We love it when people reach out to us to ask about our lifestyle, and we love talking about how it came to be — especially the financial aspect of it. So this past week we had the opportunity to speak in front of members of Credit Counselling Canada for their Annual General Meeting to show them what our life entails, talk about debt, and how we now live a life with less.
Credit Counselling Canada is an organization that helps people manage their credit. It’s estimated that Canadians average over $22,000 in debt. This isn’t good. When we had CC debt it sucked. You can barely keep your head above water. And the funny thing is, that debt came to be because of the want and desire for more “stuff”.
Organizations like these are here to help though, and while we didn’t require their help to eliminate our credit card debt, others do or will need help. I used to judge people quite a bit, but my travels have put that personality trait behind me. It’s easy to judge, especially when people are in debt like that: of course you’re in debt, look at all that bling you’re wearing! But people have their weaknesses, their reasons for buying stuff, perhaps it’s an addiction, perhaps it’s depression —we don’t know, so we don’t judge.
But what we can do is try to help others and explain that material stuff doesn’t matter. You won’t gain more friends or become more popular. Stuff surely won’t make you happier. And wherever we end up when we die, I’m pretty sure your stuff will have to remain here, most likely for someone else to have to deal with.
Credit card debt is so easy to get into as well, and banks are making it even easier to get a Line of Credit too. In fact, we just had to renew our mortgage, and in doing so, we were magically pre-approved for a new Visa…no thanks. Are you sure? Yes, I’m 100% sure I don’t need an avenue to go into more debt. Canada’s banks are some of the most profitable banks in the world, they don’t need any more of my money — they’re doing fine without that extra credit card.
Teaching people about debt isn’t easy — often people end up learning the hard way by accumulating lots of stuff, then either filing for bankruptcy or forking over massive amounts of interest payments to creditors for years on end. It really should be something taught in school. Give a kid a school credit card for the year with a zero balance, and when they finish the year that card has to have a zero balance or they don’t pass. I don’t know the semantics of it all, but there really should be some help, some more insight about debt, what it can do, maybe some more responsibility instilled. We shouldn’t all have to go to the school of hard knocks and learn the hard way!
A big thanks to Credit Counseling Canada for inviting us to speak about our adventure, lessons we learned about debt, and sharing our life with less stuff!
Now go sell all your stuff and get out of debt!