The simple formula for getting faster is to lose weight and workout according to a training plan. Fifteen unnecessary pounds entering a marathon slows the runner as much as thirty seconds per mile, adding thirteen minutes to the finishing time.

The simple formula for getting wealthier is to spend less than earned and invest prudently. Carrying a constant $5000 credit card balance at 18% interest could reduce personal net worth by more than $100,000 over thirty years. A $50,000 balance for the same period costs over one million dollars.1

Debt used wisely is not a problem. The problem is applying wisdom to the choice of debts. Debt can be addicting, and for people unable to keep their credit cards paid every month, moving to a cash-only system makes sense.

But most major purchases involve some form of financing. Buying a home to live in or a vehicle to commute in are both justifiable uses of debt. The home could become more economical housing than future alternatives, and it is likely to appreciate. The car is going to depreciate, but with low-cost loans, it makes economic sense to pay for it over time as it loses value.2

However, many Americans use debt to acquire things that should be paid for using income. Spending on things that are consumed, like food, clothing, and entertainment must be limited to the levels of current income. Or, in the case of a temporary setback, such as a layoff or illness, to the level of emergency reserve savings.

Debt abusers jeopardize their independence. A retired debt abuser is likely to squander any retirement reserves during the “go-go” years of retirement, making them increasingly dependent on others during the slow-go and especially during the no-go phases.

Fortunately, just like losing weight is simple (burn more calories than consumed) but hard to implement, there are tools & strategies to help debt abusers conquer their addiction. At Enduring Wealth Advisors® we can help evaluate the costs and benefits of major purchases and their likely impact on the pursuit of financial goals. Contact us to arrange a meeting to discuss your situation.

Sidebar

People often start a running program to lose weight. That is backwards! Overweight people should not start running until after they lose the excess weight. Our bodies are not designed to carry excess weight and running dramatically increases pressure on the joints supporting the body.

The only way to lose weight is to burn more calories than consumed. Walking burns virtually the same calories per mile as running, and it is easier on the joints. Most people cover twice as many miles per hour running as they do walking, so running is more efficient. But starting from the couch, build up to it! Develop a walking discipline while reducing the calorie intake and shedding weight.

In preparation for my next phase of competitive running, I found “My Fitness Pal” an excellent app for counting calories. It works both on my smartphone and computer, and after the first week or two using it, the foods I generally consume are quick and easy to log.

I blame a pulled hamstring last Fall for gaining back most of the weight I’d lost, but I’m back on track. I’m currently averaging about 50 miles per week and starting to introduce some tempo, fartlek, and intervals into my training. I plan to run my hometown’s Pocono Mountains Run for the Red Marathon on Sunday, May 20 as a test of my fitness.
 

1 Assume interest-only payments of $75 per month or 18% annually get diverted from a retirement investment earning 8% over 30 years. In addition to the $24,000 interest payments going to the credit card company, the hypothetical investment stream grows to $111,777. A balance ten times larger increases the burden ten-fold.

2 The average life of a new car is about 14 years, and if kept for most of its useful life, buying a new car makes sense. However, replacing them every few years just to own the latest model falls into the category of conspicuous consumption.

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