By Barton Goldsmith
Tribune News Service
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) As psychotherapist Barton Goldsmith points out, “We spend a lot of our lives worrying about money. Living in financial insecurity is no fun, and many people have to deal with it every day. But if you can approach the topic from a place of wanting to understand more about how you can balance your financial life, it will become much less scary. And anything we can do to reduce that anxiety is a gift.”
Tribune News Service
There are a lot of books out there telling you how to be happier, and I spend a lot of energy on this topic in my columns, but all have failed to mention this one fact.
People who are debt-free are simply happier.
Whether you live in a mansion or a trailer, having no debt removes a great deal of stress from life. And that makes room for a lot more happiness.
Now, getting rid of debt is not an easy thing to do for most of us, but I have talked with several financial managers, and they all say the same thing. Once you no longer have to worry about servicing debt, life is more fun and you can finally relax.
There are some great retirement villas in my town, and they are all pretty full, but most people (myself included) want to stay in our homes as long as possible. I love my home and I will do everything I can to keep it, but, with an adjustable loan and rising interest rates, I am getting a little nervous along with a few million other folks.
The trick here is to start looking at the kind of life you want and where you might live and to start making inroads so that you can fulfill that dream. It’s really about taking little steps. Save a little and pay a little more on your mortgage if you have one. Look at how to cut expenses. Maybe a home office would help. There are all kinds of things you can do if you just sit down and think about it and then get up and take care of it.
We spend a lot of our lives worrying about money. Living in financial insecurity is no fun, and many people have to deal with it every day. But if you can approach the topic from a place of wanting to understand more about how you can balance your financial life, it will become much less scary. And anything we can do to reduce that anxiety is a gift.
The connection between happiness and debt is not well researched, but anecdotally I have heard the same thing is true for many people. Perhaps meditation lowers your stress, and don’t stop, but also consider how much stress living beyond your means may cause.
You will want to do your due diligence before taking action. Talk with everyone you can: financial planners, real estate people, your bank, and other mortgage brokers. Make sure you also discuss this with family members and anyone else who is affected by your decisions.
You are making plans for the rest of your life, so you can get the rest you deserve for working most of your time here on this earth. Everyone deserves a peaceful retirement provided they have earned it. That being said, it is never too late to start.
(Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of “The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.”)