4 Minute Read
Debt is the most aggressively marketed product in our nation’s history. It is sold to us nearly everywhere by people and companies who lie about how debt is “necessary” to get what we want. Our culture has bought into that lie and, as a result, debt is now one of the biggest problems Americans face. To stop using debt, we must first stop believing the myths about it.
In this excerpt from his New York Times best-selling book The Total Money Makeover, Dave talks about how heavily the myth of debt is forced upon us.
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Joining in the Lie
I have heard it said that if you tell a lie often enough, loudly enough, and long enough, the myth will become accepted as a fact. Repetition, volume, and longevity will twist and turn a myth, or a lie, into a commonly accepted way of doing things. Entire populations have been lulled into the approval of ghastly deeds and even participation in them by gradually moving from the truth to a lie. Throughout history, twisted logic, rationalization, and incremental changes have allowed normally intelligent people to be party to ridiculous things. Propaganda, in particular, played a big part in allowing these things to happen.
We have propaganda in our culture today. I’m not speaking in a political sense, but rather recognizing that there are people out there who want us to think their way and who will go to great lengths to accomplish that. The financial and banking industries, in particular, are very good at teaching us their way of handling money, which, of course, leads us to buy their products. If I see an ad again and again that tells me I will be cool and sharp looking if I drive a certain car, I can fall under the illusion that with the purchase of that car, those good things will happen to me. We may not really believe that we will become a model just from purchasing a car, but notice that ugly people aren’t used in the TV spots to sell cars. We aren’t really falling for that lie, or are we? I’m just asking. After all, we do buy the car and then justify our purchase on the basis of something academic like gas mileage.
When we participate in what the crowd identifies as normal, even if it is stupid, we gain acceptance into the club. Sometimes we don’t even realize what we are doing is stupid because we have been taught that it’s just “the way you do it,” and so we never ask why. As we participate in the myth, we learn to spout the principles of the myth. After the years go by and we have invested more money and time into the myth, we become great disciples and can preach the points of the myth with great fervor and volume. We become such experts on the myth that we can sell others on joining the lie. I once joined in the lie, but no more.
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Debt has been sold to us so aggressively, so loudly, and so often that to imagine living without debt requires myth-busting. We have to systematically destroy the inner workings of the myths. Debt is so ingrained into our culture that most Americans can’t even envision a car without a payment, a house without a mortgage, a student without a loan, and credit without a card. We have been sold debt with such repetition and with such fervor that most folks cannot conceive what it would be like to have no payments. Just as slaves born into slavery can’t visualize freedom, we Americans don’t know what it would be like to wake up to no debt.
Are you ready to experience the freedom that comes with a debt-free life? You can start that journey today! There are more than 40 helpful books and tools on sale for just $10 - including The Total Money Makeover.