Having too much debt and you feel like you are drowning. I’ve felt like this for the past 10 years, in my opinion, financial progress is like the following analogy:
When we are younger, it’s like we are riding in a helicopter perhaps 20 to 50 feet above the ocean (living with our parents). Before you know it, we are putting on a wet suit to prepare for the leap out (like college). Once we get our wetsuit on, we jump deep into the cold hard water.
Down, down down we go, further into debt (credit card, auto, home, any debt). You are under water clawing up, trying to get to the surface to breath…
Once you get to the surface you feel sudden relief that you can breathe (you pay off all of your debt). You emerge from a dark potentially cold wet world, into the warm light air. You breathe deeply for a few minutes, relieved to be able to breath again. After a few seconds of happiness, you suddenly realize you are in the middle of the ocean and need to swim to shore of a distant island which could be miles away depending on multiple financial matters.
So you develop a strategy (action plan) to get to that island, taking into account the current and distance (the island being like your financial goals…). You start swimming towards that island a stroke at a time, small but crutial movements toward the island (goal). Some people get luck and their relatives (inheritances, trust funds, etc) come by and give them a boat. Other times (luck), they are only a few yards away from the shoreline. But for the rest of use, we have to swim a long distance (work for a living). Pacing ourselves for the long swim to shore (slow and steady savings).
Where am I currently at in this process?
Next month, I will have emerged from the ocean, gasping for air, happy to be able to breathe again. But unfortunately, the shore line is still very far for me, and I will have to develop a strategy for swimming the distance as quickly as possible without wearing myself out.
I’m happy to be able to breath again (being debt-free), but it’s still a long long way till shore…