EOD SHORT: Episode 1 – Behavior Meets Reality

One of the most common phrases that people use to validate wasting their money is that they “only live once”. Without getting into any theological and philosophical arguments, let’s just assume that statement is true. You only live once, so my question to you would be this. What are you waiting for?

What does it mean to live life to the fullest? It’s obviously a relative statement, and would depend on what someone considers to be “living a full life“. What it means to you, could be far from what it means to me. For some people, it means constantly seeking the next best adrenaline rush, right up until the very end. For others it’s getting married, having kids, working hard, making it to retirement where the beaches are endless, and the views are plentiful.

That’s great, but here’s what it means to me. It simply means to live my life being as happy as I can be, helping as many people as I can help, and loving as much as I can love. There are a lot of ways to get there, and there are a lot of obstacles in my path. My goal is to make that path as obstacle-free as possible. You probably already know where I am going with this don’t you?

“Hmmm…well this is a personal finance blog, and the guy really does hate debt.”

YES IT’S DEBT!!!

Debt is an obstacle that was keeping me from experiencing that “living life to the fullest” feeling, I was desperately seeking. It definitely took my hope, slammed it on the ground, and stomped on it tirelessly. It kept me from helping a lot of people too, and for the purpose of this argument I am referring to money. Being in debt kept me from being able to give the way I know God wants me to give. I think people have misinterpreted it to mean, “give” all your money to the banks!

The banks don’t help your neighbors.

It also kept me from loving and protecting my family as best I could. The best I could was not ignoring the fact that we had no emergency fund, and $26,076.75 in debt. The best I could was not giving my each and every paycheck up, to pay for something I enjoyed in memories past. And that’s just financially!

What about psychologically? The best I could do was be stressed out most of the time. The best I could do was point fingers and blame others. Being stressed and fighting about money will most definitely keep you from living life to the fullest, if it doesn’t flat out ruin it all together. Debt can bring your whole world crashing down in an instant.

When it does, will you be able to say you truly lived life to the fullest?

One minute you are on top of the world, and the next minute you are shaking hands with life. What would your conversation with life sound like? Let’s listen and see.

Welcome to the very first episode of the “EOD Shorts”. (as in short story)

EOD SHORTS

Episode 1: Behavior Meets Reality (Guest starring – Life as himself)

(You are trying to live life to the fullest, but something is stopping you and you just don’t know what it is. Your finances are in shambles, bill collectors are blowing your phone up while telling you you’re not a man, and the word divorce is starting to creep into each and every conversation with your spouse. Let’s face it, you are about to hit rock bottom.)

That”s when you are introduced to LIFE…again.

YOU: Hey life. Man, where did you come from? We were just about to live life to the fullest.

LIFE: Yeah well, I tried to hold off on stopping by until you were better prepared, but I just couldn’t wait anymore.

YOU: I wish you could of waited just a little bit longer, because we just cannot get any traction. Our debt is killing us, causing us to fight, we can barely put food on the table, and me and the wife (or vice-versa :D) are talking about getting a divorce. What am I supposed to do now?

LIFE: Ever considered living debt free? There are tons of free resources to help you, but the main thing is that you have to change your behaviors. You are broke, and it has everything to do with the decisions you’ve made. If you were out of debt, it wouldn’t solve all your problems, but it could certainly give you an advantage that you currently don’t have.

YOU: (head down, depressed) I guess you could be on to something, but where in the world do I begin? I’m just not motivated.

LIFE: Well there’s been some talk about this guy that runs a blog called Enemy of Debt. It sounds like he means business, and from what I’ve heard he tells it like it is. I’ve heard stories of him getting in people’s faces and actually slapping them with the cold hard truth. They say it works though,ย  if you’re really ready for change. Here, take this business card and go subscribe. It’s free, what do you have to lose?

YOU: Man, I am so sick and tired of being sick and tired. You really think he can motivate me to get this resolved? I can do nothing and hit rock bottom, or I can turn things around. Common sense says to….

LIFE: (Rudely interrupts) Yeah yeah okay, but you still owe me $1800 for the caved in plumbing.

MORAL OF THE STORY:

Get out of debt so you can live your life to the fullest, because like they say, “you only live once”. Oh yeah, one more thing. Life doesn’t care if you’re prepared or not, it’s going to happen regardless. You may as well do the work to prepare for when it does.

GO LIVE BY LIVING DEBT FREE!! Enemy of Debt can help!

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section. let’s talk about living life to the fullest, shall we?

About Brad Chaffee

24 Responses to “EOD SHORT: Episode 1 – Behavior Meets Reality”

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  1. On the “you only live once” philosophy (or is it really a justification???), if that’s the case, it seems one of the main drivers in life would be the elimination of stress where ever possible. That would include, perhaps first and foremost, the elimination of debt, which would target consumption!

    Debt is a kind of repentance for past sins, so the less of that we have, the less repenting and the more living we can do. As consumption grows, debt grows, and so does stress. There’s no way that can bring us to a happy place.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Amen Kevin!!

      The thought process behind someone using that line to justify wasteful and frivolous spending is looking at it all backwards! Great comment!

