The borrower is slave to the lender- part 4

“$104,221.89 of debt paid off in 12 months!!Yes, 12 months!! We spent the first year of our marriage aggressively paying off debt. Why? Because debt is one of the biggest barriers we have standing in our way of having a large family and being a family that gives! How did we do it? My wife and I worked multiple jobs, including weekends and overnight shifts (sometimes 90+ hour weeks). We lived on one income,committed to a strict budget, constant communication, delayed gratification, and more importantly we surrounded ourselves with like minded people who encouraged us to keep going when we wanted to give up. Getting into debt is easy but getting out is extremely hard. We are almost halfway done with paying off our loans. We hope you will be steadfast on your debt free journey as well! It is definitely possible. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like going against the grain. Later, of course it pays off handsomely.”-Instagram @leoj.l
This is one of the many stories I read on a daily basis to remind myself why I want to be debt free and encouragement to keep going.I am part of the #DebtFreeCommunity. I wrote in a previous column about the importance of fostering high quality relationships. Studies show that over time your income will approximate to about 10% of that of your closest friends and more importantly, we become who we hang around with. If you hang around people who are irresponsible with money, it is only a matter of time until you are the same way. I met a lot of people who wanted to get their financial acts together but there were very few who were actually taking the steps to turn things around. When I speak about my intention to be debt free by thirty, a lot of people, even those close to me are concerned at the “gazelle intensity” with which I intend on attacking my debt.
Debt has been sold to us with such fervour that any other method of making large purchases seems absurd. Even if we have the cash to finance these major purchases, you are advised to “use someone else’s money instead.” Debt has become the single story of advancement. To say you want to get out of debt and remain debt free is almost always met with resistance and arguments in favour of debt. It is truly very lonely. I, however, in true Millennial style, went looking for like minded strangers on the internet who reject debt in all its forms and are working hard to free themselves from the bondage of debt. In the #DebtFreeCommunity there are many views on which course to take to being debt free. I have found a place in the Dave Ramsey Babysteps Community, “Where debt is dumb, cash is king and the paid off home mortgage has taken the place of the fancy car as the status symbol of choice!”
These strangers on the internet share their stories and I too, cheer them on with heart emojis and congratulatory GIFs. Most of them are Americans, and while our commonality is our desire to be debt free, as the African in the group I often cannot relate or engage meaningfully in some of the conversations. In addition, there are some African money issues that are unique to us such as black tax and the logistics of weddings to name a few.
Batswana are, in my opinion a peaceful, kind and generous people. All of us have seen this in our own lives at weddings, funerals and even the kind strangers who wait by the side of the road to help when an accident has taken place. How much more generous could we be if we were not indebted, if we did not work for those whom we owe money but for ourselves and generations to come? It is said that one of the higher learning institutions was established by the generosity of a group of Batswana who each donated a cow to realise a dream that is very much alive today. As we enjoy the Independence holidays, it is my desire for every Motswana to remember the values that make us who we are and see debt as one of the enemies of our progress as a nation. Many years ago the market crashed because broke people were buying things they couldn’t afford with money they didn’t have, and its effects were felt the world over. The borrower is slave to the lender is not just a saying, it is the truth.
With the Independence holidays fast approaching, I think of the many Batswana struggling with debt. I decided to create a platform for us to share our stories and encourage each another to get out of debt, have fully funded emergency funds, learn to save, invest and lastly, like our forefathers, give for the betterment of the generations to come. We are the golden child of Africa, the poster child of peace and democracy but is it really a free country if her people are slaves to debt? We need to get out of debt!!
Check out the DebtFreeCommunityBW Facebook page.
PS: You don’t have to be a hero, you just have to be what most people aren’t, consistent.