For a couple of decades now, we’ve been told that the best (and really only) way to achieve a functional level of wealth is to invest. Makes sense; after all, how else do you make money grow over the long term? Putting money into 401ks, IRAs, and real property have long been touted as the magical keys to the wealth kingdom. And when we talk about achieving wealth, of what really are we speaking? We are speaking of attaining financial independence – the ability to live unencumbered by the demands of work and creditors. To that end, I would suggest that you spend as much (or even more) energy on eliminating debt as in contributing to investments.
Unfortunately, the “debt is good because having stuff is great” mentality that has come into vogue over the recent decades has found many retirement-age people burdened with crushing debt, and it’s a shame. Whatever perceived reward lies therein is still a mystery to me, because I can imagine no greater reward than the financial freedom that comes with carrying absolutely zero consumer debt. Focus on achieving that end every bit as much as growing your retirement accounts – it is often the most important component to realizing ultimate financial independence.
Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor-At-Large www.ChristianMoney.com