  2. Hey Brad im totally off topic but I thought this was so cool i had to share! I was in the fpu resource center and I came across these comments of people who are using your spreadsheets!!! very very neat, im sure you already know ur famous but I just think its super cool when people are out giving you mad props!! check it out……………..

    I saw this link here somewhere, and I downloaded it. I did our budget on here the other day and it is super easy! Not that our budget balances just yet, but the spreadsheet is easy to use.

    I found the enemyofdebt.com link last weekend and it is awesome. Not only did it help with the budget and allocated spending forms which I was overwelmed over but it also has a checkbook register AND a savings spreadsheet. I was so excited I wanted to jump up and down and shout. After working with the spreadsheets I not only have a balanced budget and allocated spending budget but I know we will have our BEF NEXT MONTH.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Mikki that is so awesome! I posted that so long ago, it’s cool to know that people are using it and benefiting from it! Your comment made my day, sorry it took me so long to get over here to tell you! Thanks for the smile!!!!

      for the record everyone, Miss Divine & Debt Free is my accountability buddy from FPU! That’s how we met! Go check out her blog to follow her progress in this wonderful debt free journey!

  3. Donna Korzun says:

    For me, living life to its fullest is about God, family and serving others. To that end, being debt free is essential! To be able to give, you must have and not owe. It takes discipline to stay on task but you need a goal to enable you to do without so you may bless others. I pray that I can stay on track and bless others to please my Lord and bring glory to Him.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Donna your comment is spot on! One of the things I have enjoyed so much since becoming debt free, is being able to help out someone when they need it. Being debt free gives you more options.

      I always use the example about the airline pre-flight talk. “In case of a problem, secure the oxygen mask over your face first, and then help your neighbor”.

      You can do a whole lot more when you are prepared yourself! Bottom line! Thanks for the wonderful comment Donna!

  4. ctreit says:

    This post made me smile because it hits the nail on its head so well. Why is the mantra “you only live once” hijacked by big spenders? You turn it around in a very eloquent way because you really live only once. Why load up more stress (from debt and other bad money habits) when you get only one go-around?

    Let me add one more argument to your case. Since we live only once, we should not be reckless with this one and only life we have. We should value each day we spend on this earth. And we should also value each dollar we spend on this earth since it is money that gets us through a good day in our society. Being reckless does not give proper justice to the precious life we have right now.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      It’s hijacked by big spenders because big spenders need an excuse! Hijacked was a great term for it too ctreit!

      Life is too precious to take it for granted! Great point! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. One of the toughest parts of being in debt for me is not being able to give as much as we would like to others. We do our best to give- but sometimes we just cant. I am excited for the day when we are able to give money to our friends in missions work. So excited.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      You are right there with many people ted! More people would give if they could. People don’t NOT give because they hate giving, they don’t because they can’t!

  6. There is no doubt that carrying debt restricts our ability to give freely, spend the time we’d like with our family and live the lifestyle that we desire. Yeah, I think I’ll pass!

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Being a great family man I knew you would appreciate this discussion. You aren’t doing your family any favors by wasting all of your money away!

      That’s why we are debt free my friend. Our families are more important than our wants, even if it hasn’t ALWAYS been that way.

  7. Forest says:

    I am around $40k in debt… I don’t earn a lot so couldn’t keep up and went on a Debt Management Plan…. Although I still have the debt interest and charges are frozen adn i pay around $200 a month for now…. Life is so much less stressful and I am just on the early path to build my emergency fund…. Yes I am MUCH happier.

    Thanks.

  8. Ken says:

    I so love the ‘conversation’ piece. What a good illustration of how we see life.

  9. Red says:

    Ain’t this the truth! The “you only live once” excuse bugs me just as much as the “we’re all going to die anyway” argument. You know what I’ve been the happiest? It wasn’t when I was getting so low on cash in the bank that I had to donate plasma just to eat. It wasn’t when I was spending hundreds on a vacation (though the time spent with friends was fun!). I’m the happiest when I’m spending time with my family in our homes, doing absolutely nothing that costs money. We could be making homemade pizza or playing Super Mario Bros. Wii. I’d rather be at home with D than racking up debt any day! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      That’s exactly what I am talking about, and could be another post all together. Where do we find happiness? When you find out the answer to that you will know why you are struggling financially with loads of debt. I like the saying, “If you wanna know what’s important to you just look at what you spend your money.!”

  10. Christina says:

    I love your post. What living life to the fullest may differ depending on the persons perspective but definitely being debt free is essential in attaining what we want to do in life, being content in life doesn’t necessarily mean being complacent, being frugal doesn’t mean depriving yourself. There are lot of ways to live life to the fullest consider it as a journey and try to eliminate set backs that will hamper you from doing what you want and have to. Thanks for sharing such a short story of the realities of life.

  11. Brad Chaffee says:

    Now to you all! Sorry it took me so long to respond here. Normally that is not the case, but you may not be aware that I went skiing all day Wednesday, got behind like crazy, put our house on the market, and just now, I am getting caught up. ๐Ÿ™‚ I thank you so much for your comments and hope that my delay in responding doesn’t deter you from commenting in the future.

    Thank you very much!

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