Today I was going to write a post about the beginning process for filing insurance claims in the setting of a total loss…i.e. my house and an entire community worth of homes going poof. Unfortunately and fortunately I have been too busy to get to that post.
Between wonderful friends inviting us over for dinners, Halloween, call, talking to property adjusters, talking to lawyers, architects, the county and city, and organizing receipts to ensure I am paid back from my insurance, I have been busy.
Still I plan on getting to a bunch of posts soon. For instance, why am I talking to adjusters (plural) and lawyers? Short answer, the insurance company has not been as generous as I initially had thought they would be. The more hoops they make me jump through, the more apt I am to seeking further advice.
Anyway, we will save those posts for another day. Today I publish something I probably wrote 2 months ago. It is about being debt free and how preposterous that once sounded to me.
Being debtless? A joke!
When I was young, I grew up in a Muslim household. Not Muslim in that we ever went to mosque (maybe once in my childhood) or that I was raised on strong tenants of religion. More like a Muslim who left a country because it became too Muslim and less Western. Yes I am talking about Iran in the 1980s. Still, I was Muslim and so I took it upon myself to learn something’s about such said religion. If I was going to be made fun of as a kid growing up in the South, then I might as well know why I was being made fun of.
I digress….being debtless
So one of the interesting things I learned was that a person can not make there once in a lifetime obligatory trip to Mecca (also known as the Hajj) if they have debt. Now as a kid I thought this was crazy, but the rules clearly state that a person should fulfill all of their debts and be able to pay their way to Mecca before trying to go.
Seems simple enough. Makes sense that you should be clean of debt and your duty to others before fulfilling a duty to God and yourself. But still, I thought it was crazy. This is impossible. There is no way to be debt free. Maybe in other countries or back in 600 AD, but not in modern America. I knew this idea was insane because I grew up in a house that treated debt as a way if life.
Why is debt inevitable?
It was not that my parents had a lot of debt, they just never seemed to be discuss being debt free. At minimum we could expect to have a 30-year mortgage until, well for 30 years. Right? And there are credit cards. Oh and car loans. Lots and lots of way to borrow money to buy things and stay in debt. Ah what a pipe dream to be debtless.
So this is how I lived most of my life thus far. To be exact, 34 years of my life. Actually probably more like 35 years of my life, and I am just 37. Even when I started getting my financial house in order I did not plan on being debt free. Just debt free with a 30 year mortgage.
How naive. Funny how a child felt that debt was inevitable. What a terrible way to grow up and think. Society put it in my young head that I would never be debt free. Ever.
I suspect I am not the only kid growing up this way. Considering that 8 in 10 Americans are in debt (per this article) it is not surprising we would grow up expecting debt to be part of modern day life. Even in this article about debt, there is a quote from an “expert” that “(Americans) know they need debt, but they don’t actually want it”.
THEY NEED DEBT! We only need debt because we buy things we can’t afford because society has convinced us to buy stuff.
Wisen up young buck!
Alas, I have wised up. While now I am not particularly interested in going on a pilgrimage to Mecca and not particularly religious, I now know I can be debt free. It is possible. It just takes planning, saving, and not making stupid money mistakes. Once I am debt free, then I am free. I am free to pursue my own interests and if that includes going to Mecca, well then it would be my prerogative.
So wisen up America. You too can be debt free! Even if you grew up thinking debt was an inevitable part of life, Maybe you were wiser, knowing to never take on too much debt.