The Debt Trap

I own and operate a television network, do regular segments on national and local radio, and write these columns each week that appear in newspapers, magazines, and online publications around the world. The one thing that all these media outlets have in common is that they live or die based on advertising. In the past several years, one of the fastest-growing types of advertising is debt. Whether it’s credit card offers, car loans, or debt-relief programs, it’s hard to go more than a few minutes without being confronted with an ad about debt. It seems to invade every part of our lives.

In the last 50 years, debt has gone from being a luxury for a few, to a convenience for many, to an addiction for most, and now a disease for all. Many people here in the United States, including me, are worried about our overwhelming national debt. It is a symptom of the crisis that is touching every area of society. Our government is made up of We, the People, and the debt that has been accumulated by our elected officials is a result of our willingness to accept high levels of debt in our personal lives.

Ironically, in the midst of this ocean of debt, there are a growing number of individuals who are choosing to live their lives debt free. As hard as it is for many people to believe, approximately one-third of personal residences in America have no mortgages. Many of the cars you see on the road today were paid for with cash, and there are many families who send their kids to college without the burden of student loan debt.

I believe in living debt-free but continuing to make house, car, and college payments; but instead of making them to banks or finance companies, I believe these payments should be made to yourself. If after you pay off your home mortgage, you continue making a monthly payment that you channel into investments, you will likely retire early as a millionaire. If you pay off your car but continue to make similar payments into your own car account, within a few short years, you will be able to walk onto any car lot and pay cash for your next automobile. If you will approach college expenses and retirement as a long-term project involving regular monthly payments to yourself, you will find that facing the prospect of your children or grandchildren going to college along with the idea of your own retirement to be things you no longer dread but goals you’re looking forward to.

As you go through your day today, commit to breaking the bonds of slavery and live your life debt free.

Today’s the day!



Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached by email at; on Facebook at; or follow Jim on Twitter @StovallAuthor.

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