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  • The Franklin Fi
  • Shane Dillon

Choose Happiness

People don’t work to gain wealth anymore. Many people find that they are working to pay off their accumulated debt. It’s tough out there, I get it.


The mistake many of us make is that we take out more debt than we can pay off in our lifetime. It is unfortunate that many Americans spend more money than they make and fall into this debt trap for the rest of their lives.


One of my favorite past-times is reading financial blogs, headlines, such as below are commonplace in today’s economy:


“78% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck.”


If there is a sliver of truth to these claims and I think there are, we should all be very worried.


Eight out of ten of us survive paycheck to paycheck and are in danger of becoming slaves to our wages. This is why Americans fall into the debt trap for the rest of their lives.


Auto Debt

Just drive down the road and count how many new cars there are on the road. For every ten cars you pass, six or seven of them will probably be new cars. Which would account for most of your eight out of ten Americans living paycheck to paycheck?



Think about this thought process:

I have to buy a new car to drive to work. I owe about $30,000 on it, plus I still have to pay for gas, insurance, and maintenance. I will never pay off car because, in five years, I am going to buy another new car to drive to work. Huh, I guess I am just driving to work to pay off all of my debts.


It’s crazy when you think about it!


Buying a new car may be the worst investment you can make. If you can’t pay for your new car in cash, you create debt with the bank that may not get paid off for the rest of your life. Stop being a slave to your debts!


Types of Debt

Debt is a sum of money owed or due.


There are many types of debt; the most common forms of debt are student loans, credit card debt, car loans, and home mortgages.


What do all of these forms of debt have in common? Banks and other financial institutions will benefit from your debt, not you.



We all make choices about what we want to accumulate in life which many times results in taking out loans. We get the “stuff” we want and the bank gets richer. It is that simple.


Sure, you might get a little satisfaction from a new car for a month or two. But the bank gets six years of benefit out of that same car loan.


Debt = Hours You Have to Work

What people don’t consider is the debt you owe actually equals hours of your life working to pay it off.


Every dollar you owe, represents hours of your life that may have been better spent doing something more productive or enjoyable.


This is what is meant by “becoming a slave to your debt”.


Happiness Slavery vs. Wage Slavery

The time you have on this beautiful planet is limited. It is important to figure how to best manage your time in order to maximize your happiness.


Wouldn’t you rather look back on a lifetime of being a slave to happiness, than a slave to debt?



The decision is yours to make. For me, the choice is clear. I choose happiness.


Being a slave to happiness is a lot more rewarding than living paycheck to paycheck paying off debt with hours of my life. This is what led me to learning about personal finance and financial freedom.



Action Item:

Make a list of things that make you happy. Once you have identified your happiness, figure out a way to incorporate each item of happiness in your daily routine.


Lastly, write down a way that you can prolong your happiness.


For example:

Identify my happy things?

  • How can I incorporate happy things into my daily life?

  • How can I prolong my happiness each day?


My Happiness List:


Reading

  • Read ten minutes before bed each night.

  • Carry my book or Kindle with me throughout the day.


Cycling

  • Bicycle to work each day.

  • Take the long way home or go up into the mountains for a little extra exercise.


Writing

  • Write in my morning journal each morning.

  • Turn my morning journal entries into blog posts.


Reading Material:

Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results by James Clear