2 min read

Starting the new year in debt

Recently, we held a little ceremony where each person was symbolically "let go" of 3 things in his or her life and symbolically "invited in" 3 other things. I was amazed that everyone's wishes were similar.

Every single person wanted to be debt free. Given that everyone at the party was 41 years old, much of our debt stems from the introduction of credit cards to our lives in college. We were the original guinea pigs testing the combination of credit cards and college students for disastrous results. Outside of the guy who lived in San Francisco in the high flying Reagan years, most of our debt originates in college.

I was fascinated by this Scientific American column about debt and bankruptcy. (Scientific American: Forgive Us Our Debts Explaining the rising tide of bankruptcy) You see when I started college many of my friends stated that they would borrow the maximum on their credit cards and student loans then declare bankruptcy on them when they graduated from college. After all, they would have no income and no way to pay for their debt. Anti-social? Of course. This irresponsible attitude also created the "everyone is a criminal" payment rules for student loans and starter credit cards.

Can we eliminate out of debt? According to the folks at the Daily Reckoning, we must eliminate our personal debt. Period. In Empire of Debt

, Bill Bonner and Addison Wiggins discuss their belief that the decline of the American empire is almost solely based in unprecedented over-spending and debting. (Addison Wiggins joins us for our "Awakening" Audio Magazine due to be released January 15, 2006)

Here at the Open Grove, we believe that it is not only financial debt but also a more personal, almost energetic, debt stemming for over stimulation and over commitment that is creates the discomfort of most Americans. As you begin to make your lists of the things you would like to "let go" of and "add" to your life, we urge you to consider giving up the habit of financial and energetic debting and adapt a more balanced, reciprocal attitude to everything in your life.