labor each day for the slave-masters named Visa, Ford, Wells Fargo, and yes Uncle Sam.
If you internalize the concepts that lust of freedom for yourself and your family is necessarily desire for money, you can start to change your internal way of thinking. You have to learn to love money, but hate what money buys. Every purchase must be reluctant. Think like a capitalist. You will understand that unspent money is infinite possibilities. Spent money can only be one thing - ever. If you are more free the more choices and possibilities available to you then you are more free the more unspent money you have. Because money is important to you, you will value it. You will realize that people who do not value money do not care to keep it, and so cause their own suffering.
This desire for freedom should be so strong that you are quite willing to endure ostracism and give up social status: trade in your new car and buy a used car to eliminate your car payment thus lowering your insurance and tax liability. Pay off your mortgage as soon as possible. Cancel your magazine, television, cell phone subscription. Don't go out with friends or family if it means spending money. Eat simpler, and eat at home. Don't overindulge in pleasures like alcohol or tobacco. Do not buy gadgets or doodads. Do not buy people birthday or holiday presents. Spend less on gas and electricity by walking and by never using air conditioning.
Revel in the visceral pleasure of paying your debt off. Visualize yourself mentally orgasm upon seeing your savings account. Value money far above people. You must be selfish. You can best help your neighbor when you yourself are unburdened. Selfishness by putting yourself first results in more humanitarian thinking and behavior because you understand by experience what being financially happy and content is all about. And if you want to raise a family freedom is the ultimate way of expressing your love because you will give to them the ultimate you: unstressed with unlimited time and choice of activities.
Understand that you don't become wealthy by increasing your income, but by bridling your expenditures. Realize that your goal should be to buy things that generate you income so that some day you can work or not work according to your desire, in the field of your choice.
If you are married you must make this effort together. If you are single, I strongly urge you to ensure that your values are shared by your partner. This is a fundamental way of thinking about the world, far more immediate than any idea of religion, and more important to your daily life than any question of politics, opinion, attractiveness or background.
If you choose to start on this journey (and I really hope that you will) then know that you are not alone. Many have written on this subject - educate yourself. Perhaps read Robert Kiyosaki, listen to Dave Ramsay, try to imagine the mindset of Donald Trump.