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Debt Free Prosperity

Interest is a formidable opponent. Once the game starts, he never rests. You may work 50 or 60 hours a week to keep up with him, but he works 168 hours a week to keep ahead of you. He never takes a timeout or a half-time break.

He works every Sunday, every holiday, and every night. He has no mercy. He even takes your money when you are sick in bed. And if you lose your job and miss two mortgages payments, he will take your house.

If you have a $100,000 mortgage on your home at 8%, you can go to sleep every night knowing you just accrued another $22 in interest. You pay $22 when you spend Christmas day at Grandma’s. You pay another $22 every Sunday, even when you are in church. When you signed the papers for that $100,000 30-year mortgage, you agreed to pay $164,153 in interest. Add closing costs and occasional late fees, and you will almost pay for your house three times by the time the mortgage is paid.

If you finance a new car over five years at 12% interest, you just about pay for it twice. And what about the 18% you pay on VISA and MasterCard, unpaid medical and detail bills, and so on? If you had a $3,900 balance on your VISA or MasterCard, and you paid the minimum payment of $78 a month, it would take 35 years to pay the balance down to zero, assuming you never used the card again. During that time you would have paid $10,096 in interest.

A person or couple earning a lifetime income of $2 million (about $45,000 a year), taking a 30-year mortgage and always meeting minimum payments will pay $300,000 to $400,000 in interest. Over a 45 year working career, $200,000 in interest breaks down to about $370 a month.

Suppose you invested $370 a month at 6% instead of paying it out, the amount you’d end up with is $1,045,232 in the bank when you retire. By continuing to earn 6% you could withdraw $5,336 a month during retirement, and never reduce the principal.

If you add up all the interest you are paying, including your mortgage, you can begin to see why you are struggling financially, even with a good job or a double income. Just think what you could do if you got to keep all that money you spend in interest every month.

Live on less than you earn so you can have a surplus to get you out of debt and invest in assets that appreciate (increase in value). The key to having a surplus is to pay yourself first, and then live on what’s left over.

No-one, regardless of income, can be financially successful unless they live on less than they earn.

For those who save their way out of debt, interest can suddenly become a wonderful team-mate. Instead of being a borrower, you are a lender. Instead of being in the interest trap, interest is working just as hard for you as it used to work against you. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week it is earning money for you. It works weekends, holidays, and nights. It never takes a day off, and it earns just as much for you on the days when you are sick as when you are well, and just as much when you are on vacation as when you are working.

Those who don’t understand interest, pay it. Those who understand it, collect it.

After Albert Einstein invented the atomic bomb, he said the most powerful thing he ever discovered was compound interest.

The point is that if you can just change the direction of your interest stream so it’s coming in instead of going out, you will see wonderful, far-reaching changes in your financial life.

Excerpt from “The Four Laws of Debt Free Properity” by Harris & Coonradt